[Beowulf] cluster os

Tim Cutts tjrc at sanger.ac.uk
Thu May 19 14:19:57 PDT 2016

On 19/05/2016, 20:51, "Beowulf on behalf of Andrew M.A. Cater" <beowulf-bounces at beowulf.org on behalf of amacater at galactic.demon.co.uk> wrote:

>On Thu, May 19, 2016 at 06:20:37AM +0200, Jonathan Aquilina wrote:
>> 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?
>I have argued for Debian in the past, but this has pretty much been a Red Hat / Red Hat derived
>field for many years ever since Extreme Linux.
>A lot of server manufacturers use Red Hat / CentOS as a very stable base and build extra drivers 
>for their hardware accordingly.
>"Proper" HPC as much as Beowulf "done on the cheap" tends to use Red Hat and CentOS throughout.
>Having said all of the above, the Sanger Institute, among others, use Debian and derivatives.

Actually, we've just bought a site licence for Red Hat, although we haven't switched the clusters yet - they're still on Ubuntu for now.

The reason we used Debian-derived distros was simply what we were familiar with at the time; we had three Debian developers on the staff.  That's a less significant factor than it used to be.

I've always found it curious that many vendors officially only support Red Hat and friends, but when you ask the engineers, you find they're using Debian to do the development work.  I guess that's just commercial reality though.

On x86 I don't think it really matters very much which distro you use.  I do agree though that Debian still seems to be king when you head to other architectures.  It's always been a strong suit.  At various times, I've run Debian on x86, Sparc, MIPS, alpha, Itanium and ARM.  It's almost disappointing; once you get it on the system, the experience is exactly the same...


More information about the Beowulf mailing list