[Beowulf] Is Beowulf the right solution for my problem ?

Josh England jjengla at sandia.gov
Fri Apr 22 13:07:52 PDT 2005

Personally, I'd recommend using oneSIS (http://onesis.org).  It is
extremely easy to setup/maintain, and doesn't force you into a minimal
root filesystem (like warewulf).  It sits on top of any linux
distribution, and it is very easy to deal with.  Simply put, it is
simpler, easier to use, and more flexible than any other cluster
management software I know of.


Robert G. Brown wrote:
> On Fri, 22 Apr 2005, Nicolas GUIOT wrote:
>>Hello everybody.
>>I was just looking for a cluster management solution, and found out that Beowulf could be a good solution.
>>I then started reading this : http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/Beowulf/beowulf_book/beowulf_book/index.html
>>And I'm now wondering if my applications were right designed to run on the beowulf cluster.
>>>From what I read so far, it seems beowulf is adapted to make ONE calculation on several nodes, but this is not my objective : 
>>-I have a COW of about 20 to 40 computers, mostly differents, in terms of CPU, RAM, and so on
>>- We run several applications (Theoritical Bio-chemistry), not especially designed for parallel processing
>>My goal is to have a master node to which everyone supplies his jobs,
>>then the master dispatches the jobs to the different computers,
>>according to criterias (CPU must be Intel, CPU must be over 2 GHz, need
>>much RAM, etc....)
>>So the question is : is beowulf adapted to my needs, and if it's not,
>>do you know any available (free) solution for me ? (I've already heard
>>about Sun Grid Engine, but for "political" reasons....)
> What's political about SGE?  It's open source, and while it is also a
> bit of a PITA to build because of the way they package and distribute it
> it is in widespread usage in grid environments.  RPM packagings of it
> exist, as well (see e.g.
>   http://www.linux.duke.edu/~agrajag/RPMS/
> and maybe look at warewulf as well).  Other things to look into include
> Condor and OpenPBS.  PBS (in my mind) has more "politics" associated
> with it, as it has a really sucky license that requires "registration"
> Condor, also, has a fairly sucky license and primary distribution site,
> but perhaps less so, as they no longer limit distribution (although they
> still require "registration").  Sun, on the other hand, just makes you
> read their license and click "accept", and even that's only for binaries
> -- the sources are in publically accessible CVS.
> But anyway, to address your other remarks yes, it sounds like you are de
> facto running a more generic compute cluster than a "beowulf" per se --
> something closer to a distributed parallel computer or Grid.  This may
> or may not matter -- a beowulf can run SGE (or other batch system) on a
> front end as easily as a NOW/COW cluster.  It's just a matter of which
> one is easiest for you to set up and administer. These days, with PXE
> and various automated linux install tools for both rpm and deb based
> linuces, installing a LAN-style cluster is very, very easy if you know
> what you're doing, and there is a lot of documentation to learn from if
> you don't.  OTOH things like Scyld reduce the level of expertise
> required to get going still further and provide human support -- for a
> fee.
> One thing I'd recommend looking at is warewulf
>   http://warewulf.lbl.gov/pmwiki/
> as it is a cluster toolkit that fits (as packages) on top of whatever
> LAN and Linux distro you're using now.  Unfortunately, I couldn't find a
> current list of the software it bundles on their site, but it is very
> easy to build and install (or just install depending on what you're
> running) and probably contains SGE ready to run (and possibly other
> batch managers).  It is supported by real cluster humans who actually
> use it, and is pretty current in terms of what it provides.
>    rgb
>>Thanks for your help
>>Nicolas GUIOT
>>Institut de Biologie Physico Chimique - UPR 9080
>>13 rue Pierre et Marie Curie
>>75005 PARIS
>>Tel : 01 58 41 51 70
>>Fax : 01 58 41 50 26
>>Beowulf mailing list, Beowulf at beowulf.org
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