[Beowulf] The Walmart Compute Node?

Jim Lux James.P.Lux at jpl.nasa.gov
Thu Nov 8 14:52:56 PST 2007

At 01:03 PM 11/8/2007, andrew holway wrote:
>Im still not convinced, bang for buck your going to get more
>clustering this junk than buying commodity hardware. Benchmarks at the

No question there..

However, if you want a low capital investment toy cluster to learn 
on, the $200 node is quite attractive.

For instance, say you had a class of 10 people wanting to learn about 
cluster design and admin.  You could go and get a big cluster and 
install the necessary management tools to let them share the cluster, 
or use an already existing cluster.  OTOH, you could also buy 10 $2K 
clusters, and let them have at it on their very own. They'll learn 
all the things about cluster admining, rebuilding images, etc.

For this kind of thing, raw performance isn't important, number of 
nodes is, because there's a qualitative difference between running a 
standalone machine and running a group of N>3 machines that have to 
talk.  Somewhere around 5-10 computers, brute force techniques to 
install software like sneakernet start to really break down.

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