I’m venturing into another cluster out of old boxes but this time is different, or at least I believe it is.

http://www.systemcall.eu/rengolin/stuff/MiddleEarth/

With the 486 cluster we got crappy boxes and it took us weeks to have one machine running using components from all other in order to boot, no good. The next one was using other people’s boxes at work and it went well until people started to complain about someone else taking their precious cycles. At home the cluster worked pretty well, but with only two machines and one being dual boot with Windows, it wasn’t up most of the time.

This time it’ll be different. And it’ll be harder!

I’ve decided to install just the necessary and for a Beowulf project it should be very simple, just choose one among several good off-the-shelf software like Oscar or Rocks and you have it all. But I’ve started it differently, I’ve installed Ubuntu 6.06 Server on all machines.

As all those packages RPM based, Debian Linux have no turn on this run and I won’t render myself using alien and converting everything to .DEB and installing here unless strictly necessary, and for what I’ve seen around, it isn’t.

So, I decided to take that project ahead and will not rest until I have at least four things:
– A node configuration, administration and monitoring tool
– A job scheduler
– A Parallel File System
– A proper MPI installation (easy with MPICH or Lam-Mpi)

Well, seems a long way to go, I’ll post my steps on this blog as soon as I finish them.