[Beowulf] While the knives are out... Wulf Keepers
jmdavis1 at vcu.edu
Mon Aug 21 11:19:21 EDT 2006
Greg Lindahl wrote:
> On Thu, Aug 10, 2006 at 10:47:00AM +1000, SIM DOG wrote:
>>I recently visited a large educational institution (that shall remain
>>nameless) that hosts an excellent, world class, science research team.
>>They also have a reasonably large Beowulf environment (over 100 dual nodes).
>>Now maybe it was just the people I was talking too (management) but I
>>get the distinct impression that they treat their 'Wulf as an
>>'appliance'. It came as a great disappointment :/
> Why so?
> That cluster didn't cost that much compared to half a person, unless
> the person is a grad student. Which doesn't fit their reliability
> criterion ;-)
For the most part, I think that if a cluster is run correctly, it is an
appliance for the scientists. Their job is to produce research, mine is
to manage clusters and smp machines.
A problem that sometimes crops up is that these days, everyone thinks
that they can manage a cluster (or large smp for that matter), because
they have a linux box or maybe a 4-1p nodes at their house. Sometimes
its a real issue getting these people to understand that managing a
machine for 1 person and managing it for 5,50,500 are entirely different.
For example, on friday, one of our applications analysts wanted to
upgrade a piece of software on one of the clusters. He didn't know what
it would affect (libraries, other installed software, users already
using that software). After a bit of investigation it turned out that
the PI in question could use the version already installed (which is
about 6 months old).
I guess that I'm rather "old school" but upgrades have to be for a
reason other than there's a new version. Maybe they are needed for
features, or security, or stability. But IMO, they are seldom needed
because they are new.
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