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Clustering-really worth it?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I have read an article about clustering and i wanted to know if it does really work well?
I have some questions?
1st- Every PC needs to be equal?
2nd-Can i use clustering in games?
3rd- Does it work with f@lding?

Thanks
post #2 of 12
Clustering? That is USUALLY a application level operation with Windows apps anyway.

Server OS's can have a failover system whereby the data is always in sync between them in case one fails.

So, what do you mean by clustering? Like grid computing?
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post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Yes , it is grid-computing ( like NASA) but the article talked about clustering. so i guessed....
post #4 of 12
google....

Beowulf cluster

It'll explain some stuff.
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post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Du@lGeEk
Yes , it is grid-computing ( like NASA) but the article talked about clustering. so i guessed....
Grids are designed for a specific purpose. M$ also has what is called DCOM and Remoting which allow remote servers to service requests. But, then again, those are for special purpose apps typically.

TRUE app-agnostic clustering can only occur on the CPU die with a multi-threaded OS. Any way to combine two or more CPU's on different boxes will be hampered by bandwidth issues.

There is a computer system used by Wall street. I can't dredge up the name right now. It's a TRUE cluster. It uses a concept of mesh-backplaning. Ram, CPU's, system busses, I/O ports EVERYTHING exists on a criss-crossed backplane. If one object dies, another on the mesh instantly takes over. It's one of the most expensive super computers in the world (not the fastest by any means, but the most reliable).
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post #6 of 12
Why would you cluster for folding? It's much easier to do it on each rig.
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post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by gonX
Why would you cluster for folding? It's much easier to do it on each rig.
When it comes to clustering, you can have a couple variations (at least from what i've learned). One is a redundant system for data integrity, and the other is load balancing. Load balancing works by having a master machine in a cluster assigning processes across the entire cluster, so everythign works much faster. True, if one node was on a dial up netork, things would be much slower than lets say a fibre network, but the idea's still the same. If you have a load balancing cluster with lets say 10 servers, the folding would perform exponentially better. In fact thats exactley what folders are. Those who fold are all just different nodes of a giant cluster.

At HP, where i work, we have a couple clustering systems. We use them for redundancy. However, in contrast to FrankenPC, the data is not in sync. Each server is responsible for it's own data. But if one were to fail, another would immediately take control and start hosting it's own data, plus the data of the failed server. Everything is on a fibre network, so communication between the cluster nodes are VERY fast, therfore the downtime is only about 10 seconds, if that. 10 seconds may seem like a long time, but each cluster node is serving approximately 2 TB of data, so it's actually pretty fast.

Hope this helps!!
    
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post #8 of 12
Thanks for a pretty much dead-on explanation of what I was about to ask, SoBe! I'm going to be starting a little term project for my networking class soon, and that's what I was considering doing.

JUST TO BE CLEAR, though:

So, I have three computers - one load balancer, two nodes to do the workload - and either of the two working nodes can be used as the back-up node incase the other fails or dies, right?

Also, another question, which is basically what dualgeek asked:

Do both working nodes need to be identical hardware-wise?
Does the load balancer need to be higher-end than the working nodes? I'd think it wouldn't have to be high-end at all.
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post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by CanadaGradeEh
Thanks for a pretty much dead-on explanation of what I was about to ask, SoBe! I'm going to be starting a little term project for my networking class soon, and that's what I was considering doing.

JUST TO BE CLEAR, though:

So, I have three computers - one load balancer, two nodes to do the workload - and either of the two working nodes can be used as the back-up node incase the other fails or dies, right?

Also, another question, which is basically what dualgeek asked:

Do both working nodes need to be identical hardware-wise?
Does the load balancer need to be higher-end than the working nodes? I'd think it wouldn't have to be high-end at all.
First off, the machines can very quite a bit. It would help with performance if the machines were alike, but it's definately not required.

Second, I didn't really explain the load balancing aspect very well, I apologize. I have never actually set up a load balancing server, so it's hard to explain exactley how it works. In a load balancing cluster, ALL the machines do equal amounts of work, there is just one server that decides what goes where. Not sure how it deals with down servers.

I am not sure however, if you can do both clustering modes at the same time though. It's something you can easily research. It really depends on what kind of setup you want. Do you want redundancy or performance? For data libraries a failover cluster would be best, but a streaming media server would work best with a load balancing server.

What are you going to use as an OS for your servers? Over here, we use windows server 2003 enterprise edition. It has to be enterprise edition for the clustering. That may be a little hard to come by. There are some Linux Apps that provide clustering services. I don't know much about it, but i heard it's pretty easy.
    
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post #10 of 12
To get in to the specific details of my project:

We will be using either two PentiumIII machines (if we're lucky and actually receive them from our friend) or two or three lower-end Pentium machines, most likely 200MHz.

What we plan to do is set up a cluster to stream a radio station for our MMO-addicted classmates

It's mandatory to have it set up so that if one machine fails the stream will continue on the other. I am going to do as much with this as I can, though, hence my curiosity.
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