[Beowulf] Which distro for the cluster?

Chris Samuel csamuel at vpac.org
Thu Dec 28 14:39:59 PST 2006


On Friday 29 December 2006 04:24, Robert G. Brown wrote:

> I'd be interested in comments to the contrary, but I suspect that Gentoo
> is pretty close to the worst possible choice for a cluster base. Maybe
> slackware is worse, I don't know.

But think of the speed you could emerge applications with a large cluster, 
distcc and ccache! :-)

Then add on the hours of fun trying to track down a problem that's unique to 
your cluster due to combinations of compiler quirks, library versions, kernel 
bugs and application odditites..

> I personally would suggest that you go with one of the mainstream,
> reasonably well supported, package based distributions.  Centos, FC, RH,
> SuSE, Debian/Ubuntu.

I'd have to agree there.

> I myself favor RH derived, rpm-based, 
> yum-supported distros that can be installed by PXE/DHCP, kickstart, yum
> from a repository server.  Installation of such a cluster on diskful
> systems proceeds as follows:

What I'd really like is for a kickstart compatible Debian/Ubuntu (but with 
mixed 64/32 bit support for AMD64 systems). I know the Ubuntu folks started 
on this [1], but I don't think they managed to get very far. 

The sad fact of the matter is that often it's the ISV's and cluster management 
tools that determine what choice of distro you have. :-(

Yes, I know all about LSB but there are a grand total of 0 applications 
certified for the current version (3.x) [2] and a grand total of 1 certified 
application (though on 3 platforms) [3] over the total life of the LSB 
standards. [4]

To paraphrase the Blues Brothers:

  ISV Vendor: Oh we got both kinds of Linux here, RHEL and SLES!

Bah humbug. :-)

Chris

[1] - https://help.ubuntu.com/community/KickstartCompatibility
[2] - http://www.freestandards.org/en/Products
[3] - Lymeware's IAgent3 Interactive Agent Gateway 3.1.1
[4] - http://www.freestandards.org/cert/certified.php

-- 
 Christopher Samuel - (03)9925 4751 - VPAC Deputy Systems Manager
 Victorian Partnership for Advanced Computing http://www.vpac.org/
 Bldg 91, 110 Victoria Street, Carlton South, VIC 3053, Australia

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