Table of Contents

guest
2023-02-07
   Skyline System Requirements
     Parallel Import Performance

Skyline System Requirements


OPERATING SYSTEM:

Skyline runs on Windows 7 or later. 

Skyline is tested nightly on 64-bit Windows 7, Windows 10, and Windows 11. Most of our development is on Windows 11. We know of no reason Windows 8 and 8.1 shouldn't work. 

Skyline discontinued releasing 32-bit builds in 2021 after use fell below 1%. You can still download and install older builds.

Skyline 2.6 was the last version to support Windows XP. (All versions of Skyline since 1.4 can be downloaded from "Unplugged" installation pages by clicking "I Agree" and then the "Archive" link.)

 

PROCESSOR, MEMORY AND DISK:

There is no minimum requirement, but for performance reasons a large fast hard drive is desirable.  The amount of memory needed depends on the size of your experiments, but 4GB is a good start. Skyline is frequently taught on relatively average modern laptops. But, for larger-scale processing we recommend a more powerful desktop system with dual 24- or 27-inch monitors to take full advantage of Skyline display capabilities.

We recommend modern i7 quad-core processors, running at 3.5 to 4.0 Ghz work well, with 16 to 64 GB of RAM and a fast SSD (e.g. 500 GB) + a spinning HD with more room (e.g. 2 TB).

A modern option as of June 2021 of the type favored by Skyline developers can be found on Amazon:

Dell XPS 8940 Tower Desktop Computer - 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10700 8-Core up to 4.80 GHz CPU, 64GB DDR4 RAM, 2TB SSD + 4TB Hard Drive

For really large-scale projects, like hundreds of DIA or DDA files with many hundreds of thousands of transitions, Skyline now makes effective use of highly multi-processor (NUMA) servers with 192+ GB of RAM. We have been using Dell PowerEdge R630 with 48 logical processors and 192 GB (spec attached - purchased for under $10,000 USD). For best import performance, use SkylineRunner command-line interface with --import-process-count=12 (or similar). Be sure to run tests. Mileage may vary depending on the import file format and disk drive type and speed.

With a large server like this, make sure the power profile is configured for "maximum performance", both in Windows and UEFI/BIOS. (Check Power Options and make sure this is not set to "Balanced", but "High performance" and check with your IT about BIOS settings.)



Parallel Import Performance


Attached to this page you will find a thorough study of how Skyline scales importing large scale DIA data with parallel file import of various file types on either a standard Intel i7 comptuer with 16 GB of RAM versus a Dell PowerEdge with 48 logical processors 196 GB of RAM, using either multiple threads or multiple processes.

General findings include:

  • Multiple process import can scale past mutiple threads in the same process (which we think is related to garbage collection)
  • Only multi-process import can take advantage of the true potential of a NUMA system with 24+ logical cores
  • The difference is much less pronounce on an i7 an may not be worth the effort to go multi-process
  • Many formats pay only a percentage increment for spinning disk versus SSD
  • The mz5 format, otherwise the fastest format to import, has serious problems scaling with parallel file import on a spinning drive

At the time of this writing, only the Skyline command-line interface (presented by SkylineRunner or SkylineCmd) can take advantage of multi-process import by using the --import-process-count argument.