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Clustering Questions





[FuN]goku
Okay, so I got some questions about clustering. So, I don't know too much on the subject, I know a bit about them though.

Firstly, right now I'm kind of hurting for money, and gaming is becoming more hardware demanding.
While I don't have the as good of hardware as I could, I have multiple computers I can use.
So what I'm asking is, is it possible to run a Windows (XP if possible) cluster of some sort, that you could use for gaming. I've looked up a bit on the subject and couldn't find much on it, but I asked a friend, and he said that there a specific programs for helping run an XP cluster, but I've also heard that Windows 2000/2003 is able to cluster alot better.

Second, when I DO actually get around to finding another job, I'm considering buying 2 relatively cheap boxes, with 512 meg of ram each, a fairly cheap dual-core in each, and a small harddrive.
Anyways, if I do get them, I'm going to be using them for server purposes (not for public use, for my programming), and I'd like to be able to cluster them together, but since this is going to be a test server , I'm going to slap linux on it. I've read that theres a few clustering distros (like some knoppix based ones) , but I'm wondering, can you take just about any linux distro and grab some software for doing this? Because I'm attached to debian Razz and would like to use it if at all possible, or slackware even.
Arnie
No. Clustering is for parallel calculations like GROMACS, not for games. Most modern games are optimized for at most 4 CPU cores and if they actually supported clustering they wouldn't really scale well at all. In theory you could program a game to run on a cluster, but still, Windows clusters? It's all Linux.

Yes, you could make a cluster with Debian (great choice) but do you actually need it? For a home server a P4 with 512 MB is fine. Server clusters are useful for load balancing and keeping your site online when one machine fails.
sheedatali
What do you mean when you say use XP cluster for gaming? I am confused....

- Do you want to host a gaming server?

Windows XP can not be clustered afaik, Windows2000/2003 can be clustered but they are providing services, not play games on them. Clarify your question on what exactly you are trying to do or achieve.
r4inm4ker
I don't think so. As Arnie said, clustering is for tasks which are highly parallel such as database query or scanline rendering etc. but for interactive things such as games, the jobs are too specialized so that it's not that easy to cluster them. Besides that, hardware demanding games depend alot on GPU, not CPU, so clustering seems to be useless if not slowing it down.
[FuN]goku
Arnie wrote:

Yes, you could make a cluster with Debian (great choice) but do you actually need it? For a home server a P4 with 512 MB is fine. Server clusters are useful for load balancing and keeping your site online when one machine fails.

No, I don't 'NEED' it for a server, but I would like to have the experience in this kind of thing before I go to college for Networking Administration.

@sheedatali - No, I mean actual gaming, not servers, gaming like WoW.

Anyways, scrap the whole gaming part, however I would like to try to cluster 2 boxes with linux just for the experience and have a bit of knowlege on the subject.
Arnie
So you don't have any purpose for the cluster? When you finish it, give me SSH access and I will run GROMACS simulations on it.

http://wiki.gromacs.org/index.php/Linux_Cluster
[FuN]goku
Yeah no real purpose.. more or less for experience, and for something new to try out.
As for giving ye ssh access, err it wont be public Razz, but I'm sure I could figure how to run that on it.
Arnie
Yeah, if you invest enough time to read the manual. You could give me private SSH access though. I would produce stuff like this. (Not just movies, also many data files like graphs and plots etc.)

Of course I realise your cluster would not be very large and powerful so I'd mainly do it as a side project, and because having a cluster doing nothing all day seems a waste.
[FuN]goku
No no, i mean it wouldn't be public because err.. it's kinda complicated Razz

I live with my grandparents during the week, and go to my dads on the weekend.

The cluster would be at my grandparents house, BUT, the problem with that is, I have dialup there, so i don't have internet 24/7, and broadband isn't available in my area (rural area).

And even IF the cluster was at my dad's house I'd still have to set up hamachi , or some other VPN, as I don't have access to the router. Otherwise, I probably would give you ssh access.
Arnie
Lol dialup. GROMACS involves transfer of files over 100 MB. And with dialup you won't be able to use it as a server either. Sad

Aren't there other useful things you can do with your time? Building a cluster is way cool, but you should use it for something... Why don't you wait until you live in your own uni dorm with a high-speed Internet connection?
[FuN]goku
Lol i'm not going to a Uni, I'm going to a Community College. No dorms there.
Skye001
I would recommend you running something like Xen a virtualisation tool on one PC and virtualise two virtual machines and then cluster them - less hassle then playing with two physical boxes.

Im doing Network Engineering well almost finished for my degree (CCNA, CCNP, VoIP, Wireless, Multicast, IPTV and etc). If you need any help gimme a shout.

But I would recommend you trying to cluster windows 2003 / 2008 and Redhat servers, they are the most widely used in industry.
sheedatali
Skye001 wrote:
I would recommend you running something like Xen a virtualisation tool on one PC and virtualise two virtual machines and then cluster them - less hassle then playing with two physical boxes.


Oh how confident you are in your recommendation, did you not read his responses before your prescription? If OP knew how to use Xen then he would not be asking us in a very confusing manner about clustering.


@OP, Clustering is not difficult but you need to know basic principals first. If you feel comfortable using Linux as an OS on command line are pretty comfortable with TCP/IP (Routing, Loadbalancing etc) then looking into simple things to start with. Balance is one product used on linux to load balance between servers. However if you do not feel that confident about these things, then first try to get used to Linux command line, get understanding of basic principals of the OS and TCP/IP etc.
[FuN]goku
sheedatali wrote:

Oh how confident you are in your recommendation, did you not read his responses before your prescription? If OP knew how to use Xen then he would not be asking us in a very confusing manner about clustering.


@OP, Clustering is not difficult but you need to know basic principals first. If you feel comfortable using Linux as an OS on command line are pretty comfortable with TCP/IP (Routing, Loadbalancing etc) then looking into simple things to start with. Balance is one product used on linux to load balance between servers. However if you do not feel that confident about these things, then first try to get used to Linux command line, get understanding of basic principals of the OS and TCP/IP etc.

Err, why use Xen? Isn't just the same as VMWare and Virtualbox more or less?

Anyways thanks for the tips on the load balancing Razz, I'm fairly comfortable with a linux environment, and I AM a programmer so I do have knowlege of such things as TCP/IP. Also , I've been having a look around and found this OS called OpenVMS, which is made by HP. I realise that it differs from linux/unix, having tried it out on this uh... OpenVMS server that some people had set up as a cluster, which comes to my next question:

Would it be worth looking into? Or am I better off just sticking with a *Nix distro?
Arnie
Unlike the name suggests it's open nor free. But yeah, it's very professional.
Fire Boar
[FuN]goku wrote:
which is made by HP


Says it all really. I wouldn't, given HP's past record.
Arnie
What? Do you actually know anything about OpenVMS, other than what you are now going to look up on Wikipedia?
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