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Launchpad Entry: easy-ubuntu-clustering
Note: This specification entry is far from finished and is being discussed on:
We need to make it 1. possible and 2. easy for Ubuntu-based systems to host and/or join clustering environments. Something like the clustering capabilities found in Apple's Xserve.
With this spec implemented, Ubuntu 8.10 or 9.04 would become an even greater solution for small businesses, school classes, small research labs or even the advanced home computer user that wish to work with clusters but can't afford to get programmers to set up a huge cluster.
1. Kane is working as an accountant in an electrician's company. There are eight people who work in the office at random times with tasks that reach from normal accounting jobs to creating 3D applications on AutoCad or plotting big graphs. Without a cluster infrastructure, their computer resources are only sparsely used and they loose time when waiting for CPU intensive tasks that the other unused computers should be able to help out with.
2. Chris has a laptop running Ubuntu and couple of spare computers lying around at home, and since they are not used for something else, they ought to be able to complement the laptops processing power while he is at home.
3. Joe is a consultant who does contract Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Finite Element Analysis (FEA) from his home office. CAD is Graphics and Ram intensive while FEA is CPU and Ram intensive. Joe is a sole business owner, needing to keep costs ultra low but offer a big service. A clustering solution with Virtual Machines (like VirtualBox) to host the separate workstation environments is critical (CAD and FEA packages are often single OS specific due to the small user market they are written for). The cluster needs to look and feel like a single large computer to each of the Virtual Machines - some of the CAD and FEA packages can run multi-threaded while some do not). Joe's programming skills are low so a unified system solution will be needed but he's been using K/X/Ubuntu for several years and is comfortable with the command line and finding solutions through the search engines. Some jobs Joe does are small and only need the workstation he uses now while larger jobs would finish in a more timely manner if he could scale up with the computers the kids use after school along with the few nearly retired workstations currently stored in the basement.
It is important that it is easy to set up a working dynamic cluster-installation without having to make significant changes to your Ubuntu system, preferably using a nice GUI and AppleBonjour-look and feel. This means an easy to set up solution even for end-users and will help attract new users from the business sector.
For this, we would need to use a widely adopted cluster-solution. Possible candidates:
Of these, Kerrighed is the only one with a recent release based on the 2.6.20 kernel*. Since Feisty and Gutsy are known to run on this kernel (and maybe even Hardy?) this looks like a viable option. OpenMosix requires a 2.4 kernel and The OpenMosix Project has officially closed as of March 1, 2008. The status of OpenSSI is currently unknown (change-me). The status of Chromium is currently unknown (change-me).
*Latest version is Kerrighed 2.3.0. It was released on April 25th, 2008. It is based on Linux 2.6.20
http://trac.nchc.org.tw/grid/wiki/krg_DRBL (untested instruction page)
build.sh (script to download and compile Kerrighed under Ubuntu 8.04 LTS)