makings of a junk yard cluster ??

Andrew P. infofarmer at
Tue Nov 15 15:46:03 GMT 2005

On 11/15/05, Arden <arden at> wrote:
> Hi Folk
> like most people involved in IT you tend to build you a "junk yard" of
> redundant machines
> Ive just been through mine and found could at a push make 5 x86 PCs
> 2x amd 400mhz
> 2x via 700mhz
> 1x amd duron 1200
> also have lots of spare nic cards
> Ive never looked at clusters before and this is just for fun (must have
> way to much time on my hands) :)
> So I need to know would it be possible to build a cluster from these ?
> I'm not sure if the nodes need to be matched in any way ?
> dose anyone know where to find an idiots to setting one up ?
> also what would the equivelent power be i.e would i just be making a
> 1gig space heater ?

It's hard to tell for sure, but one AMD 3000+ should
eat them all for lunch. So there's no practical interest
in it. But you can learn much from using all these
machines together.

First, do you need a real-deal cluster with MPI and
other industrial protocols? If I were you, I'd call these
machines a farm, and would first try some fail-over
mechanisms (routing, http, dns, ipsec). We usually
get to test fail-over using virtual pc's. Real boxes
are somewhat harder to manage, but they are real,
and the experience you get is a real hands-on

Then, some distributed jobs would be fun. I use
distcc to compile many large pieces of software.
Try it. Then you can try running something like
dnetc or boinc and compare the results your
farm produce to those your desktop shows.

If you have a lot of NIC's, populate the boxes with
all of them. Install FreeBSD everywhere and you
can emulate _very_ complicated environments with
vlans, trunks, OSPF, BGP and what not. Then go
and get your CCIE.


Take care!

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