opinions on routers/switches for parallel clusters

Hi Everyone,

We are an educational institution looking into building
a scientific computing cluster that has 128-256 nodes
interconnected by gigE. The outward connection would
be the site FDDI ring.

The problem is that we want to experiment with the topology
as well as the computing part. :slight_smile: And I am at a loss
as to what gigE switch and router we should use.

The requirements are:
1. ability to morph the topology at will
2. fast (doh!)
3. Layer 1-4 is required (up to layer 7 would be nice)
4. load balancing

Which companies' products do you like? (*Barring* Cisco)
[If you cannot state your opinion publicly, please send me a
private reply. I appreciate it and will keep it confidential.)

I am looking at these companies:
Lucent
Foundey Networks
River Stone
Alteon
Extreme Networks
Ericcson

Would the people who have had experience with these products
tell me what they feel? Thank you very much.

Michael

3. Layer 1-4 is required (up to layer 7 would be nice)

It may pay to explain exactly what your requirements are. The
possible meanings of "Layer 1-4" in this context are limited
only by the availability of drugs to the marketing department
(which do not seem to be in short supply).

4. load balancing

Ditto.

Joe

Having dealt with Lucent I can warn you away from them (as if I need to nowadays). Having dealt with Cabletron I can warn you away from Riverstone. The only company you mention which has consistently provided excellent products and support (and never screwed me around or lied to me) is Cisco. Their stuff is a bit overpriced, but <cliche> you get what you pay for. </cliche>

Having dealt with Lucent I can warn you away from them (as if I need to
nowadays). Having dealt with Cabletron I can warn you away from Riverstone.
The only company you mention which has consistently provided excellent
products and support (and never screwed me around or lied to me) is Cisco.
Their stuff is a bit overpriced, but <cliche> you get what you pay for.
</cliche>

I've got a pair of ExtremeNetworks BlackDiamond 6808's running my
production datacenter installation (2 8 port gig blades, 1 12 port gig
blade, and 4 32 port 100TX blades each), and I love them to death. They
just work (tm).

-j