[Beowulf] How Can Microsoft's HPC Server Succeed?

Craig Tierney Craig.Tierney at noaa.gov
Wed May 28 14:49:54 PDT 2008

Greg Lindahl wrote:
> On Sat, Apr 19, 2008 at 12:26:28PM -0700, Donald Becker wrote:
>> And it's why I consider full installation to be unworkable 
>> for large clusters, especially when re-installation is considered to be 
>> part of cluster administration.
> There seem to be 3 main opinions in this area of cluster admin:
> 1) Install little or nothing on the nodes; reboot all the time
> 2) Heavy install on the nodes; re-image to ensure consistency
> 3) Heavy install on the nodes; other mechanism to ensure consistency

Your forgot:

4) Install nothing on the nodes, pull a kernel over the net, mount
root filesystem via NFS.  Do a heavy install, manage a single image
with RPM or other package manager, have little specific config for each
individual node, rarely reboot, consistency guaranteed when all nodes
mount the same filesystem.


> All of these have their pros and cons. You are correct that (2) needs
> a fast re-image, since you're going to be doing it fairly frequently.
> But (3) will only re-image once a year or two.
> Some people in (2) reboot&reimage any time they change a single
> rpm. That's a recipe for annoying your users, unless you have the
> ability to do a rolling-reboot between jobs.
> -- greg
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Craig Tierney (craig.tierney at noaa.gov)

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