Clustering options

Alex Pavlovic alex at
Tue Nov 23 21:14:32 GMT 2004

On November 22, 2004 05:20 pm, Justin Hopper wrote:
> Is there no appliance that allows for the details of the hardware to be
> hidden from the OS and instead present to the OS a unified architecture,
> like it's just one machine, but with the ability to add more nodes to
> expand CPU, RAM, and disk?  I guess this was my misunderstanding, as
> this is what I assumed the blade systems did.  I assume it would be
> incredibly tricky to manage dynamically configurable hardware in the
> operating system, but I also assumed that somebody had pulled it off,
> but maybe not?

There is. It's called SSI or single system image. Basically it provides you 
with single root, init and process space. Currently I know of two open
source products that implement this ( OpenSSI and openMosix ). Unfortantely
they are both targeted toward linux. openMosix seems to be geared toward
computational aspects ( HPC ), while OpenSSI project is trying to unify 
various cluster factions and provide a "one size fits all" solution.

There are some other papers on FreeBSD clusters that people have designed,
my favourite is the one on a very nice general computing cluster published by 
Brooks Davis ( Aerospace Corporation ), look here:
There is also some information on the grid computing available here:

Just something on the side, Manex Visual Effects actually used a 32 node
FreeBSD cluster as the core rendering farm to make some of the special effects 
for the "Matrix" movie. You can read the story if you haven't already here:


Alex Pavlovic

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