[Beowulf] Re: building a new cluster

Mark Hahn hahn at physics.mcmaster.ca
Mon Sep 6 10:33:43 PDT 2004

> > 4. Managed or unmanaged?
> >
> > People already recommended some switches that I will not repeat here.
> > However, I am still not clear about "managed" and "unmanaged" switches.
> > Some vendors told me that I need an managed one, while other said the
> > opposite. Will need to study more...
> Do you need all those protocols for WAN networking, or are you planning to use 
> it for HPC? If you're going HPC, you don't need managed anything. The vendors 

I lean towards unmanaged as well, at least as long as the managed version
is noticably more expensive (per-port, remember).

on the other hand, I recently configured a 96-node cluster:
	- 32 nodes per rack
	- each node on a per-rack gigabit switch
	- each node's IPMP port on a per-rack 100bT switch
	- 100bT switch plugged daisy-chained to gigabit switch
	- gigabit switches uplinked (4x trunking) to a "top" gigabit switch

now, that's a fair number of nodes and quite a few ports, but since all
the switches were managed, I could fairly easily query each switch to find
the mac address of each node in each rack to build the dhcpd.conf.

I don't expect to ever use the management features - vlans, port disabling,
etc.  but it certainly was more convenient to do all this from my office,
rather than fussing around in the machineroom, sequentially turning on each

regards, mark hahn.

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