[Beowulf] best linux distribution

Mark Hahn hahn at mcmaster.ca
Mon Oct 8 08:21:07 PDT 2007

> with 8 nodes (8xCPUs, Intel 6600 Quadcore 8MB, 8GB RAM )and
> a Dell-Server as the master node (2xCPU Xeon Quad Core 1.6GHz, 4TB Hard, 18GB
> RAM).
> Which linux distribution would be ideal for our case?

the distribution has nothing to do with your hardware.
just choose a distro that you are comfortable with - 
there cannot possibly be any general answer, since all extremes 
of personal/professional preference are represented.

personally, I choose RH-ish distros (centos, fedora) mainly because
they are fairly conventional in structure as visible to the admin.
for instance, no gratuitous reinvention of sysvinit, widely used 
package format, etc.

IMO, your master node is over-powered both cpu and memory-wise.
if you have a single master node in a cluster, it performs three main duties:
 	- fileserver.  this requires practically no cpu or memory, just disks
 	and net.  if you have a cachable read-heavy workload, then more
 	memory on a fileserver may not be wasted.
 	- cluster management, such as syslogs, scheduler, etc.  very low
 	cpu or memory load here.
 	- logins.  this might be the place people run the compiler, etc.
 	but unless they're doing heavy visualization, only a small fraction
 	of a cpu per user is necessary, and not much memory.

rather than spending a lot of money on a highly configured master node,
I'd probably split admin/fileservice to a box "uncontaminated" by users.

regards, mark hahn.

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