WinNT/Linux hybrids?

Jag agrajag at
Mon Feb 26 11:33:43 PST 2001

Did something weird happen to the formatting of this email?  I wrote
what's being replied to and I can barely make out which are my comments
and which are the reply to my comments

On Mon, 26 Feb 2001, Jim Lux wrote:

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jag <agrajag at>
> To: Beowulf (E-mail) <beowulf at>
> Date: Monday, February 26, 2001 11:12 AM
> Subject: Re: WinNT/Linux hybrids?
> On Mon, 26 Feb 2001, Jim Lux wrote:
> > 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)?
> Hmm.. that's kinda impractical.  If you want to use something like MPI,
> you need a binary that will run on all the slave nodes AND the head
> node, and I don't see that happening with an NT/Linux combo.  I'm sure
> that just about all of the beowulf solutions for getting processes to
> communicate will have problems when NT is thrown into the mix.
> Not exactly a problem.. Say you've got N nodes in the cluster (excluding the
> WinNT box).  Sure, your application might be structured as a master slave,
> with MPI used to talk among them, but all that means is that one of the
> cluster members is the master, and the remaining N-1 are all slaves.
> All the WinNT box is doing is a) providing file services; and b) providing a
> command line interface to the cluster nodes (e.g. via rsh, etc.)
> >
> > 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.
> >Ok, I think you're going in the wrong direction here.  A beowulf cluster
> isn't meant to run things like office/outlook/etc.  What you want to do
> is give the person an NT workstation that they can run those programs
> on, then also give them a /seperate/ beowulf cluster.  They can then use
> the ssh/etc tools you mentioned earlier for NT to communicate with the
> head node.
> >A beowulf cluster is designed to be a compute powerhouse, and that NT
> workstation is intended to do user interaction.  When you try to
> combine those two, it takes away the effectiveness from both ends.
> Which is exactly what I'd want to do... No reason to have NT doing the
> computational work, but I'd like those cluster nodes to be diskless...
> Jag
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