[Beowulf] Mixing 32-bit compute nodes with 64-bit head nodes

Andrew D. Fant fant at pobox.com
Wed May 10 14:43:28 PDT 2006

I know that the common wisdom on this subject is "don't do that", but for
various reasons, I have to look at the possibility of putting a 64-bit system
(probably EMT as opposed to Opteron) as the user node of our cluster, I have a
separate management node that handles the batch scheduler, license management
and compute node imaging, and related duties, which would remain a 32-bit Xeon,
so that isn't going to directly factor into the decision.  This is motivated by
a desire to allow users to run interactive jobs on the user node instead of
playing games with wrapper scripts to run them on compute nodes.  My personal
preference would be to have a separate system that can remotely submit to the
existing cluster via the batch queues, but there is a desire by management to
limit the number of different systems that a user needs to know about logging
into.  The 64-bit motivation is mostly about providing adequate memory for
multiple users running gui applications.

Has anyone had any success with this approach, or failing that, any horror
stories that would support the more flexible approach of separating the shell
server from the head node?


Andrew Fant    | And when the night is cloudy    | This space to let
Molecular Geek | There is still a light          |----------------------
fant at pobox.com | That shines on me               | Disclaimer:  I don't
Boston, MA     | Shine until tomorrow, Let it be | even speak for myself

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