[Beowulf] SLC3

Michael Will mwill at penguincomputing.com
Fri Jun 18 10:12:47 PDT 2004

On Wednesday 16 June 2004 06:50 pm, Eray Ozkural wrote:
> On Wednesday 16 June 2004 18:07, John Hearns wrote:
> > Following on from the debate on a Fedora-based cluster distro,
> > I note on the CERN webpages that there is a collaboration between
> > CERN and Fermilab on SLC3 (Scientific Linux) based on RHEL 3
> > Comments, thoughts on whether or not this would be a good basis
> > for a cluster distro?

> Which beowulf software solution makes it easiest to install a node from
> scratch? (Using magic floppy or netboot...) This is our most important
> criterion for a modest research cluster we will be soon building.

[Disclaimer: I work for Penguin Computing who aquired Scyld]

Scyld if you are prepared to buy a commercial system. Scyld has a full 
installation only on the headnode, and the compute nodes PXE boot from the 
master node. Reinstalling a compute node really just means rebooting it. And 
if you just updated the software of your jobs and not the kernel, then you 
can just restart the job and it will use the latest version even without a 

If you are prepared to shell out money for RHEL then you might as well get a 
real cluster linux like Scyld, and support from clustering experts.

> We were using debian (my favorite distro) and FAI, but I was *highly*
> disappointed with countless bugs, most of which we were able to correct,
> but in time, I think, we continually had to patch the system which was
> *not* a good thing. At the time, it doesn't work. I'd have to go in a
> painful bugfix mode to make it work again for our setup.
> Ideally, we want nodes that will be used for parallel programming research.
> And if we want to upgrade the software (like MPI libs, c libs, etc.), we
> want to do it real fast.
> What's the best bet?

In my opinion Scyld, and not just because we sell it. You really just upgrade 
the software on the master node and then reboot your slaves and you are 100% 

Michael Will, Linux Sales Engineer
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