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ZDNet UK: Linux great and small

“However, next year’s IBM revenues will come from Linux servers
and supercomputers, not from gadgets sold in commodity quantities.
And the major advance for business users might come from Linux
clusters, the cheapest and most impressive of which are
Beowulfs.”

“All you need are a few Linux-compatible PCs, a fast Ethernet
switch, and the Beowulf software. The software comprises a set of
patches and add-ons that work with most Linux distributions, and
these you can download from the Web address below, along with bags
of info for you or your techies — we’re not talking plug-and-play
here. There’s more at the second Web address, including details of
a Beowulf cluster of ten 600MHz PIIIs with 100Mbit/s Ethernet
adapters — total cost $4150. OK, it’s ugly and messy. But it
works.”

Setups like Beowulf are designed because universities need
lots of computing but don’t have lots of money to spend.
The
applications for Beowulf tend towards number crunching. Beowulf
works best for problems that can be divided into small pieces for
individual and parallel processing, things like weather forecasts
and modelling.”


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