Thursday, July 16, 2009

Karen Installs 4-Node Rockscluster (Jul 17 09)

My daughter Karen works as research assistant in one of the labs at the National Institute of Melocular Biology and Biotechnology at the University of the Philippines. She told me that their lab had a budget of PHP75,000.00 for a desktop computer. I suggested that that amount could buy them a compute cluster, instead of just one computer. So we did some canvassing, and she finally bought the cheapest four-node cluster of Intel Core2 Duo machines, interconnected with a 16-port network switch. The 16 ports is for growth, should they decide to add more nodes. The flat screen LCD monitor and mouse is shared by all four nodes via a KVM switch.

Being a molecular biology graduate did not prepare her for what lies ahead -- the installation of Rockscluster software. Now she is learning about master front-end, compute nodes, managed switch, DNS, IP addressing, MAC addresses, kickstart files, grub configuration, X configuration, Xen or no-Xen, BIO roll, etc.

Life is interesting when you have problems to solve. And my daughter sure has lots of them!

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