[Beowulf] about managment

Gary Molenkamp gary at sharcnet.ca
Mon Oct 18 05:59:01 PDT 2004

On Sat, 16 Oct 2004, John Hearns wrote:

> On Fri, 2004-10-15 at 19:38, llwaeva at 21cn.com wrote:
> > Hi all, 
> >   I am running 8-node LAM/MPI parallel computing system. I found it's
> > trouble to maintain the user accounts and software distribution on all
> > the nodes. For example, whenever I install a new software , I have to
> > repeat the job 8 times!
> There are several answers to this question,
> which you can learn about by staying on this group, and consulting
> online resources.
> A quick answer is that you could construct the cluster using one of the
> toolkits, such as Rocks or Warewulf - many others.
> And a very quick answer to your current dilemma. There are utilities
> which allow parallel execution of commands on a set of machines,
> or even to have a terminal session in parallel across a set of machines.
> Once you have a server (below) you can rsync each node to that.

For software distribution, I use systemimager from the Systeminstaller 
Suite. It simplifies using rsync for managing images of nodes, and works 
well even across cluster (I have 4 clusters running off one server, that 
is also the master node of a cluster). 

> >  The most annoying thing is that the
> > configuration or managment of the user accounts over the network is a
> > heavy job. Someone suggests that I should utilize NFS and NIS. However,
> > in my case, it's difficult to have an additional computer as a server.
> Not meaning to be rude,  but you are wrong there.
> Just use one of your compute nodes as the server. The additional CPU
> load will not be great.
> You should use some sort of centralised account management NIS or LDAP.

I've recently deployed LDAP at SHARCNET and it really simplifies the 
account management process.  I still nfs mount home accounts, but I used 
to rcp the passwd,shadow, and group files around.  This made it difficult 
for users to maintain there account info, and had a long delay to 
propigate to 200+ busy machines.   

> Even if you point blank refuse to do that, a cron job to rsync the
> relevant files will help cut down your admin load.
> And remember - eight machines may not seem a lot. But what happens if
> you make a mistake on one machine, or one machine is down when you are
> adding an account or software. Are you sure to run identical commands by
> hand the next time it is up?
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Gary Molenkamp			SHARCNET
Systems Administrator		University of Western Ontario
gary at sharcnet.ca		http://www.sharcnet.ca
(519) 661-2111 x88429		(519) 661-4000

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