gentoo cluster

Andrew Fant fant at
Thu Jul 10 10:25:59 EDT 2003

I am in the closing stages of a project to build a 64 CPU Xeon cluster
that is using gentoo as it's base os.  For installation and the like, I am
using Systemimager.  It's not perfect, but it has the decided advantage of
not depending on any particular packaging system to handle the installs.

You will probably want a http proxy on a head node to simplify the
installation process.  I just did a manual install of the O/S on the head
nodes and on one of the compute nodes, and cloned from there, though if
you want further automation, there is a gentoo installer project on
sourceforge, iirc, or you can script most of it in sh, of course.

Are you planning to run commercial apps on this cluster, or will it be
primarily user developed code?  I have found that most commercial apps can
be coerced into running under gentoo, but modifying their installed
scripts may be something of a PITA, and you almost certainly will get to
be good friends with rpm2targz.

One last caveat.  Depending on how "production" you are going to make this
cluster, you may need to be a little less agressive about updating ebuilds
and which versions of packages you install.  A good regression test suite
is good to have if you have layered software to install which isn't part
of an ebuild to start.

I'd be glad to talk to anyone else who has an interest in gentoo-based
beowulfish clusters.  In spite of the extra engineering work, I am pleased
with the results.


Andrew Fant      |   This    |  "If I could walk THAT way...
Molecular Geek   |   Space   |     I wouldn't need the talcum powder!"
fant at   |    For    |          G. Marx (apropos of Aerosmith)
Boston, MA USA   |   Hire    |

On Wed, 9 Jul 2003, P. Aaron Lott wrote:

> Our group is interested in building a beowulf cluster using gentoo
> linux as the OS. Has anyone on the list had experience with this or
> know anyone who has experience with this? We're trying to figure out
> the best way to spawn nodes once we have configured one machine
> properly. Any suggestions such as pseudo kickstart methods would be
> greatly appreciated.

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