Request for Cluster Recommendations

Michael McDonald m.mcdonald at
Sat Apr 3 17:52:21 PST 2004

I'm planning a small, experimental cluster
running FreeBSD 5.  Currently running
5.2 on a dual XEON box which I intend
to use as my workstation/head node.

I'm looking at gigabit ethernet for the
interconnect and a backup 10/100 ethernet
for "overhead" print server, internet traffic
etc. as hubs are priced way cheap and NICs
are standard equipment with most cpu boxes.
The budget is about $5K for the "starter kit"
to include 4 nodes, switch, cabling and ups.
Could be stretched to $10K, but it's a big

I'm looking for recommendations at any level:
     managed/unmanaged switch?
     specific brands/models?
     diskless nodes?
     network attached storage
     processor speed vs. memory capacity vs.
          comm. speed
     job submission/control
     node autoconfiguration
     light, efficient comm. protocols
     lam vs. mpich (currently using lam)
literature citations/simulation reports

Anyone know of a FreeBSD version of
the 9grid project? ( )

The project is beginning as coursework
towards a master's degree. Hope to have it
at a production level soon.

Apologies to the smp list for not exacly
being exactly on topic, but I hope you can
weigh in on MPI related issues.

Mike McDonald

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