[Beowulf] how useful is bproc, and what does Scyld cost?

Keith Murphy kmurphy at dolphinics.com
Wed May 26 08:14:25 PDT 2004

I believe that Linux Labs www.linuxlabs.com has a bproc distro called

Good Luck

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Sean Dilda" <agrajag at dragaera.net>
To: "Andrew Piskorski" <atp at piskorski.com>
Cc: <beowulf at beowulf.org>
Sent: Tuesday, May 25, 2004 1:56 PM
Subject: Re: [Beowulf] how useful is bproc, and what does Scyld cost?

> There are some pros and cons to bproc (just like everything else).  My
> experience with bproc is limited to some older versions of Scyld.  I've
> never used clustermatic.
> In my opinion, if you are already used the tricks to simplify
> maintaining a decent sized number machines, then bproc hurts your more
> than it helps you.  However, if you're not used to using things like
> kickstart and yum to quickly add nodes and keep them up to date, then a
> bproc system can make your life much easier.
> There are definately some pitfalls to BProc.  As it was when I last used
> it (late 2002), BProc systems read the binary off the master node, then
> caused it to be run on the slave node (I'm simplifying things here)
> without copying the binary onto the slave node.  This means there's not
> really any filesystem you need to keep up on the slave node, which is a
> big plus.  On the down side, there's no file system on the slave node.
> This means that if there are any files your program wants to access,
> you're out of luck.  You have to know what they are beforehand and
> either copy them over, or have them exported by NFS.
> In your case, you're writing a custom app, so its possible that you can
> work around the BProc limitations without much trouble.  But then again,
> your problem may not allow that.  BProc's downfalls tend to manifest the
> most with 3rd party apps.
> As far as I know, Scyld and Clustermatic are the only distros with
> BProc.  At one point Progeny was talking about doing some stuff with
> BProc, but I don't know what ever came of that.
> Another thing to note is that clustermatic and scyld probably don't have
> the same version of bproc, beoboot, etc.  Some time back new versions of
> the software was coming out of Los Alamos, but Scyld was reluctant to
> use those newer versions, and tended to keep hacking on older versions.
> So Scyld may have some features clustermatic doesn't have, and vice
> versa.
> I don't think I can speak on how much Scyld costs.
> If you're more interesting in having a turn-key cluster solution, I have
> some friends who are happy with Rocks (http://www.rocksclusters.org/),
> which is free.  However, I don't know how well that'll work with the
> diskless setup you want.  As far as I know, Scyld/clustermatic are the
> only ones that'll have a diskless setup "just work".  If that's what's
> most important to you, then I say give them a try.  Otherwise, you may
> want to look around.
> Again I'll note, all my info is about a year and a half old.  Things may
> (or may not) have changed since then.
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