Jonathan Schwartz writes:
the future of the web is clearly moving toward horizontal or grid computing. In a grid, a conventional network is used to connect collections of smaller, general purpose elements (like Sun’s Niagara or Galaxy systems). The question of “what’s the biggest grid?” has no obvious answer – they can be as big as you want. Just as at TACC, where they’re building the largest supercomputer on the planet out of general purpose elements.
So a while back, we asked a few talented systems engineers a simple question: is there an optimum size for a horizontally scaled system? Interestingly enough, the answer wasn’t rooted in the Solaris scheduler or a PhD thesis. It was rooted in the environmental realities faced by the customers I cite in the second paragraph. And perhaps more interestingly, in your local shipyard.