[Beowulf] Re: What is best OS for GRID or clusters?

Gerry Creager gerry.creager at tamu.edu
Sun Sep 27 16:21:00 PDT 2009


I think you'll discover that the Beowulf list tends to comprise a number 
of folks who are engaged in high performance, or high throughput, 
computing already, or are coming into the fray, now interested in 
learning what is composed of the art of the possible.

We've a nice assortment of knowledgable folk here, who  offer their 
expertise freely, and whose knowledge is often complementary and 
extensible, in that one person's experiences and knowledge are often 
building blocks for another's explanation.

We tend to run Linux, as a core OS of choice, for a variety of reasons. 
These include familiarity, experience and comfort levels, and in a 
number of cases, a systematic determination that it's the best choice 
for what we're doing.

In this post, while apparently asking for opinions about the best OS for 
grid or cluster computing, you point out "yet another academic OS 
project" (which is not to dismiss it, but simply to categorize it). 
EROS, from an academic perspective, looks interesting, but currently 

You see, like you, I've a finite temporal resource, and am limited in my 
current job to a 168 hour work week (and by my wife and family to an 
even shorter one). I have invested a lot of time in *nix over the years, 
and have decided to my satisfaction that Linux is the best fit for my 
scientific efforts.  Further (or better|worse, depending on outlook), I 
prefer CentOS these days for stability.  You see, I've isolated clusters 
that have been running without updates for half a decade, because 
they're up and stable.  I tend to create cluster environments that meet 
a particular need for performance or throughput, and which can then be 
administered as efficiently as possible... preferably meaning that 
neither I, nor my other administrators, have to spend much time with 
'em. My real job isn't to play with clusters, OS's or administration, 
it's to obtain funding and do research using computational models.

Please don't take this as a slight.  Instead, I'm trying to give you a 
flavor of *some* of the folks here, and a basis for several of the 
replies.  We're interested, and there are almost certainly folks on this 
list who've investigated all aspects of what you are asking about.  I 
trust these to answer your queries much better than I can.  And don't 
stop asking.  But do realize that we tend to spend a lot of our time 
trying to get the work out the door rather than searching for the next 
great tool that could consume all our time learning whether it's practical.

Finally, getting back to the query that started all of this, I suspect 
Linux, and NOT Solaris, would prove easier, by some margin.  I recommend 
you spend a little time investigating NPACI Rocks (yes, I do use them 
for some clusters) as they have implementations using either Linux or 
Solaris, and someone's developing a Rocks Roll for grid use, or so I'm 
told.  That could give you a fairly simple implementation path if that's 
what you're looking for.  At first glance, EROS does not look like it's 
ready for prime time, so I'd not be looking that way. Of course, SOMEONE 
needs to try it in the cluster world, someday, but I don't have the time 
to be that person.

Good luck in your studies, and welcome to the group!

Jeremy Baker wrote:
> EROS (Extremely Reliable Operating System)
>     http://www.eros-os.org/eros.html
> -- 
> Jeremy Baker
> PO 297
> Johnson, VT
> 05656
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Gerry Creager -- gerry.creager at tamu.edu
Texas Mesonet -- AATLT, Texas A&M University	
Cell: 979.229.5301 Office: 979.458.4020 FAX: 979.862.3983
Office: 1700 Research Parkway Ste 160, TAMU, College Station, TX 77843

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