[Beowulf] cluster os

Jörg Saßmannshausen j.sassmannshausen at ucl.ac.uk
Thu May 19 03:44:00 PDT 2016

Dear Jonathan,

here at UCL we are running a number of different distros as it looks like.

I am using Debian for my clusters now for the last 5 years or so without any 
problems. In fact, I have upgraded from Debain etch up to jessie, the latest, 
over the time and I never had any real issues. Of course I had to recompile 
the HPC code which is not part of the distribution but that is something you 
have to do anyway. The clusters are running stable without any issues 
regarding OS (i.e. not hardware failures).
The upgrade in Debian is working really well. You really can install a machine 
once and then you can upgrade it to the latest OS without much issues. You 
might need to do some minor tweaks when things are changing, like going from 
NFS3 to NFS4, but that is in the nature of the upgrade. 
This experience seems to be in stark difference from the OS upgrade on the 
central cluster (RedHat) where the cluster needed to be installed from 
scratch. At least that was my understanding. 

A source based one like Gentoo might be good for a desktop but with a Cluster 
you don't want to spent all the time in compiling the OS. You do want to spent 
time to make sure the HPC programs are running with the best efficiency you can 
get. Thus, I rather spent time into compiling a proper BLAS instead of 
spending time to optimise say gcc.

Thus, I would recommend a package based distribution and not a source based 
one and I would recommend Debian as the distro of choice here.

My two pennies from London. :-)


On Thursday 19 May 2016 09:08:22 remy. dernat wrote:
> Hi,
> If you need certified things like drivers or whatever (IB...), choose
> redhat-like. Otherwise, IMHO debian-like is a betteer choice.
> Gentoo could be use for development, or test purpose. I do not think it is
> really a good choice. Cheers.
> Envoyé depuis mon appareil Samsung
> -------- Message d'origine --------
> De : Jonathan Aquilina <jaquilina at eagleeyet.net>
> Date : 19/05/2016  06:20  (GMT+01:00)
> À : Beowulf Mailing List <beowulf at beowulf.org>
> Objet : [Beowulf] cluster os
> Good Morning,
> I am just wondering what distribution of choice would one use for their
> cluster? Would one go for a source based distro like gentoo or a
> precompiled one like Centos7? 

Dr. Jörg Saßmannshausen, MRSC
University College London
Department of Chemistry
20 Gordon Street

email: j.sassmannshausen at ucl.ac.uk
web: http://sassy.formativ.net

Please avoid sending me Word or PowerPoint attachments.
See http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/no-word-attachments.html
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