[Bioclusters] Local blast server, beowulf vs mosix

Mike Coleman bioclusters@bioinformatics.org
03 Mar 2002 00:31:11 -0600

Eric Engelhard <eric_cl@pacbell.net> writes:
> Remote booting is slick, but is the advantage really that clear for this
> kind of cluster (embarrassingly parallel, diskfull, and none-too-big)?
> The NFS share on the master node holds the install image(s) and BLAST
> executables. Any node specific features can be handled with
> environmental variable calls.  [...]

I've been thinking about setting up a Beowulf and giving these issues a lot of
thought.  The advantage of going "diskless" is primarily administrative, I
think.  Basically, you need some way of keeping your clients in sync as you
make changes over time.  There seem to be only two good ways to do this: share
everything over NFS, or replicate changes.  SystemImager is an interesting
take on the latter, and I like the core rsync idea, but it looks more
complicated than I was hoping for, and so I'm leaning towards "diskless".

(By "diskless", I mean not that the hosts have no disks, but that no (or
almost no) state is stored there.  So, for example, the disks could be wiped
and mounted on /tmp at each boot.)