[CentOS] Cluster server options?

James A. Peltier jpeltier at fas.sfu.ca
Sun Nov 8 02:46:32 UTC 2009

On Sat, 7 Nov 2009, Scott Ehrlich wrote:

> I have a 10 blade cluster of just hardware - I can install what I
> want, how I want.   What options are there if I wanted to build the 10
> blades as one large beast, but _NOT_ necessarily for someone doing
> grid-type work?    Some users don't now how to program that way, but
> they'd like to have their program run on something that acts like a
> single processor, but a massive single processor with lots of memory.
>  Some code is designed for a single, powerful workstation.  I'd like
> this cluster to act as one powerful workstation.

I have had okay experiences with ScaleMPs vSMP software.  Depending on 
workload it may or may not be good for your needs but it does work, 
however, you'll also need to ensure that the nodes are connected via a 
high speed interconnect like Infiniband.  The vSMP system is based around 
a COMA architecture.  As such some memory is reserved for caching to hide 
the latencies.  We had issues with job affinities.  Jobs would migrate 
from CPU to CPU frequently leading to rather poor performance.  All of 
these findings were reported to them as we were an early adoptor.

While this can for for some of your jobs, I would advise that if you are 
looking to the long term, consider taking advantage of MPI, OpenMP or 
concurrent languages like Erlang.  You'll be happier for it.

James A. Peltier
Systems Analyst (FASNet), VIVARIUM Technical Director
HPC Coordinator
Simon Fraser University - Burnaby Campus
Phone   : 778-782-6573
Fax     : 778-782-3045
E-Mail  : jpeltier at sfu.ca
Website : http://www.fas.sfu.ca | http://vivarium.cs.sfu.ca
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