[Beowulf] Gentoo in the HPC environment

Jonathan Aquilina jaquilina at eagleeyet.net
Sat Jun 28 06:53:59 PDT 2014

I am going to take this thread down another possible road that nobody has

What about an HPC cluster in a data center, enterprise, environment hell
even an ISP environment. Does the same still apply?

> Instead of letting this devolve into a distro battle (I have no dog in
> that race, but I know from long hard experience what to avoid), it makes
> more sense to look at the bigger picture.
> In the larger frame, a cluster is a mechanism to provide computing
> cycles.  The keepers of the cluster are service folks, in the sense that
> they are providing a shared resource with specific functionality, and
> providing a service to the internal (and sometimes external) consumers
> of the service.
> In this day and age of software defined everything, a cluster needs to
> be as flexible as possible, and provide the necessary level and type of
> service to be viable.  Not simply economically viable, but practical,
> and pragmatic.
> Which means cluster admins and service teams need to address many
> different environmental issues and requests.
> In academic circles, where there may be less of a push for commercial
> support on software, these requirements may be relaxed relative to other
> users.
> In commercial circles, where one might need to guarantee results (for
> any number of reasons, and yes, this happens), the environments are far
> more rigid.
> How can a provider of cycles provide service to a rigid set of
> requirements without being flexible?
> My argument is, fundamentally, that technologies like kvm, and Docker on
> Linux provide a simple mechanism for that functionality.  On Windows
> (very few windows clusters, but still) you can do this with HyperV.
> So the details of what runs at the base level on the cluster matter far
> less than the detailed requirements and the business needs for the
> application.  The latter should determine the former, and if the latter
> requires something different than the former supplies, kvm/Docker etc.
> can provide this.  So can bare metal stateless.
> Or conversely, you could simply provide exactly one type of computing,
> and watch your users go elsewhere, specifically to resources that will
> give them what they require.  Somehow that seems to be not-precisely
> what this crowd would want though.
> Its just a thought though.  Gentoo or not doesn't matter as much as
> *how* your users need to use it.  Thats the point of pain.  If the
> distro can't handle it, or isn't supported correctly, yes, you'll need
> to change.  If your cycle provider is rigid in what they will provide,
> its pretty easy to go to another cycle provider.
> This is what clusters in clouds have created.  This is why there are
> folks like Cycle Computing for cloud based clusters, and many good folks
> like Sabalcore with bare metal systems.  Application and business needs
> dictate platform choices.
> --
> Joseph Landman, Ph.D
> Founder and CEO
> Scalable Informatics, Inc.
> email: landman at scalableinformatics.com
> web  : http://scalableinformatics.com
> twtr : @scalableinfo
> phone: +1 734 786 8423 x121
> cell : +1 734 612 4615
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