[Beowulf] portable clusters
fant at pobox.com
Mon Nov 28 15:09:16 EST 2005
Jim Lux wrote:
> But basically, yes, the idea is to minimize the number of boxes.. One,
> the Windows laptop which talks to the hardware and feeds the cluster to
> do the data analysis, the other, the cluster box (we're not talking
> hundreds of nodes here.. probably more like 8-20) The cluster box is
> envisioned to have two wires: power and network, and is generically, the
> size of a big breadbox or a suitcase(i.e. it would fit in the trunk of a
> car or could be checked as luggage...)
> Ideally, the cluster has NO permanent storage within it (i.e. if you
> turn off the power, all inside is forgotten). Removable media could
> potentially solve the problem, but then you've added a third thing to
> carry around and potentially lose, as well as adding a connector that
> has to be dealt with. Having it totally diskless helps with some
> environmental requirements (you can drop it, shock it, or vibe it, and
> it's easier to deal with the dust ingress problem)...
> The goal here is to have a credible concept to improve the "system"
> performance by adding on a computatational element to an existing
> portable system that is Windows based without requiring any hardware
> changes to the windows system, or without requiring significant software
> mods to the windows system (i.e. running some new program is ok, running
> a windows emulator is not).
I can't speak to how viable the use of windows as a head node is, but I
do know that LANL had a paper in the last couple of Linux Journals about
building just such a beast, housed in a plastic toolbox. They had
one of their prototypes on display at SC2005. They use a thinkpad as
the head node on their systems. You might want to check with them for
more engineering details.
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