[Beowulf] noob understanding

Jim Lux James.P.Lux at jpl.nasa.gov
Sat May 20 07:01:36 PDT 2006

At 12:28 PM 5/19/2006, Mark Hahn wrote:
> > 1. Is my understanding that you can process windows processes on a linux
> > cluster correct?
>as others have said, sort-of/not-really/does-not-compute.
>Linux is an OS; windows is another, largely incompatible OS.
>Linux can, in some cases, emulate windows (wine, dosemu),
>but this emulation is not universal or rock-solid because
>when the application makes a Windows OS call, the wine software
>has to figure out a way to accomplish it using Linux OS calls.
>since Windows is neither Open-Source nor well-documented,
>there are lots of obscure behaviors which don't work right
>(where "right" means "as Windows does it").
>I would start by trying to get your windows app to run as desired
>as a single process inside wine/vmware/etc on a linux workstation.
>doing a cluster of those with a scheduler is pretty easy.

If one has a variety of Windows applications that you want to run on a 
cluster, there's no particular reason why you'd have to go to the trouble 
of creating the windows environment under linux. One could, of course, also 
run a cluster using Windows as the OS on all the nodes.  There are versions 
of various software interconnect layers (MPI, sockets) that run on Windows. 
Heck, there's a whole clustering version of Windows, with its own 
peculiarities, etc. For instance, I don't know if the Windows Clustering 
software has all the .NET 2.0 stuff worked in, and you'd really want to be 
working in the 2.0 software tools.

Sure, the raw performance of the windows cluster will probably be less than 
the same hardware running linux, but if you've got a shop full of windows 
programmers, then you're all set.

James Lux, P.E.
Spacecraft Radio Frequency Subsystems Group
Flight Communications Systems Section
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Mail Stop 161-213
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena CA 91109
tel: (818)354-2075
fax: (818)393-6875

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