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The Evolution of the CMD Computing Environment: A Case Study in Rapid Growth

Lloyd Cha, Chris Motta, Syed Babar, and Mukul Agarwal - Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.
Jack Ma and Waseem Shaikh - Taos Mountain, Inc.
Istvan Marko - Volt Services Group


Rapid growth of a computing environment presents a recurring theme of running out of resources. Meeting the challenges of building and maintaining such a system requires adapting to the ever changing needs brought on by rampant expansion. This paper discusses the evolution of our computer network from its origins in the startup company NexGen, Inc. to the current AMD California Microprocessor Division (CMD) network that we support today. We provide highlights of some of the problems we have encountered along the way, some of which were solved efficiently and others that provided lessons to be learned.

The reengineering of computer networks and system environments have been the subject of numerous papers including [Harrison92, Evard94b, Limoncelli97]. Like the others, we discuss topics related to modernization of our systems and the implementation of new technologies. However, our focus here is on the problems caused by rapid growth. With increasing requirements for more compute power and the availability of less expensive and more powerful computers, we believe that other environments are poised for rapid growth such as ours. We hope that lessons learned from our experience will better prepare other system administrators in similar situations.

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Last changed: Nov 20, 1998 jr
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