[Beowulf] Beowulf communication type of nodes

Lux, Jim (337C) james.p.lux at jpl.nasa.gov
Mon Feb 24 09:34:25 PST 2014

Jim Lux

-----Original Message-----
From: Beowulf [mailto:beowulf-bounces at beowulf.org] On Behalf Of Joe Landman
Sent: Monday, February 24, 2014 8:36 AM
To: beowulf at beowulf.org
Subject: Re: [Beowulf] Beowulf communication type of nodes

On 02/24/2014 11:03 AM, Nathan Pimental wrote:
> Could one consider a cluster a beowulf if the nodes obtained their 
> instructions from a hard drive, in a specific location? Or would this 
> be another type of cluster? I have a shared drive, and the master node 
> doles out DLL Libraries (Yes, it's neccisary the system be on windows
> XP) to the slave nodes, which execute functions in the DLLs. The 
> results are returned as files.

Windows XP?  Wow ...

Ok, if you could use Wine to run this, you might get more (or less) stability and performance if Linux were a consideration.  As XP isn't supported anymore, I am not sure how well things would work with it.

>> while XP isn't officially supported, using it in a cluster is one of those areas where the lack of support is less of an issue.  The usual concern is that XP won't be receiving security patches.  In a cluster, the nodes are usually isolated from the big open Internet by other means, so whether there's some sort of security hole is less of an issue. 
>> I would expect XP to be around for a long, long time.  It's already 13-15 years old, and there's an amazing amount of infrastructure out there that has XP in it, in some way.   By this time, most of its warts and foibles are well known, so it's a pretty stable platform.  Sure, there's problems inherent in it, but there's idiosyncracies for any platform.

Also Microsoft licensing sort of frowns upon using the cheaper versions of their products when you could be paying for the higher cost server licenses.  See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Client_access_license .  If you don't have that issue solved, running things via Wine starts looking very attractive.

>> yeah, but that's not a Beowulf issue, is it?  

As for the terminology, I don't think many people care so much about which OS something is running on, its the concept of leveraging "non-traditional" computing resources in such a way as to effect a positive outcome that, IMO, defines "beowulfery".  If you can do it without changing your systems around, and they are all running windows, go for it.  Nothing wrong (IMO) in calling that a "beowulf" though it would be, certainly, a less than traditional instantiation of one ...

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