[Beowulf] Virtualization in head node ?

Stuart Barkley stuartb at 4gh.net
Wed Sep 16 05:35:50 PDT 2009

On Mon, 14 Sep 2009 at 14:04 -0000, David Ramirez wrote:

> Still a newbie in HPC, in the first stages of building a Beowulf
> cluster (8 nodes).

Also a newbie to HPC, but now accumulating systems very quickly.

> I wonder if anybody out there has used Linux virtual machines in the
> head node, just to be able to experiment with different
> configurations & deployments and jump back without much effort if
> things go bad. Considering (out of experience in desktop) VMWare or
> Sun Virtualbox. Any hints, comments

I simulated a complete rocks system early on with VMs.  I had 4
compute nodes and one head node.  It was very useful for understanding
some of the configuration basics.  I never actually ran a problem on
this system. I used Ubuntu server on a quad core system with kvm for
this purpose and found it quite acceptable.

I experimented with running our sge master as a VM on a login node but
decided I preferred running this VM one one of our Xen hosts.  We are
using CentOS and Xen for production VMs.  Once I figured out a
prototype Xen configuration file it became pretty easy to run VMs for
infrastructure purposes.

Our system will consists of several compute clusters which need to
share a common infrastructure.  Rocks and other out of the box
clustering systems are useful to study, but none of them look
sufficient to handle our needs.  Having an experimental VM structure
is a good way to study the various systems.

I've never been lost; I was once bewildered for three days, but never lost!
                                        --  Daniel Boone

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