[Beowulf] cluster flexibility vs. design specificity, cluster vs. supercomputing

Greg Lindahl greg.lindahl at qlogic.com
Sun Aug 20 23:22:12 PDT 2006

On Tue, Aug 08, 2006 at 09:15:46AM -0400, Douglas Eadline wrote:

> 3) "closed plumbing" - the underlying software cannot be
>    altered or examined by the user.
> Case 3, really has no relevance in Linux clusters. The plumbing
> is open (http://www.clustermonkey.net//content/view/24/33/)

I just flew Song from Atlanta to San Jose, and they had to reboot the
seat-back screens. Linux, apparently a separate computer for each
screen. If you're buying a supercomputing appliance, you may not care
about altering the software, and it may indeed be a commodity Linux
cluster inside.

(It was running some embedded Red Hat thingie with lots of weird
modules. I should have scribbled down some details, but I had just
downed 2 Mint Juleps. Ahhh.)

> In summary, there is no requirement that a fast cluster must
> be "vendor entangled". My advice is get entangled with
> an integrator/consultant that understands cluster
> hardware and software so they can help you get the best
> price-to-performance for your application(s).

This is good advice, although rarely followed these days.

-- greg

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