Why MDKC & CLIC are not comparable to RH Advanced [Was Re: Redhat Fedora]

erwan.velu at free.fr erwan.velu at free.fr
Thu Sep 25 05:12:44 EDT 2003

Drzyzgula wrote:
> >Also, I'm thinking I must not know enough about Mandrake's
> >cluster distribution. Looking at their website, it
> >seems to cost $2320 for 1-8 processors, $4176K for 9-16
> >processors. Why would a cluster shop that had previously
> >used Red Hat Linux choose to use Mandrake rather than
> >Red Hat's Enterprise WS distribution, which costs $299
> >per single- or dual-processor system, except perhaps on
> >technical grounds?
> >
> Mandrake puts out a completely free cluster distribution called clic:
> http://clic.mandrakesoft.com/index-en.html

Firstable, sorry for not using my corporate email but since few days all the
emails sent to beowulf ML reach the mailbox but I never seen any message
(except one because I had ask for it ... I am filtred ?)

All the fedora thread is really intresting... Why people should pay for
such clustering oriented distro ? Why CLIC is free whereas you must pay for
MDKC with a per-CPU licence ?

CLIC was a project co-financed by the french government, so it MandrakeSoft and
its partners were being half payed for this work. It was obvious that we are
making a GPL product available for download. CLIC is a real technological
success and its customers like it for this.

Today we are facing the following problem : how to continue such project ? How
can MandrakeSoft could make some revenues on this king of product ? What do
people using CLIC gives at MandrakeSoft in return of its work ? Some buy some
consulting, but some do nothing...

CLIC is finishing at Decembrer 2003, so should we stop CLIC ? How the guys are
working hard on such product could be payed ? We decided to launch a new
product called MandrakeClustering based on the CLIC success.

We have rewritten all the backend in perl, added a lot of features. We want
this technology to survive. Now MDKC is a real product, not a research project
as CLIC. MandrakeSoft now sells this product whereas we were just selling
consulting on CLIC. This model now change the rules. Products like maui can't
be resell without permissions. There is a per-cpu fee for such product, so we
are now applying a per-cpu pricing on our product.

The price of MDKC is really reasonable !
For 8CPUS under x86 or AMD64 it costs 2000€,
until 16 -> 3600€ etc..
Please make the ratio between the hardware price and the software price.

What is the future of CLIC ? Is will depend of the results of
MandrakeClustering. If it works fine, we will continue CLIC because the
clustering team could be payed for such work. This is what we are doing
today. The technology of MDKC is currently in integration in CLIC. So CLIC will
contain a part of MDKC a few after the release.

The last point is you can't compare RedHat Enterprise with MandrakeClustering !
MandrakeClustering is a real oriented clustering distro not just a
MandrakeLinux + some few packages.
MDKC is integrating the Linux Distro + configuration tools + deployment tools +
clustering tools + clustering mpi stacks.

Everything is auto configured, you don't need to be a Linux expert to install a
My best example ? How to integrate new nodes ? CLICK on a node, CLICK on
duplicate, tell the number of nodes you want to duplicate, the device you want
to duplicate. Then just power on your nodes ! Nothing more to do !

You just need a few hours to setup a full cluster ! DNS, DHCP, PXE, NIS,
AUTOFS, LAM/MPI, MPICH, PVM, TFTP, etc.. Everything is built automaticaly !
Does RH do it ?

You can manage all the rpms on your cluster using "urpmi" (could be compared to
apt) but using parallel tools ! How to install a tool on a cluster ?
urpmi --parallel cluster <my_rpm>
Dependencies are automaticaly installed like apt.
Does RH do it ?

You can install security/product updates from the server using a simple command:
urpmi --parallel cluster --auto-select --auto
Updates are downloaded from Internet then parallely send to the nodes then each
nodes update itslef following its own needs ! Who can do that today ?

Does RH allow you to duplicate 200 nodes in 3 minutes ~500 MBits  ?
No, you need to integrate yourself other tools you must installed and configure.

MDKC & CLIC are some real clustering oriented distro, everything has been
thought for the easyness of use..

I don't know if this king of approach could match all the clustering needs, but
I must say that people who did really test this kind of distribution likes it.
I'm not saying that other products are poor, we just have another approach that
our Linux editor postion allow us to give.

I hope this mail could help everyone to understand the work of the CLIC & MDKC

Linuxely yours, 
Erwan Velu (erwan at mandrakesoft.com)
Linux Cluster Distribution Project Manager
43 rue d'aboukir 75002 Paris 
Phone Number : +33 (0) 1 40 41 17 94
Fax Number   : +33 (0) 1 40 41 92 00
Web site     : http://www.mandrakesoft.com
OpenPGP key  : http://www.mandrakesecure.net/cks/
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