back to article Mac Pro fanbois can rack 'em and stack 'em like real sysadmins

US company H-Squared is a little closer to releasing a shelf that will make it possible to rack and stack six of the the new Mac Pros into a 6U space. The Mac Pro can be equipped with Intel's Xeon E5-2697 v2, a 12-core, 2.7 Ghz CPU with a 30M cache. Six Mac pros equipped with that CPU in a 6U space would put 72 cores at your …


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  1. pwibble

    And on the subject of cooling....

    ...there's nothing I like more that a server rack with an airflow that goes, erm, vertically. Also very handy for getting at the network cables of the servers at the front.And come to think of it, how is this actually better than a shelf from Ikea (or more seriously, any other 19U shelf)?

    But more importantly for the target market, is it available in "Space Gray"?

    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: And on the subject of cooling....

      People daft enough to pay that much for a glorified PC will buy them for home use. Saves turning on the central heating in winter too.

      1. Annihilator Silver badge

        Re: And on the subject of cooling....

        "People daft enough to pay that much for a glorified PC will buy them for home use"

        Find a same-spec PC for the same price or lower then.

        1. GotThumbs

          Re: And on the subject of cooling....

          I could build one for less.

          Why buy when you can have greater options by custom building?

          Now think what it would cost you with Apples upgrades...if any are possible.

          Think McFly.

          1. Annihilator Silver badge

            Re: And on the subject of cooling....

            "I could build one for less"

            No you couldn't, that's my point and has been shown on many write-ups elsewhere.

            This is just one example:

            1. AMBxx Silver badge

              Re: And on the subject of cooling....

              You're assuming that Apple have chosen the most efficient way to get the performance. 2 fancy graphics cards?

              That said, if the comparison says I can get a similar case for $100, I'll take one.

  2. Natalie Gritpants


    I could get eight on a rack that size.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Pah!

      This is plain clueless. These guys have never done DIY server conversions.

      The MAC cools bottom to top, so all you need to do is flip it on it side and lock in a set of "chucks" - the same way you chuck a car wheel when working on it. This also solves the datacenter cooling problem as this is a bog standard cold/hot isle compatible install. If you stay with the same 6 in 6 target you can also provide a very nice common switch (for clustering), wiring harness, etc for the entire rig.

      Considering the stupidly cheap "special" price on the GPUs in the Mac Pro it may even make sense financally for a small CPU/GPU compute install.

      1. Tim Bates

        Re: Pah!

        Chuck - verb: throw (something) carelessly or casually.

        Chock - noun: a wedge or block placed against a wheel or rounded object, to prevent it from moving.

        But yes, I agree. It would make more sense to lay these garbage cans down in a rack so the air moves the right way. Cooling already looks questionable in these new Macs without having a switch or router rack mounted above them.

        1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

          Re: Pah!

          Ah, but there is another engineering use of the word "chuck". It can be a noun (as in the piece of a lathe that holds the part being turned), or it can be a verb (the act of mounting the piece in the chuck). Eg, "chuck it in a 3 jaw chuck" would mean to mount the piece in a 3 jaw chuck.

          So actually, using chuck (n, part of a lathe for holding the piece being worked) would make perfect sense.

          But so would "clamp"

  3. GoNoGo


    Stability for seismic zones and marine vessel server rooms? - NOT

  4. El_Fev


    Wouldn't it be better to lay them on there sides with a fan blowing though one end, think like loading cartridges, that way you cut down the vertical size, and the flow from the fans at one end, plus the fans from each intervening Pro will add to the air flow.

    1. rh587 Silver badge

      Re: Hmmmm

      For the new Pros, I remember seeing an article back last year for horizontal racking.

      As for Macs as servers generally, I recall going down into the Google Labs exhibit in the London Science Museum. Peering into the smoked glass server box that all the exhibits fed into, I was amused (given Cupertino and Mountain View's mutual animosity) to see the whole lot was powered by rackmount Mac Minis and Mac Pro towers. No idea if it was running OSX, but I can't imagine you'd pay a premium for Apple hardware just to run Linux on it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hmmmm

        >I was amused (given Cupertino and Mountain View's mutual animosity)

        ...rather less ironic than the fact Apple runs all its infrastructure and cloud services via a huge DC full of Windows servers.

      2. D@v3

        Re: Linux on apple hardware

        "but I can't imagine you'd pay a premium for Apple hardware just to run Linux on it"

        you might do if you needed lots of Linux boxes, but wanted it to look real pretty

        1. P. Lee Silver badge

          Re: Linux on apple hardware

          > ... if you needed lots of Linux boxes, but wanted it to look real pretty

          I wonder if you can cross-over thunderbolt, so you could get 10Gb/s cluster links, in this case, 6 per host.

    2. Andy Taylor

      Re: Hmmmm

      You can run them on their sides, but Apple specifically states not to let the exhaust air from one machine blow into another:

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Front to back cooling?

    Redundant PSUs?

    Lights out management?

    External iSCSI/FC disk interfaces?

    Enough Ethernet for prod/iSCSI/backup?

    Not very pro is it?

  6. Blane Bramble

    We call that a shelf over here.

    1. Darryl

      Oversize cupholder for your datacentre

  7. WraithCadmus

    I'll admit I'm not much of an Apple fan and try not to bash, but seriously what's the point of this? What advantage does this give you over 6U of boxes?

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Totally agreed. I would have thought that rackmounting Macs would give an aneurysm to most of its user base anyways.

      I mean, they already almost all keeled over dead when Apple finally abandoned PowerPC to embrace the Dark Side of x86, and now they're supposed to be used as glorified RAID managers ?

      The shame, the shame.

    2. rh587 Silver badge

      Well if you're running an Apple-specific application that requires OSX then you haven't got much of a choice unless you're going to build a bunch of beige hackintoshes, but in a Production environment that would be fairly reckless. if you're rendering a big Motion/FCP/Compressor project then neatly racking your Mac Pro cluster with your storage beats having them littering the office floor.

      It's niche and you're hardly going to fill a data centre with them - more like a small rack with half a dozen in the corner of the edit suite to send jobs to. Amazingly there's even a few rackmount storage systems in the 78-98TB range coming out with Thunderbolt ports in addition to 10GB ethernet and FC, so you can plug your cluster straight in rather than having TB>FC adapters hanging off the Pros. As TB2 can serve as an interconnect between Pros, it has the potential to form a surprisingly efficient parallel cluster.

      You're not going to build a supercomputer out of them, but that's not the intention. It's supposed to be easy for less-techy creatives to set up without having to learn how to manage FC switches or getting into anything too hardcore. Data centre and supercomputer bods will scoff, but it's not designed for them or their workloads.

    3. stu 4

      render farms

      If your business is on FCP/Motion/Compressor for example, then your compressor render farm is gonna have to be on osx too.

      1. Frank Bough

        Re: render farms

        If you're actually using Compressor like that then do yourself a favour and have a look at Episode, your productivity will skyrocket.

    4. Shady

      "I'll admit I'm not much of an Apple fan and try not to bash, but seriously what's the point of this? What advantage does this give you over 6U of boxes?"

      A free ad in El Reg?

  8. Matthew 17

    The horizontal kits are more practical.

  9. Sean Timarco Baggaley

    "Throw in the fact that MacOS is not exactly the operating system enterprise software vendors make their first development priority..."

    Really? You are aware that OS X is basically a UNIX-based OS with a decent GUI, right? If it'll run on GNU / Linux or FreeBSD, there's no reason why it can't be recompiled to run on OS X as well. You can even get X and Ports for it if you want.

    Wasn't platform portability a key feature of UNIX?

    1. NogginTheNog


      Sorry you lost me at the "decent GUI" bit! The Mac/OS-X interface has been a mess for years, and is just getting worse. Disjointed menus unconnected to the application they reference, that stay visible when you minimise the application, a dock that looks like a 5 year old designed it, small un-obvious window buttons, no structure to the folder layout...

      1. Mike Taylor

        Re: GUI?

        Amen to that. Recently returned to the Apple fold after a decade with windows and ubuntu and am appalled by dog's dinner it's become. Craptastic.

      2. Seanie Ryan

        Re: GUI?

        "Disjointed menus unconnected to the application they reference, that stay visible when you minimise the application,"

        Thats kinda the draw to people who know how to use it, you can minimise a window and still be in the app to other items, like open new document. And the menu is always in the same place.

        Once you start using it, you'll appreciate it.

        " a dock that looks like a 5 year old designed it,"

        not even sure what you refer to here… whats the issue? Dock works very well. Wonder why so many Linux distros are doing something similar. What can you suggest thats better? Maybe you have a point is you can show me better

        "small un-obvious window buttons,"

        Nope, can always see them perfectly.

        "no structure to the folder layout"

        Now you are just rambling for the sake of it. Please point out the actual issue and whats better? Are you saying Windows has it right???

      3. Frank Bough

        Re: GUI?

        The 1980's called, they want their platform war back.

    2. Angry_Man

      It may have a decent GUI, but Apple have destroyed the OS completely. Nothing works once you scale beyond 25-50 users/systems.

  10. MissingSecurity

    Why does it feel... some Apple engingeers thought:

    E1: "Hey, you know what would really clean up my space? If I could somehow clear my desk of this Mac Pro."

    E2: "Why not just put it in the IT room?"

    E1: "Yeah, its like a server right? "

    E2: "Yeah, but you should make functional for the IT team."

    E1: "Right! Almost wasn't thinking! I should put it on a shelf!"

    1. Frank Bough

      Re: Why does it feel...

      This crappy shelf isn't made by Apple, genius. Apple don't want their new box racked, they want it on the desktop.

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