Beowulf & VMWare

Robert G. Brown rgb at
Wed Oct 30 20:25:25 EST 2002

On Wed, 30 Oct 2002, Donald Becker wrote:

> Hmmm, what new feature does Grub have over LILO for this? 

The one that is the most important is that grub doesn't require the lilo
command to be run on the root partition after a change in lilo.conf,
which can be a catch 22 when going back from win to lin in an automated
way.  grub is also quite tolerant about boot geometry, and has a very
cool interactive interface -- really a lot better and more advanced than
lilo, I think.

> This also addresses a different problem.  Rebooting the machine to
> switch applications is time consuming and unreliable, and it doesn't
> allow dynamic load balancing or consistent control.

I agree with this.  But it is cheaper than vmware (at roughly $100/node
and need to match with kernel), and for a very coarse grained scenario
(cluster node at night, windows desktop by day, regular schedule) it can
be a considerably cheaper and adequate solution.

vmware is a lot more sophisticated solution, of course, and very good if
you need to switch between OS's in real time.  We use it here to
simplify administration of NT hosts in the offices, since it is actually
easier (marginally) to run/administer NT under vmware on linux than NT
native, and gives us that ability to switch back to linux when weaning
staff from WinXX.;-)


Robert G. Brown	             
Duke University Dept. of Physics, Box 90305
Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
Phone: 1-919-660-2567  Fax: 919-660-2525     email:rgb at

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