Recommendations for getting started

Derek Harter dharter at
Wed Feb 21 08:40:28 PST 2001


I'm sure you all get requests like this all the time, so pardon me in
advance. But I was hoping I could get some recommendations on current
networking solutions for setting up a Beowulf cluster, or possibly
pointers to some up to date references on the many hardware options

Just a little bit of background on our requirements, as best we know
them at this point.  We are planning on building a small prototype
cluster for now (4 dual-PIII nodes, RedHat Linux), to prototype and test
our problem and learn some things.  Eventually we envision expanding
upwards of 24 or 32 nodes (or more?).  While we do have some funds, we
would like to keep from being hit with outrageous extra costs in buying
hardware when we start expanding.

Our big application will require lots of communication among the pieces
while working together on the problem.  The communications will not be
all that large, however there may be a lot of them and they need to be
quick, so latency is a concern.  The pieces will be communicating
directly with each other, and not through some central manager.

We have experience in Linux administration and software, but are not all
that familiar with the networking hardware options, especially those
that would be ideal for cluster computing.  So our questions:

1) We were looking at GigaBit NICs and switches.  What are the features
that we need to be aware of (wire-speed?)?  What are the gotchas?  Any
specific recommendations.

2) Besides GigaBit, what other solutions might we want to consider.

3) Of course, any specific testimonials from people who have similar
applications would be greatly welcomed.

Thanks so much for any help,

Derek Harter                     \ Only in the dance do I know how to
mailto:dharter at         \ speak the parables of the highest \ things   - Nietzsche

More information about the Beowulf mailing list