WinNT/Linux hybrids?

Schilling, Richard RSchilling at
Mon Feb 26 10:31:22 PST 2001

If you stick to generic data passing between the nodes, it could be done.  I
just don't know if the NT server would handle the task of coordinating
transactions . . . there seems to be a lot of overhead just managing
Internet Explorer, which is effectively integrated into the operating
system.  As your experience with diskless Win95 workstations suggests, you
might have issues getting NT to do the same.

I've put some thought into integration between a cluster and Windows
products, because where I work Office is widely used.  I'm certain that a PC
emulator could run Windows faster on a Beowulf cluster than a single PC
alone, and integration between Beowulf clusters and Windows workstations
would be very useful.

I agree with the notion that you eventually have to work (or rather,
wrestle) with Office products, because the software is in such wide use.
Office products can be good for prototyping data structure, and generating a
quick graph if your data is limited in scope and size.  Getting the data to
and from "Office form" is actually a large task, and full time job for some,
including yours truly.  I once had to process three gigs of data at once
using Access, just cause the boss said so, and it wasn't pretty . . . if I
had access to a cluster at the time, I would have done it much faster.

Richard Schilling
Webmaster / Web Integration Programmer
Affiliated Health Services
Mount Vernon, WA  USA

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jim Lux [mailto:James.P.Lux at]
> Sent: Monday, February 26, 2001 10:14 AM
> To: Beowulf (E-mail)
> Subject: WinNT/Linux hybrids?
> What would be the possibility of building a cluster using 
> WinNT workstation
> (or NT server) on the head/worldly node and Linux on the 
> (diskless) cluster
> nodes.  You'd use one of the many NT ssh or Xwindows servers 
> to talk to the
> nodes.  Is it possible to netboot Linux from a NT server 
> (what has to be
> running on NT to make this work)?
> Why would one want to do this?  There is a huge installed base for
> powerpoint, excel and word, and eventually you have to get 
> your  results
> into that form.  Also, you could start your cluster grinding 
> on a lengthy
> task, effectively in the background, and continue using all the
> "institutionally supported" software (i.e. Office, Outlook, 
> Project, etc.)
> in the foreground.
> Sure, it's far from optimal, but then, what separates theory 
> from practice
> is that practice has all these warts and impracticalities but 
> it does useful
> work.
> I suspect that MS's clustering solution doesn't work with 
> diskless nodes
> (although I'm not sure). It was a struggle to get diskless 
> Win95 clients
> working reliably, and I can't imagine that getting NT up on a 
> diskless node
> would be very easy.
> Jim Lux
> Spacecraft Telecommunications Section (336)
> Jet Propulsion Laboratory
> 4800 Oak Grove Road, Mail Stop 161-213
> Pasadena CA 91109
> Tel: (818)354-2075.  Fax:(818)393-6875
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