[Beowulf] best linux distribution

Gerry Creager gerry.creager at tamu.edu
Mon Oct 8 11:16:37 PDT 2007

Mike Davis wrote:
> Robert G. Brown wrote:
>> On Mon, 8 Oct 2007, Mike Davis wrote:
>>> My experience is similar to Bill's. We've been using CentOs 3,4 for 
>>> the past few years on our larger clusters. It is a good choice for 
>>> stability, good performance, and since it is RH for SW compatability.
>> The only thing I'd comment on that is negative about it is one of its
>> "advantages".  There is a narrow line between stability and stagnation,
>> and you have to figure out which side of that line your cluster will
>> fall on.  Specifically, the fact that Centos/RHEL is frozen for two year
>> intervals has two disadvantages for some people:
> I don't see this as a problem in a production cluster. The fact is that 
> I've been doing this stuff for a little over two decades and I can build 
> anything that I need for an application. For me a manual library build 
> for CentOs 3 is easier than trying to find support for FC4 or 
> reinstalling FC 1x per year. My CentOs 3 nodes have had less than 2hours 
> downtime in 2 years and that was due to a Power Upgrade at their 
> location, that required a complete shutdown of all machines on the floor.
> Now I should say, that I don't use diskless nodes, each node has its own 
> OS disk and most have a separate /tmp disk for scratch use. That is one 
> reason that we differ on OS, I believe.

Guess I've only been doing this for about 14 years.  Thanks! I feel 
younger already.

I prefer a disk on each node, with a backup OS and /tmp.  We PXEboot all 
our nodes, and we update the node OS when we update the PXE stuff, too. 
  I've had episodes where we lost a node and were able to salvage some 
degree of a run, so I think it's justified.  It can make restarts of MM5 
a little interesting, however.

I prefer to not bring down the clusters for a rather random OS upgrade, 
so we, too, tend to run older stuff.  Unlike RGB, my codes are pretty 
happy with the older libraries.  I guess I'm lucky.

Still, when we do up grade, I'll be putting Fedora on both clusters.  As 
RGB states, so much of the "extra" stuff is already integrated that my 
workload to compile by hand is reduced.

Gerry Creager -- gerry.creager at tamu.edu
Texas Mesonet -- AATLT, Texas A&M University
Cell: 979.229.5301 Office: 979.862.3982 FAX: 979.862.3983
Office: 1700 Research Parkway Ste 160, TAMU, College Station, TX 77843

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