[Beowulf] Virtualization

andrew holway andrew at moonet.co.uk
Tue Jul 17 12:20:32 PDT 2007

Please replace "cloud computing" with "utility computing" they are the
same article on wikipedia but........

It seems to me that the current trend is going towards this kind of
setup for people needing server space. Pay per hour, per processor.

If it is to be offered as an alternative to dedicated hosting I think
a container is very important. Allowing users an environment they
understand is essential.

I'm interested in utilising the hardware to create something akin to
the sun grid or the amazon elastic computing cloud whereby the
resources available to the environment are automatically expanded and
contracted. Maybe I have the wrong end of the stick on how these
services operate.

The thing that I think would be most important, even over performance
would be reliability. From the very little I understand about beowulf
clusters a node dying isn't really a problem. I need to work out the
economics of such a setup but I think, in the interests of the
hallowed 100% uptime a fair chunk of the performance could be

Please excuse my rantings and misunderstandings :-) Im having a hard
time getting good information about this kinda stuff.



On 17/07/07, Mark Hahn <hahn at mcmaster.ca> wrote:
> > interested in finding out about virtualisation on beowulf. The pros
> > and cons, what software can be used and the limitations of such
> > software.
> virtualization does, inherently, sacrifice some performance.  since
> beowulf is often motivated by achieving higher performance, this is
> somewhat contradictory.
> > Can a beowulf cluster be applied to cloud computing? Will it run xen
> afaikt, "cloud computing" means
> <handwave speed=vigorous> lightweight clients interacting through random,
> loose, disparate connections with service-providing things over some
> kind of soap-ish, webby protocols </handwave>
> so sure, why not?  CC is mainly about not requiring any particular
> design or structure, so sure you could host your clients and servers
> inside VM's under a cluster.  I'm not sure I'd call it a beowulf cluster,
> though.
> > or vmware or would an operating system-level virtualization package
> > such as open VZ be more suitable.
> I can't see that it would make any difference.  actually, I'm not sure
> there would be any real need to use a VM or other container at all:
> a cloud server is basically just a service definition and some sort of
> IP connectivity.  they could run as normal jobs on a cluster (with no
> virtualization or containment.)
> > most of all, what's scalable?
> virtualization is no friend of performance scaling.  or do you mean
> human-effort (TCOish) scaling?  I'd guess the most human-scalable
> approach would be one big SMP, or at least a few very fat nodes.

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