Fwd: Cluster Poll Results (tangent into OS choices)

Joe Landman landman at scalableinformatics.com
Mon Nov 3 23:58:16 EST 2003

Glen Otero wrote:

> Begin forwarded message:
>> On Monday, November 3, 2003, at 03:51  PM, Mike Snitzer wrote:
>>> On Fri, Oct 31 2003 at 13:37,
>>> Wei Deng <weideng at uiuc.edu> wrote:
>>>> On Fri, Oct 31, 2003 at 02:44:59PM -0500, Vann H. Walke wrote:


>>> Rebuilding RHEL3 into a freebie-ripoff version doesn't pass the 
>>> smile-test
>>> for corporations trying to coexist and actually work with Red Hat.
>> Really? Is that why Dell, HP, Cray, Promicro, and Intel all work with 
>> and/or sell Rocks-based clusters? Because it won't pass the smile 
>> test inside a corporation?

The "smile" test?  I thought it was all about risks, support, etc.  
ROCKS appears to be in significant use as indicated by the ROCKS counter 

Remember that RedHat's added value is in packaging, bug fixes, etc.  
They bundle many peoples' code (Don's and probably a number of others 
here).  They have added value back to the community as a whole. 

That said, they are not terribly interested in HPC from what I can see.  
Might be due to the size of  this market compared to their total 
addressable market.

>>> Why
>>> not focus that questionable rebuilding effort on a more worthwhile 
>>> task?
>>> E.g. porting Fedora Core to support amd64, ia64, etc; adding 
>>> features to
>>> Fedora Core that are relevant to clustering, etc.

I would argue that Fedora is more like a permanent beta.  It doesn't 
look like we will get good things into Fedora anytime soon (x86_64, XFS 
et al), and the release/support cycle is too short to be useful for long 
term customer support.   The risks of that platform would be somewhat 
high for a commercial deployment, and I would find it hard to justify 
installing this for a customer knowing full well that next year, they 
are support free.

>>>> Even though Rocks is based on RedHat distribution, it is complete, 
>>>> which
>>>> means you only need to download Rocks ISOs to accomplish your
>>>> installation.
>>> All well and good, but basing a "complete" clustering solution on a 
>>> reverse
>>> engineered RHEL is completely underhanded and wrong (regardless of 
>>> whether
>>> you feel RH is being greedy or whatever).  Ripping off RHEL is a pretty
>>> cheap contribution to the advancement of free clustering 
>>> technology.  But
>>> maybe this type of thing gets peoples' ROCKS off?

Ripping of RedHat?  I thought they were packaging GPL and similar 
software... how is taking GPL software which is Libre' and 
redistributing recompiled versions of it (allowable under the license)  
ripping off the folks who have a their own packaging of it?

>>> Mike
>>> (these views are my own; I just happen to work for a clustering 
>>> company ;)
>> These views are my own. I just happen to own a clustering company.

RedHat is focused upon its primary market, which appears to be 
Unix/Windows server displacement.  Mike's employer is focused upon 
selling hardware.  Glen's company is focused upon good quality cluster 

For companies like mine, the issue is a stable reliable platform to 
build our product offerings.  The problem with things like the permanent 
beta cycles of Fedora is that we will have to focus more upon the 
underlying issues of the platform changes (which will not be focused 
upon HPC needs) than on our own development.  This is a moving target.  
This is "Not A Good Thing(TM)".

A whole bunch of commercial software vendors have "old" and  "outdated" 
OS support for their wares.  I have to carefully check the software OS 
support matrix when building engineering or bioclusters.  RedHat 7.3 is 
long in the tooth, and it happens to be a very good cluster 
distribution, in large part because so many commercial codes have been 
ported in the RH7.x time frame.  


Joseph Landman, Ph.D
Scalable Informatics LLC,
email: landman at scalableinformatics.com
web  : http://scalableinformatics.com
phone: +1 734 612 4615

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