[Beowulf] Re: portable clusters

David Mathog mathog at mendel.bio.caltech.edu
Mon Nov 28 08:12:12 PST 2005

Jim Lux <James.P.Lux at jpl.nasa.gov> wrote:

> Has anyone done a diskless cluster (i.e. boot the nodes off the network) 
> where the nodes run Linux but the headnode/server is a WinXP/Win2K box?
> Think in terms of booting off the drive in a laptop.
> The application is one where the raw data that's being processed is 
> collected by peculiar hardware for which only windows drivers are

It would probably be a lot less work to move the data off of
the Windows box and onto a regular linux/unix headnode and then work
from there.  To do so you will only need a little script to
push or pull the data, and then all the rest of the cluster
configuration tools would be on the linux side, and would be
programs that you already have and are already familiar with.

In terms of making a cluster out of laptops you'd probably do it the
same way I have my regular nodes set up.  That is, set the boot order
to: (floppy, cd) network disk.  When you want them to boot into a
cluster set the local dhcp server to answer their boot requests.
Otherwise, for them to boot normally, have it not answer.  The laptops
will take a few seconds longer to boot this way though.  Hopefully
all of the laptops in question are identical, otherwise you may
need multiple boot images or a fairly large boot image to handle
all of the different hardware correctly.


David Mathog
mathog at caltech.edu
Manager, Sequence Analysis Facility, Biology Division, Caltech

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