[Beowulf] centos5 as cluster os

Robert G. Brown rgb at phy.duke.edu
Fri Feb 15 11:10:38 PST 2008

On Fri, 15 Feb 2008, Mark Hahn wrote:

>> But if you have users who always want to use the latest and greatest tools 
>> (gcc, gsl, etc), then you may want to lean towards Fedora.
> or compile them yourself.  if you really care about them,
> you probably want to anyway.  significant updates don't happen _that_
> frequently, though this is obviously less viable for a one-man-cluster
> than a center with several admins.
> I think fedora could be made to work OK in a cluster, despite its update
> rate.  it would do so easier on a cluster which had lots of short jobs.
> (our clusters frequently have multi-week jobs, so we tend to update system
> stuff less frequently, and centos/rh and derived systems like xc work well.)
> I think centos+site-updates is a good model.  if nothing else, users may not
> want updates/disruptions as fast as fedora's comes.

Either one works, and we've tried either one.  As we've both said, the
tradeoffs are the amount of work required to build and maintain
"current" packages you may rely on versus frequency of update.  You can
easily run Fedora for a year, though -- even a year plus as there are
sites appearing that do Fedora afterlife support -- but a Fedora user
usually doesn't want to.  They're interested in the cool stuff that
constantly appears, the bug fixes, and so on.  But it's not like you
update/upgrade so quickly after a new release that you have to interrupt
jobs on even a month time scale.  You just have to pick a time over a
three to six month interval that is convenient for the upgrade, and
that's usually pretty easy.

There are exceptions.  For example, FC 6 users had damn well all be
updating ASAP to F8 right now (if they didn't yesterday or the day
before) as I don't believe the kernel fix is being backported that far.
And I don't know what's going on with Debian -- I'm guessing that folks
on the apt-update stream are autofixed but there may be isolated folks
that need to hand-update their kernels and reboot.  We still had a few
machines running FC 6 as of Monday that we were going to do in a planned
way e.g. over spring break.  Oops.  Sorry guys, time to do them


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Robert G. Brown                            Phone(cell): 1-919-280-8443
Duke University Physics Dept, Box 90305
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