cluster packages/distributions roundup

Andrew Shewmaker shewa at
Fri Mar 15 17:32:54 EST 2002


I have decided to review some of the Linux cluster/ssi software that has 
been produced, and I
would like feedback on my initial list of candidates as well as the 
judging criteria.  In the case
of commercial distributions, I plan on evaluating the basic or trial 
versions.  Also, I welcome
anybody who wants to help me evaluate any of these.

Background info:  I am a computer scientist (BA) at the INEEL.  I have 
built and administered a
couple of medium size clusters between school and work, using both Scyld 
and Mandrake Linux.

Suggested candidate list is (in no particular order):



ROCK Linux

Although the current version of ROCK includes the MPP projects's 
software, I will
probably wait until version 1.7 is released in a couple months.


A significant collaboration including SGI, Intel, Dell, MSC.Linux, NCSA, 
IBM, and others.
Makes use of the System Installation Suite (, 
which grew out of
VA's SystemImager and IBM's LUI projects.

Alinka Raisin




ClumpOS - a mini Linux/Mosix distribution

It isn't a full distribution since it is dependent on a head node 
having Mosix (soon
OpenMosix) already installed, but it looks like a great solution for 
slave nodes.


A Bproc based distribution produced by Los Alamos National Laboratory. 
That group
is doing some very interesting work in many areas including LinuxBIOS, a 
language with checkpointing built into the compiler, and fault tolerant MPI. 


Warewulf is brand new, and it is mostly a slave node builder right now.

NPACI Rocks Cluster Software

Scalable Cluster Environment

Developed by Kasetsart University in Thailand.  A very complete looking 


The PC Cluster Consortium develops SCore and the Omni OpenMP compiler. 
They say that
their OpenMP compiler can actually compile programs to run on a cluster 
(over ethernet)
with a software distributed shared memory system called SCASH.

Single System Image Cluster for Linux

This project was started by Compaq and it inherited some of their 
Unixware code, but it also borrows
from Mosix.  It isn't ready yet, but it looks like they have virtual 
clusters up and running with
User Mode Linux.


Turbolinux with Enfuzion

Suggested evaluation criteria:

 +hardware support
  -interconnects (I can only test fast ethernet currently)
  -heterogenous nodes

  -load balancing
 +system accounting

  -scalapack, blas, etc. (atlas)
  -peformance counters
  -interval arithmetic

*End User
 +LSB compliance
  -basic tools
  -batch system/grid access

 +commercial support
 +community support
 +license/cost of code
 +fault tolerance
 +type of SSI

I will also be taking into account the guidelines created by the NACSE** .

Thank you for any feedback/help.

Andrew Shewmaker

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