[Beowulf] Cluster of Linux and Windows

Geoff Jacobs gdjacobs at gmail.com
Fri Mar 12 17:04:26 PST 2010

Mark Hahn wrote:
>> I am used to work with Arch Linux. What do you think about it?
> the distro is basically irrelevant.  clustering is just a matter of your
> apps, middleware like mpi (may or may not be provided by the cluster),
> probably a shared filesystem, working kernel, network stack,
> job-launch mechanism.  distros are mainly about desktop gunk that is
> completely irrelevant to clusters.

Let's not start the great distro debate again! Suffice it to say that
most distros will work as long as they satisfy your ISV and hardware

>> And finnaly, I would like to know if Is it possible to get a Cluster
>> Working
>> with a Server on Arch Linux and the nodes Windows.

File server? Sure, Samba is a breeze, not sure if the performance
scaling is there. NFS works, I guess. Windows comes with a client for
it. Authentication? Again, no problem.

I don't mean to be a snob, but this is basic stuff. I'm guessing you're
requirements are more esoteric so please try to be more specific about

> sure, but why?  windows is generally inferior as an OS platform,
> so I would stay away unless you actually require your apps to run
> under windows.  (remember that linux can use windows storage and
> authentication just fine.)

If you look back in the archives of this ML, you'll find a thread from
when Microsoft released their compute cluster product. It covers quite
effectively the positives and negatives of Windows in HPC. Start with
this posting by Jon Forrest.

Do you have an application which can only be run on Windows?

>> Or even better the nodes without a defined SO.
> SO=Significant Other?  oh, maybe "OS".  generally, you want to minimize
> the number of things that can go wrong in your system.  using uniform OS
> on nodes/servers is a good start.  but sure, there's no reason you can't
> run a cluster where every node is a different OS.  they simply need to
> agree on the network protocol (which doesn't have to be MPI - in fact,
> using something more SOA-like might help if the nodes are heterogenous)

Having as much homogeneity in your cluster as possible will help you
administer it increasingly as a single resource. As Mark said, it's
easier to debug a single set of problems. It's also easier in terms of
infrastructure to maintain a minimal set of images for your clients.

Perhaps you meant something different?

Geoffrey D. Jacobs

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