Book Review: Building Clustered Linux Systems
The author of Building Clustered Linux Systems declares that the purpose of the book is "to encourage you to build a cluster and to help you do so". And indeed, the chapters of the book adhere to this goal. The book starts by defining the term "cluster" and comparing clustered systems to SMP systems. Subsequently, the book deals with the hardware components and architecture of clusters. Networking basics are explained--TCP/IP protocols such as ARP, IPv4 and IPv6; switches; virtual LANS; and more--as a preliminary to the subsequent discussion of cluster network control.
Various HSI (high-speed interconnect) topologies are presented in the later chapters. In addition, a large portion of the book is devoted to the software needed to build a cluster, starting from discussing different Linux distribution and continuing with cluster packages--OSCAR, OpenMosix, Rocks and others. The author also explains management software and more. In addition, the SystemImager, which is an important and powerful cluster installation tool, is explained in depth.
Cluster filesystems are explored and explained well, including a discussion of NFS in clusters. There also is a survey of some open-source parallel filesystems, including PVFS, OpenGFS and Lustre, and some commercial ones, such as Red Hat GFS, PolyServe Matrix and others. Finally, monitoring tools such as mon and the Web-based Gangila are discussed.
Building Clustered Linux Systems contains many figures--more than 160--and many tables are presented to offer a visual demonstration of various topics dealt. Some of the diagrams were created with Microsoft Visio. The author acknowledges this point in the preface: "despite my focus on Linux, Visio is still unequaled in terms of its ability to create design drawings and realistic pictures of racks and clusters configurations". I must confess that I fully agree with him on this point. Although I am a devoted Linux user, I have not yet found an application for Linux that offers something similar in quality to Visio.
Finally, many practical examples are presented in this book for the many aspects of designing and building Linux clusters--networking, hardware, management, installation and more. The author's rich experience at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) labs in Richland, Washington, is reflected throughout the book.
All in all, Building Clustered Linux Systems is a good book for those who want to learn more about Linux clusters--system administrators, software/hardware engineers and every Linux advocate who is interested in this subject.
Rami Rosen is a software engineer who recently has been working on Linux software for a startup company that develops videoconference and VoIP solutions. He is a devoted Linux kernel advocate, and he also loves music, reading and running. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
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With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide