Request for Cluster Recommendations

Andreas Schweitzer andy at
Sun Apr 4 04:31:21 PDT 2004

On Sat, Apr 03, 2004 at 08:52:02PM -0500, Michael McDonald wrote:

First of all, it so depends what you want to do with
your cluster. It seems you want to perform calculations.
Do you have existing codes ? Ask yourself what they need.

> I'm looking for recommendations at any level:
> hardware:
>      managed/unmanaged switch?
>      specific brands/models?

You mentioned MPI further down. If you have lots
of communication, go for the fastets you can afford,
otherwise it wil be the bottleneck. If you have
lots of local calculations and an occasional network
acces, eveen 100Mbit works.

>      diskless nodes?
>      network attached storage
>      processor speed vs. memory capacity vs.
>           comm. speed

All depends on what you want to do with the cluster
If you use NAS, ask yourself how often it will
be accessed and how critical the access speed is.
Local storage is a big plus if the calculations
require static data which can be made available locally
or if the calculations require disk storage themselves.
And again, even gigabit network will be the bottleneck
with todays CPU/disk/memory speeds.

> software:
>      job submission/control

We use OpenPBS, but it's quite out of date and requires
a bit of hacking to make it run under FreeBSD 5.X.
Also Sun Grid Engine seems to work.

>      node autoconfiguration

I use clusterit (in the ports), but it's not
"auto" - just convenient configuration - especially
for a cluster with only a few nodes.

>      light, efficient comm. protocols
>      lam vs. mpich (currently using lam)

We use LAM. I would say : test both.

Andreas Schweitzer

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