[Beowulf] First cluster in 20 years - questions about today

Joe Landman joe.landman at gmail.com
Mon Feb 3 10:08:47 PST 2020

On 2/1/20 10:21 PM, Mark Kosmowski wrote:
> Should I consider Solaris or illumos?


I've tried to use modern tooling on Illumos (OpenSolaris fork) in the 
form of SmartOS, and it just isn't supported in most build 
environments.  Solaris is dead.  The level of effort to build basic 
tools is herculean.  There are some packages in various package 
managers, but as noted, you will find almost no community support for 
these, and updates, if any, will be spotty at best.

The *BSDs have similar issues, albeit with a slightly larger user base 
than Illumos/SmartOS.  Porting to them has been (for me anyway) a 
maddening affair.

These systems are highly opinionated, and their opinions don't align 
with current software tooling.  Which means you spend significant 
amounts of time chasing idiosyncrasies versus getting real work done.

It definitely is heart breaking, but sometimes you have to let some 
platforms go.

> I do plan on using ZFS, especially for the data node, but I want as 
> much redundancy as I can get, since I'm going to be using used 
> hardware.  Will the fancy Solaris cluster tools be useful?

No.  Remember that ZFS doesn't like to share RAM, so you'd have to work 
fairly hard to contain its caching effort.  It can be done on Linux, but 
generally, you want to be careful with system architecture if you are 
going to combine storage/compute and leverage ZFS.

> Also, once I get running, while I'm getting current with theory and 
> software may I inquire here about taking on a small, low priority 
> academic project to make sure the cluster side is working good?
> Thank you all for still being here!
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Joe Landman
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