[Beowulf] Should I go for diskless or not?

Dr Cool Santa drcoolsanta at gmail.com
Wed May 20 01:18:57 PDT 2009

A big discussion I see . . .

Finally I was able to get the diskless set up running, and the machines did
come with disks . . . I set it up diskless just to save time.

And actually Bio Chemistry work is going to be performed on this cluster,
but I don't think a lot many people would be working on it at the same time,
hence we aren't going to have a big cluster of nodes, probably not even
hundred for that matter. As some of you said already, I could create local
swap partitions on each but I wanted to make one computer have all the hard
disks so its not really hard to you know access the left over memory. The
computers come for the company, so the hard disks have a decent amount of
memory I believe (around 300GB each). Since this is diskless at the moment,
and the virtually each machines hostname and ip address changes according to
the order they are switched on, you can think how hard it is going to be to
access the hard disks from some node. I already said, we aren't making a
super computer, its only going to be used by one research group, the
university provides us super computers to work on but people here just love
to destroy other people's research work.

I want to emphasize that it is a small cluster and will remain quite small,
i can just shut the machines off by pressing the buttons without even moving
an inch, and of course we always have SSH to do the thing for us.
Some sophisticated things you guys mentioned there, but I doubt we'd need

And at the moment, there is no administration software installed for the
cluster, I am actually just working on about what the software wants me to
install. THats MPICH1 for one and HPMPI for another. I am new to linux
networking and to clusters, my ability comes from tutorials which are scarce
and I don't know how outdated (decades to be precise) or I am looking for
them in the wrong place. Therefore if you could give your suggestions to
this newbie, it'd be appriciated.

And to mention, we are using Schrodinger suit of software and Accelry's
Materials Studio here.
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