[Bioclusters] Request for discussions-How to build a biocluster Part 3 (the OS)

Mike Coleman bioclusters@bioinformatics.org
18 May 2002 19:29:41 -0500

Andrew Shewmaker <shewa@inel.gov> writes:
> I think you are right that you are using the word 'distribution' differently 
> than Don.  My opinion is that Scyld is its own distribution, or is at least 
> becoming one in the same way that Mandrake has.

I agree that this is what Scyld is doing.  As a potential user, though, it
concerns me.  If I run into a problem with one of the many hundreds of
packages in the Scyld distribution, who do I talk to about it?  I wouldn't
expect Scyld to have any special knowledge about most of these packages (since
their expertise is in Beowulf and clustering).  I'd prefer to get clustering
support from Scyld and distribution support from the distribution that I

> I have also used Scyld though, and I could tell that they put a lot of
> effort into quality assurance for specifically beowulf-related issues.

This is important, and obviously this is worth having.

> You may have plenty of bandwidth or not require much, but why mirror things
> like password and other configuration files when you don't have to?

Because there's little reason not too, given that Bproc already requires that
some files (shared libraries and files the application accesses by name) must
be replicated anyway.  I think it's a lot easier to explain to users that each
node has a virtually complete (read-only) image of the master's files, versus
trying to explain that some files are there and some are not.

> Bproc moves complexity into the kernel (48k patch) in order to make things
> simpler for administrators and users.

This seems like a substantial minus (diverging significantly from the vanilla
kernel) for what seems like a small plus (with the caveat that I've not
actually tried Bproc).

> They identified the weaknesses with the original methods and tools and have
> produced next generation methods and tools like bproc, pvfs, and others
> (more arriving every day).  I'm going to take advantage of their hard work.

I'd like to, too, which is why I'm asking all these (hopefully not too) rude