[Beowulf] Help req: Building a disked Beowulf

Michael Will mwill at penguincomputing.com
Thu Aug 25 09:10:30 PDT 2005

Instead of installing Suse Pro 9.3 you might want to look at Rocks
which is a cluster-enabled distribution based on centos which in turn
is based on the sources of redhat enterprise linux. Just like centos it
is available for download free of charge, as it is an open source project.

It will make it easier for you to have a consistent configuration across
the cluster and also have all the tools for doing cluster monitoring,
scheduling of jobs, and it comes with MPI the message passing
library you might want to program against in order to create applications
that use more than one node at a time.


Chaitanya Krishna wrote:

>I am posting to the list for the first time.
>First a little background. Please bear.
>I am doing my research in Molecular Dynamics and we have very badly
>running Beowulf with 10 nodes in our lab. The position of the cluster
>is that the Master is able to connect to the outside world (it has two
>network cards) and we can access all the nodes (each has a network
>card) from the master which are all connected through a switch. We are
>able to run serial jobs on all the nodes but not parallel jobs. All of
>them have SuSE 9.1 installed on them but not exactly with the same
>partitions and the same software as the last few nodes were added by
>another person differenet from the one who originally built the
>I have been entrusted with the responsibility of getting the cluster
>to run parallel jobs as I am considered to be a computer geek here
>(which, as you will know, I am not). Hence the request for this help.
>You can consider that I just do not know anything. I have already
>Googled and found and read some interesting stuff on the net about
>building a cluster. But I am writing to get the views of you
>experienced guys out there in the cyber space.
>Well, the resources that I have are these:
>1 Intel Pentium 4 3 Ghz Procs   10
>2 Intel Mother boards                10
>3 200 GB SATA Hard disks       10
>4 120 GB IDE Hard disks           10
>5 Network cards                          10 + 1 (1 extra for master)
>6 Some already present switches
>All the IDE drives will be primary (the OS will reside on this) and
>the SATA drives will be use as secondary drives for storage)
>My plan (and requirement) is the following:
>1 To get the cluster up and running parallel jobs.
>2 The way I intend to do 1 is this. Install the OS (SuSE 9.3 Pro) on
>the master and install barebones ( I am not sure, but may be something
>like kernel, NFS and/or NIS, SSH, etc) on the rest of the nodes so
>that I am able to run parallel jobs as well as serial jobs on the
>nodes. Will require help on this.
>3 Whatever software I install on the master should be available on the
>nodes too (I guess this is possible either with NIS or NFS). Here too
>some help!
>4 I should have no need to propagate my executable to all the nodes
>manually to run a parallel job. I guess it should be possible if 3 is
>5 All the nodes should be able to store data on the drives attached to
>them Storage is very important.
>I haven't yet checked out the archives of the Beowulf list, but it
>would be very helpful if someone can tell me if all or some of the
>above are possible and some pointers as to where I can go next for
>some more information.
>Indian Institute of Science.

Michael Will
Penguin Computing Corp.
Sales Engineer
415-954-2899 fx
mwill at penguincomputing.com 

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