[Beowulf] how useful is bproc, and what does Scyld cost?

Adam C Powell IV hazelsct at debian.org
Thu May 27 13:50:20 PDT 2004

There's also pretty complete community-maintained documentation at
http://wiki.debian.net/ with the relevant material at

On Thu, 2004-05-27 at 15:41, Camm Maguire wrote:
> Greetings!  No direct experience with diskless setups, but all the
> cluster applications I need work out of the box on Debian.  There are
> even precompiled atlas libraries for several common cpu
> subarchitectures.  We've been running ours for about 7 years -- 1
> software install, 3 hardware upgrades, and nothing but 'apt-get
> upgrade' since.
> Take care,
> Andrew Piskorski <atp at piskorski.com> writes:
> > I'm tentatively planning a small cluster that might or might not
> > actually get built.  My current plan is somewhere from 5-20 nodes, 1-2
> > x86 CPUs per node (exact CPU flavor undecided), gigabit ethernet, and
> > all nodes either entirely diskless, or using 1 IDE disk solely for
> > swap and /tmp.
> > 
> > I would prefer to have as much as posible of the cluster software
> > infrastructure Just Work, rather than having to spend lots of time
> > rolling my own.  (I will be spending enough time on the custom
> > software I actually want to RUN on the cluster as is.)  I am, of
> > course, quite willing to select hardware in order to make the software
> > job easier on myself.
> > 
> > Since I want to go diskless anyway, so far I am also leaning towards a
> > bproc based cluster.  I only know of two bproc-based cluster
> > distributions, Scyld and Clustermatic.  Scyld is commerical and costs
> > money, Clustermatic is not and does not.  Are there any others?  In
> > particular, are there any Debian based systems that play nicely out of
> > the box with bproc?
> > 
> > How much time and effort is Scyld actually going to save me over using
> > Clustermatic?  How much is either going to save me over completely
> > rolling my own, preferably using Debian rather than the old and
> > outdated versions of Red Hat that Scyld and Clustermatic seem to use?
> > Also, are there any major drawbacks or snafus I should worry about in
> > going down the bproc route?
> > 
> > Finally, just what DOES Scyld actually cost?  Can anyone give me a
> > rough idea?
> > 
> > >From Scyld's website, I can't tell whether they charge 50 cents or
> > $5,000 per node, and the Scyld/Penguin salesman seemed unable to spit
> > out any kind of ballpark price at all.  AFAICT, Scyld seems to expect
> > you to first actually build your cluster, and then send them your
> > cluster's complete hardware specs, down to the smallest detail, in
> > order to get any kind of quote!
> > 
> > Thanks!

-Adam P.

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