[Beowulf] General cluster management tools - Re: Southampton engineers a Raspberry Pi Supercomputer

Prentice Bisbal prentice.bisbal at rutgers.edu
Thu Sep 13 07:36:08 PDT 2012

On 09/13/2012 10:20 AM, holway at th.physik.uni-frankfurt.de wrote:
>> I've found point-and-click works until you want to change something to
>> suit your environment. Then you have to start customizing things, and
>> that can get messy.
> There is actually a quite powerful shell also. I dont actually use the gui
> that much apart from as a quick reference.
> Rather then the point and click aspect the main problem for me is that its
> proprietary software. It would be expensive for me to get them to make
> significant changes. Although as I am just a glorified cable monkey I cant
> code anyway. :)

This reminds me of another point I should have brought up in my previous 
post about people and politics: The myth that commercial software has 
better support. It seems managers always want to buy commercial software 
it's supposed to have better support.

 From my experience that is a complete myth. When I was using SGE and 
Open MPI for my previous cluster, I could send an e-mail to the mailing 
lists for those packages, and usually get a resolution in a couple of  
days at most. Often, I'd get a useful response with hours, sometimes 
minutes. And even more impressive, the resolution would normally come 
from one of the developers who's "volunteering" his time. Sometimes, my 
requests/bug reports would lead to updated code I could download and 
test within a couple of days.

I could mention many other open-source packages I had similar 
experiences with, but they're not cluster related.

With commercial vendors, I've found resolutions typically take weeks or 
months. One case took 18 months. I have one issue open with a vendor now 
thats about 6 weeks old, and no root-cause resolution in site, just a 
bunch of workarounds.

Just for the record, I'm NOT an open-source zealot. I just like to get 
my job done and go home at a reasonable hour.


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