Beowulf OS and Installation

Doug J Nordwall nordwall at
Fri Feb 22 09:40:03 PST 2002

I've had some issues with redhat 7.2 and an athlon. Ya, I've use
mem=nopentium and noathlon grub options. Still locks up a lot (
much as a windows box). I have not seen any problem on intels. 

On Fri, 2002-02-22 at 06:49, Robert G. Brown wrote:
> On Fri, 22 Feb 2002 AskB0b at wrote:
> > I was curious as to if Redhat was an acceptable choice and if version 5, 6, 
> > or 7 was preferred?  I am working with very limited HDs so I need to know 
> > what packages are necessary and which ones aren't so important.
> Red Hat is fine.  For reasons of security and quality I'd strongly
> recommend 7.2 (latest) over any earlier versions.  The kernel is better,
> the compilers are better, and everything is much more secure than it was
> in 5.x or 6.2 or even 7.0.  If you do decide to go with a 6.x version
> because your disks are >>really<< tiny you'll have to work pretty hard
> to secure it from the base distribution -- there were some pretty
> horrible security bugs discovered in lots of the standard systems tools
> and even the kernels in this family, although overall they were still
> quite functional.
> As far as disk requirements are concerned, we have very nice 7.2 nodes
> installed in about a GB.  These nodes are still pretty "fat" in their OS
> package selection as they have so much surplus disk that there is no
> point in being stingy and finding later that you're missing something
> that might, conceivably, be useful.  For example, they have X.  You
> could probably strip an installation down by hundreds of MB and still
> have lots of tools and libraries to play with.  Don't forget that in 7.2
> it is strongly recommended that you have 2x memory in swap, so factor
> that into your configurations.  
> Also, minimum memory requirements for 7.2 to run smoothly without
> excessive swapping or paging in a typical installation are probably in
> the ballpark of 64 MB, maybe twice that if you ever plan to run X on a
> node.  Then there are your application requirements.  Personally I'd
> recommend at LEAST 128 MB of main memory per node, and 256 MB or more
> would be better.  Thus plan on at least 256-512MB of swap in your disk
> budget, more if you have lots of memory.
> The list of packages "required" to make a node depends very much on what
> you've got to play with (2 GB disks would be ok, 4 GB would be more than
> enough, but 1 GB disks and you'll have to work some).  If you let me
> know what "very limited HD's" are these days (with the smallest disks
> being currently sold for <$100 in the 30-40 GB range) then I'll come up
> with some hack of our current beowulf kickstart that might work for you.
> If I can -- note that 1 GB disks will really require some work.  Of
> course, 1 GB disks are what, six or seven years old by now?  Might be
> time to upgrade?
>    rgb
> -- 
> Robert G. Brown	             
> Duke University Dept. of Physics, Box 90305
> Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
> Phone: 1-919-660-2567  Fax: 919-660-2525     email:rgb at
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Douglas J Nordwall	
System Administrator	Pacific Northwest National Labs

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