[Beowulf] building my first cluster

Mark Kosmowski mark.kosmowski at gmail.com
Mon Jan 29 19:11:23 PST 2007

Dear Beowulf Community:

I'm building my first cluster and wanted to express thankfulness for
the community resources here.  I've been reading about clustering here
and at clustermonkey.net and my hardware is arriving this week.  In
fact, my power supplies and CPUs arrived today.

I'm going to be adding 2 nodes of dual opteron machines to my existing
dual opteron workstation to make a 3 node 6 processor (all single
core) cluster.  This is being done from personal funds and will be
used to support my doctoral research in computational chemistry.
However, as much as I'd like to learn clustering, the research has to
come first and I'm prepared to fall back to a 3 workstation setup if I
fail miserably at cluster implementation.  Each machine will have 4 Gb
RAM, and I may upgrade RAM as budget permits (which means each machine
will have 4 Gb RAM, at least until I've finished my PhD program).  In
order to be able to fall back to the three workstations if needed,
each machine will have a 80 - 120 Gb hard drive.

I'm probably going to use SUSE Professional 9.1 as my distribution (my
PGI 5.2 compilers don't run on OpenSUSE 10.2 - I've tried the
suggestions to fix this from pgroup.com forums but they didn't work -
I'd be happy for further ideas regarding this issue).

Other than just saying hello here, I do have a question.  For this
modest sized cluster, how important is it to have a cluster manager
like OSCAR?  Will it be just as time consuming to just learn a flavor
of MPI as it would be to learn to use OSCAR (for example)?  I will
primarily be using CPMD for my calculations, but may want to try out
abinit and DFT++.


Mark Kosmowski
Syracuse University
Syracuse, NY

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