[Beowulf] Need Help...!

Reuti reuti at staff.uni-marburg.de
Sat Oct 23 13:41:52 PDT 2004


> Please give us a bit more detail. In particular, what software are we
> talking about?  Different packages have very different licensing schmea,
> and one usually has to go with what a package supports.  For example,
> matlab is in use on some clusters on campus here.  matlab uses a
> license manager that can regulate the number of instances of matlab in
> use on a cluster.  Quite a few packages, actually, use a license manager
> that can regulate the number of packages one has to buy relative to the
> number of platforms one wishes to run them on, but of course this is a
> case by case thing.

also when there is no license manager included, you have to stay in the range 
of the bought licenses with some counter in the queuing system you are using 
(with some of them e.g. SGE you can also control the interactive usage).

Some software companies also have different license conditions for commercial 
usage (pay per machine or sometimes pay per CPU in the machine) or academical 
usage (pay per platform). Depending on the price, it may be cheaper to buy a 
site license in some cases (although you will use it in your cluster only). As 
pointed out, this you have to check for each software you intend to use in 
> Compilers have a slightly different issue.  There there may be floating
> license managers, but because compiler usage is sporadic many sites just
> buy a single license and put in on a specific node, e.g. the head node
> or the server node (which has direct access to the disk and thus avoids


> a networking hit).  The issue there is libraries -- many compilers come
> with special libraries that are part of how they get good performance.
> In some cases the libraries can be used on many systems as long as you
> buy the compiler/library package for one.  I don't know the exact state
> of things now but at one point in time at least you had to by library
> licenses for every node for at least some compilers out there in order
> to run the binaries generated by a compiler-licensed node.

E.g. the Portland license allows you also to sell the compiled program and 
distribute some .so files without any extra fee. For the Intel ones, you may in 
addition distribute the .a files. In each case there is a detailed list, what 
library files are valid for it. So it should be save to use them (the 
libraries) on all nodes in a cluster also.

> Unfortunately, most of the companies about clusters and what consitutes
> "reasonable" cost scaling in a cluster where 50-500 systems are
> literally clones of a basic node configuration, and will cheerily charge
> hundreds of dollars per node as if those nodes generate some sort of
> incremental cost for "support".  I think it is safe to say that "most"
> cluster sites avoid this cost by using e.g. Centos (logo-free GPL-based
> rebuild of RHEL), Fedora Core, Debian, Caosity -- one of the still-free

What about SuSE? You can download some floppies from their server and install 
it over net. And if you want: you can buy support.

Cheers - Reuti

More information about the Beowulf mailing list