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Stephen Adler -- From Word Processors to Super Computers

May 23, 1999, 19:49 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Stephen Adler)

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"Donald Becker Speaks about Beowulf at NYLUG."

"... a Beowulf system... is a cluster of many, off-the-shelf PC's, running Linux, and tied together through a high speed, low latency networking infrastructure."

"... being an open source project was crucial in making it as reliable as it is."

"Usually one of the nodes is set aside and dedicated to managing the rest of the nodes in the cluster. It's the job distributor."

"Most of his systems had been up for over a 100 days. I believe some of the Beowulf clusters had been up for over 200 days. What is important is not that a single machine has been up that long, but that large numbers of machines have been up and running for that amount of time."

"If there is a bug found, then one can fix it by modifying a few lines of code. That one module or program gets recompiled and your off and running again, with a minimum amount of administrative work. If one works with closed source systems, it is often the case that when a similar small bug is found and fixed, a whole cascade of software upgrades result. This is due to the fact that the bug fix will come in the form of a new software release. This release then upgrades your shared libraries. The shared library upgrades then force you to upgrade all your applications and on and on. After which you are then forced into revalidating your whole cluster for production use."

Complete story.