[Beowulf] Win64 Clusters!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bill Bryce bill at platform.com
Tue Apr 3 07:00:17 PDT 2007

Regarding the 'borgification' of MPI on Windows....there is an opening
for them to do this.  MPI did not define how you start the tasks when
you launch a parallel job....it left that up to the MPI implementation.
Now most MPIs use something reasonable, like say ssh - or starting a mpd
ring to launch the tasks (and this is all open source), however I
believe that for Microsoft MPI they wrote their own replacement for
'ssh' and also modified how the tasks are launched to ensure their MPI
fits into Microsoft's security model, here is specific information on
this from Microsoft's site

"An important improvement that MS MPI brings to MPICH2 is in how
security is managed during execution of MPI jobs. Each job is run with
the credentials of the user. Credentials are only present while the job
is being executed on the compute nodes and are erased when the job
completes. Individual processes only have access to their logon token,
and do not have access to the credentials (user name and password) that
generated the token or to the credentials used by other processes."

So this change effectively ties Microsoft MPI to only Microsoft Windows
platforms, and the security changes are closed source.  Not all of
Microsoft's partners like MS MPI - when HP ships Microsoft CCS they
remove MS MPI and put in HP MPI - which probably just adds to confusion
on the end user side.



-----Original Message-----
From: beowulf-bounces at beowulf.org [mailto:beowulf-bounces at beowulf.org]
On Behalf Of Robert G. Brown
Sent: Monday, April 02, 2007 8:22 PM
To: Tom Mitchell
Cc: beowulf at beowulf.org
Subject: Re: [Beowulf] Win64 Clusters!!!!!!!!!!!!

On Mon, 2 Apr 2007, Tom Mitchell wrote:

> On Sun, Apr 01, 2007 at 02:02:53PM +0500, amjad ali wrote:
>> Date: Sun, 1 Apr 2007 14:02:53 +0500
>> From: "amjad ali" <amjad11 at gmail.com>
>> To: beowulf at beowulf.org
>> Subject: [Beowulf] Win64 Clusters!!!!!!!!!!!!
>> Hi All,
>> Would any of you please like to share usage-experience/views/comments
>> about Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003 based Beowulf Clusters?
>> What in your opinion is the future of such clusters?
>> How you compare these with the LINUX CLUSTERS?
> With full consideration to "fat, soft pretzels with
> cheezy-mustard sauce or rolled in asiago parmesan and garlic."
> MS pulled a version of mpich/mvapich/MPI and ported it to windows.
> They also developed some library code to gateway some *inx
> calls to windows.  The root sources of MPI are public and not GPL so
they can.
> It might be worth looking at the MS announcement -- but why
> bother.  If you look you might think that common MPI codes
> would just compile and run...  I have no idea I expect some will
> and there begins silly porting for the next...

Sure.  MS did this, no doubt.  And as you note below, no sooner do they
get it in when they begin the borgification of MPI, just as they've
borgified java, c, c++, and anything in the Universe they can sucker
somebody into buying in borgified form.

Borgifying MPI is the most humorous thing in the Universe, BTW, given
its historical origins -- it was basically a language written
(reluctantly!) by supercomputer vendors when the US government got tired
of paying for all their important codes to be ported to each new
generation of proprietary hardware with its proprietary low level calls.
MS is doubtless trying to figure out just how much of that they can
undo while building up a big enough market share and enough vendors of
closed source applications written with their borgisms that they can...

Oh wait.  It IS GPL.  Do you think that they actually read it?

However, I was really referring to the other aspects of program
development and performance tuning associated with using a closed source
development environment.

Resistance is Futile.


> Once a set of boxes are interconnected and you have library
> support for MPI or another way to share data (PVM... whatever)
> you are off and running in the clustering world.   Sadly MS
> has a MS specific library that abuses "standard MPI" and could
> quickly cause source code to surface that runs correctly or on a
> MS cluster but not on another OS based cluster (Linux, Solaris,
> Irix, AIX).   I see this all the time with java script, and c,
> c++, and other codes where little 'features' hook you in.
> Some will be fooled into thinking that this is something to look at
> or worse something to spend money on.
> Since you posted this on 1 Apr 2007 all I can do is giggle
> and wonder why I replied.
> Regards,
> mitch
> PS: Ask in a year but not on April fools/joke day.

Robert G. Brown	                       http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/
Duke University Dept. of Physics, Box 90305
Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
Phone: 1-919-660-2567  Fax: 919-660-2525     email:rgb at phy.duke.edu

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