[Beowulf] SGI to offer Windows on clusters

John Hearns john.hearns at streamline-computing.com
Mon Apr 16 01:05:19 PDT 2007

Robert G. Brown wrote:
> On Sun, 15 Apr 2007, John Hearns wrote:
>> And re. the future version of Scientific Linux, there has been debate 
>> on the list re. co-operating with CENTos and essentially using CENTos 

> IMO, most cluster builders will find it more advantageous to track the
> FC releases instead of using RHEL or Centos or things derived therefrom.
> Hardware support is key, and Centos can get long in the tooth pretty
> quickly in a cluster environment with any sort of annual turnover.
    at long last I can take issue with you.
I don't agree re. Fedora.    We as cluster builders have to support 
machines for at least three years, and are commonly requested to extend 
support. I don't see how we can support a distribution which has a 
'live' lifetime of six months (not sure how long updates are for after 
that). After three years the distro is far, far out of date.

Your point re. hardware support of course is correct, and refutes my 
argument above. We deal with this by backporting up-to-date kernels and 
drivers, (and other packages such as dhcp server to RH 7.3 recently!)

If you reply that 'rolling updates' a la Debian would be possible, that 
would be OK if well engineered (*) on academic sites.
But on commercial and secure Government sites machines are very often 
operated on an isolated LAN, and stability (read 'don't change things 
unnecessarily')  is a key requirement there too.

(*) Ha. Well engineered?
Take the recent SuSE update which killed system logging on one of our 
clusters. SuSE update RPM for syslog-ng now requires that the 
syslog-ng.conf file is present (not present on the default install).
Yast quietly updates the RPM during the night last November.
System is rebooted a couple of weeks ago. We're asked to diagnose a 
problem - and lo and behold no system logs.
(The fix is to use SuSE-config to create the syslog-ng.conf file and 
restart syslog)

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