Hi, looking for IRIX general info - SGI

This is a discussion on Hi, looking for IRIX general info - SGI ; Hello, I read that IRIX is based on Unix System V. But i've been all through nekochan forums, and still need answer to a question: What sets Irix apart from Unix? Besides the support for Mips, what makes Irix different? ...

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Thread: Hi, looking for IRIX general info

  1. Hi, looking for IRIX general info

    Hello,

    I read that IRIX is based on Unix System V. But i've been
    all through nekochan forums, and still need answer to a
    question:

    What sets Irix apart from Unix? Besides the support for
    Mips, what makes Irix different?

    Any info or links would be really appreciated!

    SL

  2. Re: Hi, looking for IRIX general info

    In article <2rusi29q8tckfl54gbglvjhqtutgktr27m@4ax.com>,
    Scaly Lizard wrote:
    >Hello,


    >I read that IRIX is based on Unix System V. But i've been
    >all through nekochan forums, and still need answer to a
    >question:


    >What sets Irix apart from Unix? Besides the support for
    >Mips, what makes Irix different?


    >Any info or links would be really appreciated!


    Primarily the tight integration of the SGI graphics hardware and
    the multiprocessor/clustering support. The graphics performance
    was way ahead of other vendors for years, and NUMALink (Non-
    Uniform Memory Acces Link) allowed assembling large clusters of
    varied pieces of hardware--all the systems did not have to be
    identical.


    Gary

    --
    Gary Heston gheston@hiwaay.net http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/

    Astronomers have developed a definition of "planet" which excludes Pluto.
    I'm developing a definition of "scientist" which excludes astronomers.

  3. Re: Hi, looking for IRIX general info

    On Fri, 13 Oct 2006 00:42:03 -0000, gheston@hiwaay.net (Gary Heston)
    wrote:

    >In article <2rusi29q8tckfl54gbglvjhqtutgktr27m@4ax.com>,
    >Scaly Lizard wrote:
    >>Hello,

    >
    >>I read that IRIX is based on Unix System V. But i've been
    >>all through nekochan forums, and still need answer to a
    >>question:

    >
    >>What sets Irix apart from Unix? Besides the support for
    >>Mips, what makes Irix different?

    >
    >>Any info or links would be really appreciated!

    >
    >Primarily the tight integration of the SGI graphics hardware and
    >the multiprocessor/clustering support. The graphics performance
    >was way ahead of other vendors for years, and NUMALink (Non-
    >Uniform Memory Acces Link) allowed assembling large clusters of
    >varied pieces of hardware--all the systems did not have to be
    >identical.
    >
    >
    >Gary



    Thanks, that's a big help!

    Any other insights you might have would be great,

    SL

  4. Re: Hi, looking for IRIX general info

    Scaly Lizard wrote:

    > What sets Irix apart from Unix? Besides the support for
    > Mips, what makes Irix different?


    To add to what others wrote:

    IRIX was perhaps the first to come out with
    64 bit OS (running 64 bit pointer apps). And could also run
    32 bit apps at full speed (no emulation here!).
    [Hmm. No, I know I'm wrong as Cray was 64 bit for a long time.
    Likely others I've simply forgotten.
    Maybe the ability to run either/both ABIs on the same machine
    at the same time without performance penalty is, I guess,
    is the better point. The fact there
    were *3* ABIs for a while is a historical oddity, not an advantage :-)
    Maybe there's no point here at all :-)]


    IRIX/MIPS was perhaps the only machine family spanning a wide
    range of hardware were a (sensibly written) app could be run on all
    machines
    in the entire family and across multiple releases without
    recompilation.
    >From a little Indy to a large (for the period) multi-processor machine.

    [I'm excluding the IRIX 6.3/6.4 period where there was an issue with
    binary compatibility :-( The O2 (IRIX 6.3) folks were given far too
    much freedom
    to make changes so some apps would only run on an O2 unless recompiled
    for IRIX 6.2 or IRIX 6.4.]

    IRIX was perhaps the only OS that ran such a wide range of processor
    counts
    with a single-system-image. From 1 (Indy, O2) up to hundreds.
    Where (as was said earlier) the processor cards could be different cpus
    and
    different cpu speeds. Not what we now call a 'cluster', as in a
    cluster
    there is a copy of the OS per processor. With IRIX one copy of the OS
    ran the entire machine. By IRIX 6.5 up to thousands of processors


  5. Re: Hi, looking for IRIX general info

    On 17 Oct 2006 14:27:21 -0700, "davea" wrote:

    >Scaly Lizard wrote:
    >
    >> What sets Irix apart from Unix? Besides the support for
    >> Mips, what makes Irix different?

    >
    >To add to what others wrote:
    >
    >IRIX was perhaps the first to come out with
    >64 bit OS (running 64 bit pointer apps). And could also run
    >32 bit apps at full speed (no emulation here!).
    >[Hmm. No, I know I'm wrong as Cray was 64 bit for a long time.
    >Likely others I've simply forgotten.
    >Maybe the ability to run either/both ABIs on the same machine
    >at the same time without performance penalty is, I guess,
    >is the better point. The fact there
    >were *3* ABIs for a while is a historical oddity, not an advantage :-)
    >Maybe there's no point here at all :-)]
    >
    >
    >IRIX/MIPS was perhaps the only machine family spanning a wide
    >range of hardware were a (sensibly written) app could be run on all
    >machines
    >in the entire family and across multiple releases without
    >recompilation.
    >>From a little Indy to a large (for the period) multi-processor machine.

    >[I'm excluding the IRIX 6.3/6.4 period where there was an issue with
    >binary compatibility :-( The O2 (IRIX 6.3) folks were given far too
    >much freedom
    >to make changes so some apps would only run on an O2 unless recompiled
    >for IRIX 6.2 or IRIX 6.4.]
    >
    >IRIX was perhaps the only OS that ran such a wide range of processor
    >counts
    >with a single-system-image. From 1 (Indy, O2) up to hundreds.
    >Where (as was said earlier) the processor cards could be different cpus
    >and
    >different cpu speeds. Not what we now call a 'cluster', as in a
    >cluster
    >there is a copy of the OS per processor. With IRIX one copy of the OS
    >ran the entire machine. By IRIX 6.5 up to thousands of processors


    Fantastic info, many thanks! I've been reading about NUMAlink since
    Gary Heston's reply, and it's just amazing. 3.2 GB per second
    bandwidth vs. gigabit ethernet's 100 MB/sec? Wow!

    And Gigabit Ethernet has a 30 microsecond overhead for packets
    as they are zipped and unzipped along the ethernet stack. NUMAlink
    has gotten overhead down to ONE microsecond? Wow again!

    Thanks again for your info, but wondering one thing that
    i have not been able to find online:

    I have not found a number i would like to know, just how
    many procs can an Irix cluster run with one instance of
    the OS? You say "thousands", but i wonder what is the
    theoretical maximum number of nodes in an Irix NUMAlink
    cluster?

    SL

  6. Re: Hi, looking for IRIX general info

    * davea:

    > IRIX/MIPS was perhaps the only machine family spanning a wide
    > range of hardware were a (sensibly written) app could be run on all
    > machines
    > in the entire family and across multiple releases without
    > recompilation.
    > From a little Indy to a large (for the period) multi-processor machine.


    Nope, MIPS/IRIX was not the only platform that could do that. Sun could
    do the same with Solaris/SPARC as could HP with HP-UX on PA-RISC, or DEC
    with Digital UNIX aka Tru64, or Siemens with SINIX aka ReliantUNIX, or
    IBM with AIX on POWER.

    All of these UNIX platforms offered binary compatibility, programs
    running on a low end workstation could also run on big irons with dozens
    of CPUs without modification or recompilation. That was pretty much
    standard.

    Benjamin

  7. Re: Hi, looking for IRIX general info

    * Scaly Lizard:

    > Fantastic info, many thanks! I've been reading about NUMAlink since
    > Gary Heston's reply, and it's just amazing. 3.2 GB per second
    > bandwidth vs. gigabit ethernet's 100 MB/sec? Wow!


    NUMAlink does up to 6.4GB/s.

    > And Gigabit Ethernet has a 30 microsecond overhead for packets
    > as they are zipped and unzipped along the ethernet stack. NUMAlink
    > has gotten overhead down to ONE microsecond? Wow again!


    You are completely ignoring that NUMAlink and Ethernet have totally
    different purposes. NUMAlink is a high bandwidth low latency connection
    for coupling computer nodes together. Ethernet on the other side is a
    extremely flexible standard for connecting lots of devices together in
    big networks with means of redundancy easily. Comparing Ethernet and
    NUMAlink is like comparing apples and oranges.

    > I have not found a number i would like to know, just how
    > many procs can an Irix cluster run with one instance of
    > the OS? You say "thousands", but i wonder what is the
    > theoretical maximum number of nodes in an Irix NUMAlink
    > cluster?


    IIRC the limit is 1024 CPUs. IRIX strengths is that it allows a huge
    single system computer. But today more and more HPC tasks are done by
    cheaper clusters.

    Benjamin

  8. Re: Hi, looking for IRIX general info

    Benjamin Gawert wrote:
    > Nope, MIPS/IRIX was not the only platform that could do that. Sun could
    > do the same with Solaris/SPARC as could HP with HP-UX on PA-RISC, or DEC
    > with Digital UNIX aka Tru64, or Siemens with SINIX aka ReliantUNIX, or
    > IBM with AIX on POWER.
    >
    > All of these UNIX platforms offered binary compatibility, programs
    > running on a low end workstation could also run on big irons with dozens
    > of CPUs without modification or recompilation. That was pretty much
    > standard.


    + DEC/Compaq/HP - Open VMS on VAX/Mips/Alpha (not Unix OS)

  9. Re: Hi, looking for IRIX general info

    > I have not found a number i would like to know, just how
    > many procs can an Irix cluster run with one instance of
    > the OS? You say "thousands", but i wonder what is the
    > theoretical maximum number of nodes in an Irix NUMAlink
    > cluster?


    Well who knows, but we are probably limited by few factors (interconnect
    fabric bandwidth, cache coherency - cacheline updates, directory cache
    size). We have working instalation of Origin 2xxx up to 2048 CPUs, O3xxx
    up to 512 CPUs as i know, but i might be wrong as i am not working with
    SGI's anymore.

    It is probably not so wise to put more CPUs in single system, as we
    would probably saturate whole design and decrease performance, also
    there is problem with power/cooling factors.

    On the other hand it is possible to build 4096 CPUs system, but design
    should be revisited.

    Origin architecture uses cache coherent NUMA, that means all coherency
    is done entirely in hardware so we don't need any special tricks in OS,
    but IRIX is NUMA aware and could use different approaches to minimaze
    latency and how to deal with process affinity.

  10. Re: Hi, looking for IRIX general info

    * Silvo Bozovicar:

    > + DEC/Compaq/HP - Open VMS on VAX/Mips/Alpha (not Unix OS)


    Exactly.

    Benjamin

  11. Re: Hi, looking for IRIX general info

    In article ,
    Scaly Lizard wrote:
    [ ... ]
    >Fantastic info, many thanks! I've been reading about NUMAlink since
    >Gary Heston's reply, and it's just amazing. 3.2 GB per second
    >bandwidth vs. gigabit ethernet's 100 MB/sec? Wow!

    [ ... ]

    That bandwidth does come at a price; a few years ago a customer bought
    an Origin 300 system consisting of two chassis ("C-bricks") that were
    NUMAlinked together with a 1 meter cable--that cable cost $5000.

    That server also had a dedicated 20A 230V outlet to feed the 3000VA
    UPS in the bottom of the rack. I well remember installing that UPS.
    By myself...all 125 pounds of it.


    Gary

    --
    Gary Heston gheston@hiwaay.net http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/

    Astronomers have developed a definition of "planet" which excludes Pluto.
    I'm developing a definition of "scientist" which excludes astronomers.

  12. Re: Hi, looking for IRIX general info

    Silvo Bozovicar wrote:
    > Benjamin Gawert wrote:
    >> Nope, MIPS/IRIX was not the only platform that could do that. Sun
    >> could do the same with Solaris/SPARC as could HP with HP-UX on
    >> PA-RISC, or DEC with Digital UNIX aka Tru64, or Siemens with SINIX aka
    >> ReliantUNIX, or IBM with AIX on POWER.
    >>
    >> All of these UNIX platforms offered binary compatibility, programs
    >> running on a low end workstation could also run on big irons with
    >> dozens of CPUs without modification or recompilation. That was pretty
    >> much standard.

    >
    > + DEC/Compaq/HP - Open VMS on VAX/Mips/Alpha (not Unix OS)

    But Ultrix/OSF-1/Tru64 *was/is* a UNIX OS. And, IIRC, Ultrix ran on
    MIPS, where OSF-1/Tru64 was Alpha only (but I could be wrong).

    Cheers,
    Gary B-)

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