[Beowulf] Using beowulf to unify or consolidate storage

Lux, Jim (337C) james.p.lux at jpl.nasa.gov
Fri May 14 12:05:59 PDT 2010

From: beowulf-bounces at beowulf.org [mailto:beowulf-bounces at beowulf.org] On Behalf Of Didier Caamano
Sent: Wednesday, May 05, 2010 11:44 AM
To: beowulf at beowulf.org
Subject: [Beowulf] Using beowulf to unify or consolidate storage

Hello to everyone,  

I apologize if this email is out of place, but I have the following personal project and I have been searching over the internet to try to find the best possible solution.  We are not a big company and I am trying to implement some sort of SAN or NAS to consolidate my storage.  I've been reading through Beowulf Book, I have to admit I am just in the first pages, but before I continue on reading I wanted to ask the question so not to waste my time reading in case it is not possible.

I have a whole bunch of PCs that are not longer in use and are just collecting dust, I'm trying to (in case it is possible) to somehow put them all to work as a single unit and use their hard drives or add more hard drives, to create a Storage Area Network.  Is it possible, using Beowulf to achieve this goal.  Are there any recommendations as to where to start with this?  I am eager to learn new things, I have experience using BSD and GNU/Linux, I just want to know which direction to go in order to achieve my goal.

Thanks and have a good day.

Didier Caamano


A fine question.  Setting up a cluster using old computers is a fine way to get experience, but for an operational system newer hardware is more reliable, cheaper in operating costs, and reduced hassle.  Imagine using arrays of a 100 old 2GB hard disks instead of a 160GB disk. 

Not only is the single disk probably faster, it's not at the end of its life, and consumes less power.

Now, if you have a lot of parallelism, so you can take advantage of many disks in parallel, then splitting things up is viable.  You need to look at YOUR particular needs.  But even there, the hassles of working with old equipment often outweigh it, except if your time is free (e.g. you're fooling with it to learn about how to do it)

As for whether a Beowulf is good as a SAN.. probably not the optimum scheme. 

More information about the Beowulf mailing list