Xgrid Previewed

Discussion in 'MacRumors News Discussion (archive)' started by MacRumors, Jan 6, 2004.

  1. macrumors bot

    MacRumors

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2001
    #1
    Apple announced a preview of Xgrid technology today.
    Xgrid is available as a free download from Apple starting today, according to the press release.

    Xgrid was first trademarked in 2002, spawning much speculation.
     
  2. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2002
    Location:
    Baltimore & NYC
    #2
    This is potentially great -- perhaps more and more apps will now come to support rendering on a network of machines. That would kick butt for apps such as, say, MojoWorld Generator, which can take a really good amount of time to render!
     
  3. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2002
    #3
    I think, along with the G5 XServe, this is possibly the biggest announcement of the day (iPod Mini would have been if it was priced at $200).

    Clusters are notoriously hard to set up, especially if you're interested in using the computing power of, say, your iMac lab for a night time render or simulation.

    Bringing Rendezvous and "Apple Ease of Use" to clustering automatically increases the value of all existing Macs for institutions, and will create a lot more interest in Macs among corporate and educational markets.

    Imagine an Apple pitch to a major university: "Not only do you get 500 easy to use iMacs for your english labs, and 50 powerful G5s for your art department, but you'll get a top 100 super computer for free!"

    I can't wait to see programs like LightWave, Maya and RenderMan support Xgrid. I wonder if Xcode's distributed compiling already uses it?
     
  4. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2002
    Location:
    Chicago
    #4
    The mini ipod isn't cheap.. but neither are decent flash MP3 players. I shoped for one a while ago and decided it wasn't worth dropping over $150 for a decent player with crap for storage. For what you get I think $249 is a very good price, though i would of course preferred to see it come in cheaper.
    I was told by an upity up in the xcode project that they did not use the same technology in xcode as in other (pending) clustering projects. I was basically told.. no, it's not the same, no I can't tell you what's coming, yes, it's very cool.
    :)
     
  5. macrumors newbie

    woodgie

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    #5
    Re: Xgrid Previewed

    Where, dammit... Need linkage... can't find... pant, pant, pant

    ;)
     
  6. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    Kansas, USA
    #6
    Re: Re: Xgrid Previewed

    Ditto!
    *bump*
     
  7. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2002
    #7
    Photoshop

    I'll be waiting for the day when I can use all my macs ( 4.5 GHz of combined processing power! ) to run photoshop batch.
     
  8. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    #8
  9. macrumors newbie

    woodgie

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    #9
  10. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    #10
    tachometer!!

    tachometer is coool is shows the amount of power of your renderfarm :)
     
  11. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    #11
    lol

    As more people on the network share their resources, you can solve more problems. Not a bad metaphor for life, either.
     
  12. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2003
    Location:
    Gothenburg, Sweden
    #12
    Anybody knows if programs must be updated to be distributed by xGrid, or is it all handled automatically?
     
  13. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2003
    Location:
    USA
    #13
    Something I want to know as well!

    It be great to have all the Macs at my home all working on one SETI unit or something... Heck, I just want to see this in action on my network! haha
     
  14. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2003
    #14
    For the love of God, why another Brushed Metal app? I can't take it anymore!
     
  15. macrumors 68020

    Krevnik

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2003
    #15
    Well, looking into Xgrid, it seems to send commands across the network, and get the output that app creates. The question I have for this is this: will it copy programs needed to run if they don't exist on the other machines in the grid? I would love to use this to take certain video conversion apps available (OpenShiva) and write a similar-functioning plug-in for Xgrid, which is doable (audio on some machines, video on others)... but the CLI software that is needed to do the actual processing would need to exist on all machines... does Xgrid copy this stuff over automagically, or do I have to have copies of the software already available on all systems to participate in the grid?
     
  16. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2002
    #16
    It looks like programs will need to use the Xgrid APIs to take full advantage of it, but that you can use it out of the box for launching distributed batch command-line programs (not truly a distributed app).

    What's interesting is that it looks like Xgrid is not really a cluster communication system; the page mentions that it doesn't replace protocols like MPI. Instead Xgrid helps you manage the cluster and apps, and helps make sure that each instance has access to all the necessary resources (files, settings, etc).

    I think this is a good strategy, because a program that uses MPI will not have to be radically altered, but can be enhanced by using the Xgrid API.
     
  17. macrumors 65816

    wrc fan

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    In a world where LPs are made like pancakes
    #17
    xcode uses rendezvous and distcc
     
  18. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2003
    #18
    I used the demo of Xgrid and had my own little 5GHz cluster in my house. Way cool.

    Hopefully this technology will be effective for many of us creative type without being too much of a hassle. I have faith in Apple that it will be all good.
     
  19. macrumors 68000

    varmit

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2003
    #19
    So.......

    so this clusters two or more computers together. does it work with any program, what did you run on your 5ghz cluster.
     
  20. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2003
    Location:
    Where do YOU live?
    #20
    I wonder if this would work with folding@home? Imagine the work units! Would sometime in the future it be possible to render final cut pro movies using x-grid? The curent x-grid plugins are of little use to me, but i would use it with photoshop.
     
  21. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2003
    #21
    I am in agreement. It will be great if I can use it with PS and FCP4, but other than that, I would have little use for it.

    I just tested it with the demo processes.
     
  22. macrumors 68020

    Krevnik

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2003
    #22
    Well, XGrid only works with commands/scripts that can be sent across the network. It cannot send threads across the network, so you aren't going to see MP type performance, but rather a way to take multiple processes that need to occur and do them simultaneously on multiple machines.

    I would definitely like to see FCP4 get integrated enough that it could break up a render job into chunks and send the chunks to various machines, BUT... all machines have to have access to the proper source footage, which would be problematic without some sort of built-in networking code in FCP4.

    I think a good first test is to take an open source app like OpenShiiva and see if we can get it working with XGrid as proof.
     
  23. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2001
    #23
    Anyone know if this is going to remain free when the final version comes out?

    Is it going to be seperately purchaseable software, or will it come as part of OS X?
     
  24. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2003
    Location:
    Sydney Australia
    #24
    Yeah... hopefully with Apple's focus on video we'll see that automatically using Xgrid before long. DVD compressing, FCP, iMovie, why not all of them?

    Yes Apple may need some way of moving/sharing files to do this - but it's not like they don't already share files, just need to manage it in Xgrid.

    (My only extra requirement is that it use LATENT cpu and network time - I don't want it noticeably slowing down my network or another machines in use.)
     
  25. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2002
    Location:
    Chicago
    #25
    All the info on xgrid is in the readme and faq included with the package. There really isn't any need to wonder about these things.

    xGrid can run in a screensave mode... just like Zilla (it's daddy)
    You tell xgrid to connect to the first cluster it finds, or to connect to a specific cluster, you tell it to only run when idle (screen saver mode). You can even change the screensaver to a new one that displays the number of cycles being donated to xgrid.
     

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