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f1gm3nt 11-20-2005 05:50 PM

Cluster Questions
 
I've been reading about clusters and would like to know what they can and can't do. Do they share resources for everything? Why would I need a cluster? Are there any cons to using a cluster(besides things like power, room it takes up, cost, etc)?

-Joshua

mijohnst 11-20-2005 06:58 PM

A cluster is a bunch of Linux computers that are able to pass information around. You can use threading applications, such as MPI to break up a job into smaller parts for your client nodes to run. Supposedly it will increase your process speed exponentially, but that's really not true if you count in the over head. It also depends on the job size as well.

If you're interested in building a test cluster I suggest that you go to OSCAR and download their Open Source software. They have an extremely easy package that will get you up and running fast. It also comes with torque, MPI, C3 and a bunch of other tools that you'd find very useful. Those guys did a great job…

http://oscar.openclustergroup.org/

What can't a cluster do? ... Hum, I guess it can't be learned how to use in one day... ;)

btmiller 11-20-2005 09:36 PM

There are different types of clusters. Some are used for high availability (automatic failover) for critical systems. Others are used for high performance computing. Note that programs must be specially designed and written to work in parallel, using MPI or some other communications library. Getting an application properly parallelized can be difficult depending on how much communications overhead there is and other factors.


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