MonthMay 2007

Cluster Configuration

So… you’ve heard me go on about this computer cluster, but I’ve still got a long ways to go before things are up and running. I’ll try to keep track of all my progress and post it in the category called Cluster.

In the end, we decided to install CentOS on our systems, since it’s been recommended to us by many, and is based off Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).

We’re probably going to be using TORQUE as our resource manager, and Maui or Moab as our Scheduler. Moab comes with a lot of features, so even though it’s a commercial licence, it’s a cheap commercial licence for what it offers. It’s also what’s used on WestGrid, which is a big name around UBC if you’ve got some number crunching to do.

To make future administration a bit easier, we’re hoping to have a single master system, and then the rest of the nodes be network booted slave systems. That’s what I’m hoping to learn first, since that’s really the major configuration that’s going to happen. After that, everything is going to be handled by the resource manager and scheduler…

Keep looking for more info on this as I learn more… 🙂

Credit Sucks…

So, I went to the bank this morning to see if I could get a student line of credit for this next year. I’ve just finished my undergrad and I have the letter of acceptance from the faculty. I’m thinking that as an engineering student with a known income that’s greater than my tuition payments, I shouldn’t have too much difficulty. Right?

Wrong. I meet with a relatively friendly lady, who asks me the usual questions about this that and the other. She asks me if I have a letter of acceptance to the university, which I do, but she finds the one snag I didn’t think about. The letter is based on the condition that I graduate. I’m quick to reply that I just recently got my grades back from last term, and they’re all passes, so that shouldn’t be an issue. I even offered to log into my student account so that she could print out an unofficial transcript proving that I’ve completed my degree. Nope… not good enough.

Then she says, we can start the application process and then fill in the last piece when I have the actual real letter of acceptance, not this “Yup, you’re in as long as you pass” document that I have (dispite the fact that I passed). I go along with it, figuring that it’ll be less time I have to spend later. We look through, and the only existing source of credit I have is my Visa card (which is currently at a negative balance). She tells me that I don’t have much credit, and that it might make it a little harder to get the loan…

How is a person supposed to get credit if you don’t give them a chance? Isn’t that the whole point? Me having credit means that you trust me to pay you back later, but how can I gain that credit if you don’t lend me a little bit now? If you don’t want to lend me the full $55K (which is what she was suggesting), then lend me less and don’t give me such a hard time about it.

Gah… I needed to vent.

Cluster setup woes…

So I’ve got this computer cluster to manage, and it’s becoming a bit of a PITA to figure out what to run on it. See, it’s a multi-core system, which is peachy and all, but I have no idea if any Linux distros have been optimized to properly scale to multicore systems. Secondly, I don’t know if any schedulers have been put up to the task either.

If anyone has any information on this, I’d love to hear it. My main choices for operating systems right now are Gentoo and Debian, and the scheduler is between Maui Scheduler and Sun Grid Engine.

A bit of a break…

Last week I finished off the last of my 8 exams this term. Yes, eight. So far, I’ve passed all of them, which is the most important, since that’s all I need to graduate and then continue on with my studies next year for my Masters.

So now, I get to relax for a bit and kick back and do just about nothing. Next week, I get to play with about $90,000 worth of computers, setting up a computing cluster for the research group I’ll be working with next year. You can see our news postings here, and even follow up on what I’ve been doing.

I’m also trying to find a good CMS. Something that will let me properly organize all of my blog postings, news clips, and other content on the site. Hell, if I can’t find one I like, I just might make one myself. 😉

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