[scyld-users] hello

Donald Becker becker at scyld.com
Mon Feb 9 17:14:02 PST 2004

On Mon, 9 Feb 2004, Chris Brake wrote:

>      my name is Chris, i'm a student in an information technology program at 
> UCCB Nova Scotia Canada.  i'm very interested in Beowulf technology and i 
> was asked, as an assignment for class, to ask a question on a listserv.  
> i've chosen this one.  i was wondering what, at this point is the most 
> stable and felxable version of the beowulf software.

"Stable" and "flexible" are very subjective terms.

Most Beowulf distributions are based on an underlying Linux system, and
thus their stability is roughly comparable.  Linux can be a very stable
system, running for years without rebooting.  However few Beowulf
distributions besides Scyld are tested before release, and thus Scyld
Beowulf distributions are more likely to be stable than other cluster

A clear example was during the first year of the Linux 2.4 kernel.
Scyld's commercial release continued to use the Linux 2.2 kernel, while
other cluster distributions used the 2.4 kernels with the claim that
"newer is better".  Scyld's first commercial release with the 2.4 kernel
used 2.4.17, which was the first 2.4 in which the VM subsystem was
stable for large memory jobs.  It's now widely acknowledged that earlier
2.4 kernels were only suitable for light workloads.

The Scyld Beowulf distribution is also more flexible than other Beowulf
distributions, by many criteria.  It takes only a single configuration
change to build disk or diskless nodes, with no change to the
administrative model.  It's easy to create specialized single-purpose
nodes, or to leave all machines as general purpose compute nodes.  There
are so many other examples of flexibility that the term really needs to
be narrowed.

Donald Becker				becker at scyld.com
Scyld Computing Corporation		http://www.scyld.com
914 Bay Ridge Road, Suite 220		Scyld Beowulf cluster systems
Annapolis MD 21403			410-990-9993

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