[Beowulf] Differenz between a Grid and a Cluster???

Robert G. Brown rgb at phy.duke.edu
Mon Sep 19 14:41:48 EDT 2005


Sebastian writes:

> Hello,
> 
> i really need your help to this question. What is the differenz between a
> Grid (or Grid Computing) and a Cluster?

A Grid is a specific kind of a cluster, one (usually) designed to run
embarrassingly parallel applications for a very widely scattered user
base.  It is often implemented as a "cluster of clusters" where several
organizations join disparate cluster resources into a commonly usable
grid.  A lot of grids are accessed and managed by web-based tools with
authentication schema and shared storage (or not) to match.

A Cluster is a generic term for a collection of computers simultaneously
used to solve a given task.  There are many, many kinds of clusters.
One important toplevel distinguisher is High Availability cluster vs
High Performance Computing cluster (HA vs HPC).  HA clusters are e.g.
server farms of various sorts used to provide very reliable access to
network based resources.  HPC clusters are used to do numerical
computations.  The beowulf list is an HPC list (one of the oldest and
largest surviving HPC lists, outside of the lists associated with e.g.
PVM and MPI development, that I know of).

HPC clusters further split into "beowulf clusters" (generally single
headed, network-isolated, dedicated-function compute clusters) and
various other less isolated and pure variants -- nodes on a flat network
mixed with workstations, nodes behind multiple heads, nodes that can run
multiple tasks at the same time, nodes that ARE workstations (NOW, COW)
-- and at the far end of this spectrum is the Grid, as most most grids
work on HPC type applications.

  HTH,

    rgb
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