[Beowulf] clustering using xen virtualized machines

Hearns, John john.hearns at mclaren.com
Tue Jan 26 08:37:48 PST 2010

> Is it just me, or does HPC clustering and virtualization fall on
> opposite ends of the spectrum?

Gavin, not necessarily. You could have a cluster of HPC compute nodes
running a minimal base OS.
Then install specific virtual machines with different OS/software stacks
each time your run a job.
OK, this is probably more relevant for grid or cloud computing - I first
thought this would be a good idea when seeing
that (at the time) the CERN LHC Grid software would only run with Redhat
So you could imagine 'packaging up' a virtual machine which has your
particular OS flavour/libraries/compilers and shipping
it out with the job.

Another reason could be fault tolerance - you run VMs on the compute
nodes. When you detect a hardware fault is coming along
(eg from ECC errors or disk errors) you perform a live migration from
one node to another - and your job keeps on trucking.
(In theory, checkpointing needed etc. etc.)

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