[Beowulf] portable clusters

Jim Lux James.P.Lux at jpl.nasa.gov
Tue Nov 29 21:43:19 PST 2005

At 09:26 PM 11/29/2005, Mark Hahn wrote:
> > The goal here is to have a credible concept to improve the "system"
> > performance by adding on a computatational element to an existing portable
> > system that is Windows based without requiring any hardware changes to the
> > windows system, or without requiring significant software mods to the
> > windows system (i.e. running some new program is ok, running a windows
> > emulator is not).
>this seems fairly quixotic to me, since you also seem to be planning on
>some sort of small cluster of token (via, etc) processors.  it's rather
>easy to imagine cases where a decent ruggedized 4x2 linux box would easily
>outperform a 16x via cluster.

Yep.. but you're still faced with the network boot issue, cluster or 
no.  Actually, it appears that the real challenge isn't the "cluster" per 
se, but the whole "diskless linux boot from Windows laptop" process.

>but in any case, what's the problem?  you know you can run dhcp and tftp
>from windows,

Actually, it's not real clear that one CAN run the dhcp server and tftp 
server from regular old WinXP...

>and it's not as if a PXE-booted linux box requires a "unixy"
>root disk.

Indeed, but when I asked the original question, it wasn't clear whether 
there was an "easy" way to support the minimal functionality need to 
respond to PXE in the laptop windows context. Still isn't clear that there 
IS an *easy* way to do this.. Running DHCPD and TFTPD under VMWare, for 
instance, isn't necessarily "easy", nor is running those under cygwin.  In 
the latter case, I can see all sorts of peculiar interactions with the 
other MS internet services running.

>   with initrd, you don't need kernel nfs-root support, and could
>certainly get by mounting a cifs share from the windows box.  heck, with a
>specialized enough system, you could probably put _everything_ you need in
>the initrd - no one says you have to do the normal init process, 
>/etc/rc.d, etc.

James Lux, P.E.
Spacecraft Radio Frequency Subsystems Group
Flight Communications Systems Section
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Mail Stop 161-213
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena CA 91109
tel: (818)354-2075
fax: (818)393-6875

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