[Beowulf] noob understanding

Joe Landman landman at scalableinformatics.com
Fri May 19 13:05:54 PDT 2006

phildlight at verizon.net wrote:
> I've searched many of the posts and I only have a few quick
> questions.
> Please excuse my ignorance.
> 1. Is my understanding that you can process windows processes on a
> linux cluster correct?

No.  You would need to use VMware or similar environment, and that would 
come at a huge performance penalty.  Xen/Wine/etc all cost cycles, and 
if performance is a problem you are trying to address now, you really 
don't want to do this.

> 2. Specifically, I'm interested in using a linux cluster (25 nodes)
>for rendering 

This should work ...

> 3d studio max by splitting single frames accross the

this won't.  3D studio max is a windows only product, and will not work 
with a linux cluster.  You would need to ask Autodesk to port it for 
you, and they aren't likely to do this.

>cluster. Example. We work with enormous output files, usually around
>5400x3600, and they render in about 15 hours on a dual xeon 3.4ghz w/
>2gb ram. Distributed rendering via windows works, but we're interested
>in growing the "farm" to many more nodes, hence the interest in a
>beowulf. Occasionally, we'll do some animations also, so it again would
>be enormously beneficial. I think I understand that this is possible,
>and am interested more specifically in the scripting method to dump the
>job into the cluster from windows.

You can always build a windows cluster.

> Additionally, we use vray (render engine plugin for max) for the
> final
> output.
> Am I correct in thinking that this is possible? Any direction at all
> would be great! Thanks.

It is possible in linux as long as you are using linux based rendering 
software.  Most of the large CGI houses are doing things like this.  I 
don't know many that are running windows.  You might want to check out 
what they do.

If you are forced to use 3D studio max, ask them for a linux version. 
They may say no. In which case you are stuck doing what you have been doing.



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Joseph Landman, Ph.D
Founder and CEO
Scalable Informatics LLC,
email: landman at scalableinformatics.com
web  : http://www.scalableinformatics.com
phone: +1 734 786 8423
fax  : +1 734 786 8452 or +1 866 888 3112
cell : +1 734 612 4615

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