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Thread: possibilty of clustering in a single box

  1. #11
    Senior Member RoadClosed's Avatar
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    I don't think you comprehend the term "clustering" and how it works in practice. Now I think you are asking about taking something like 4 or 5 old PCs and making them 1 virtual PC. Not possible and you need extra hardware anyway. The CPUs have to share the same storage component for that. Meaning a RAID box or some other external device. In addition the clustering software has huge overhead. It's hard to do and prone to critical failures until everything gets worked out. I haven't built a linux cluster but I have built MS Active/Passive clusters. They are too complicated to be practical in most cases. Meaning cluster failures are extremely hard to recover. I sometimes wish I just built separate boxes and ghosted them vs a cluster. But that's MS eh?
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  2. #12
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    Exclamation Re: possibilty of clustering in a single box

    Originally posted here by mnchur
    hey, i was just wondering what you guys though of the possiblity of clustering several comps into a single box?
    i want to use this comp not only for a server but as a personal comp as well i already have a few 386 available. i was just looking to this as a cheap alternitive to buying a server (wich i most certainly dont have the money for). i want to run an ftp and a webserve off of these boxes; the reason i want to cluster is alone no one of them have to power to handle this kind of work ( i dont think).

    q: do you think this is a practical answer to my problem ?
    q: would any of you say that this would be even worth doing? or would i be better off just getting some server space somewhere (i am trying to avoid this because of money issues).
    q: should i put these seperate comps into a single box? i do have limited space but do you think the cooling of this box would just take up more space than the boxes do now ?
    q: would i have to build a special case or is there a company that offers oversize cases for this purpose?

    If you guys have any other suguestions of things i could do they would be most welcome

    using MS advanced server for clustering, you can only create a 2 node cluster, (you can have multiple node on a windows data center OS).

    Clustering is not about putting multiple hardware on a single case/box, it's about making multiple PC's to act as a single machine that provides high availability for a client connection.
    Cluster solution is not a feasible solution if you're tight on a budget coz you have to have 2 completely built PCs , 2 SCSI controllers, 4 NICs, at least 4 SCSI hdd's and a SSD to house the HDD's and of course 2 licenses for win2k advanced server which we all know costs a lot... now with regards to your 386 machines, the question is wether they can support this win2k advanced sever (or let me say Linux advanced server, if you prefer linux, sorry i don't have enuf knowledge abt linux ) and also wether they can support the SCSI controller for your SSD's and i think current PCI SCSI controllers can't be supported by a 386 machine.

    to answer your questions:


    q: do you think this is a practical answer to my problem ? - no it's not, it's the most expensive answer to your needs


    q: would any of you say that this would be even worth doing? or would i be better off just getting some server space somewhere (i am trying to avoid this because of money issues). - it's cheaper to have your page hosted, more cheaper and less trouble some, you'll have to leave everything to the company that hosts your site like maintenence, security availability etc, if you'll host it on you're own you have to buy the neccessary equipments and at the same time pay for your domain name.


    q: should i put these seperate comps into a single box? i do have limited space but do you think the cooling of this box would just take up more space than the boxes do now ? think of this...you need a customized case that have multiple power supply to attach to your diff mobo's, or lemme say stack your pc and tie it in a bundle, that is how it'll look like. no need to cool a 386, it doest generate that much heat, try using AMD XP 2000 and above processors, you'll know what i mean.


    q: would i have to build a special case or is there a company that offers oversize cases for this purpose? haven't heared of them


    i think the best way for you is to have your site hosted, or if you want, buy a mid range pc, use linux (they come with software that suits your needs) or use windows 2000 server, comes with IIS to host your site, have an ftp server and at the same time a machine for you to tinker around, now, the question of high availability can be answered by clustering.

    I hope this helps

  3. #13
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    I made a post about linux clustering with OpenMosix: http://www.antionline.com/showthread...218#post622815

    BBalad can probably give you more info about Beowulf cause he had such a thing running.
    A linux cluster with such old boxes would be a real technological challenge, I would suggest using old Pentium I or 80486 boxes instead of 80386. A lot also depends on the interconnection between the boxes, to keep it still low budget and fast choose fast switched Ethernet.

  4. #14
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    Re: possibilty of clustering in a single box

    Originally posted here by mnchur
    [B]hey, i was just wondering what you guys though of the possiblity of clustering several comps into a single box?
    i want to use this comp not only for a server but as a personal comp as well i already have a few 386 available. i was just looking to this as a cheap alternitive to buying a server (wich i most certainly dont have the money for). i want to run an ftp and a webserve off of these boxes; the reason i want to cluster is alone no one of them have to power to handle this kind of work ( i dont think).
    I wonder quite why you would want to do this.

    M$ Clustering: Only works on certain cluster-aware applications (Mostly MSSQL Server). Requires very very expensive M$ Windows Advanced server licences, which will massively dwarf the cost of even very powerful brand new machines. This makes it unsuitable for clustering old boxes.

    Other types of clustering:

    There is something called "Single system image" (M$ does not have single system images in its clustering), which makes >1 machine appear exactly as one machine.

    Not very much clustering software does single system image, because it is very tricky.

    Mosix or OpenMosix is however a single system image cluster.

    BUT it is very bad for applications like web servers etc, as they require a lot of networking.

    As far as I'm aware, there isn't any practical way of doing what you intend.

    Slarty

  5. #15
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    Originally posted here by RoadClosed
    I don't think you comprehend the term "clustering" and how it works in practice. Now I think you are asking about taking something like 4 or 5 old PCs and making them 1 virtual PC. Not possible and you need extra hardware anyway. The CPUs have to share the same storage component for that. Meaning a RAID box or some other external device. In addition the clustering software has huge overhead. It's hard to do and prone to critical failures until everything gets worked out. I haven't built a linux cluster but I have built MS Active/Passive clusters. They are too complicated to be practical in most cases. Meaning cluster failures are extremely hard to recover. I sometimes wish I just built separate boxes and ghosted them vs a cluster. But that's MS eh?
    I'd have to disagree with you on the practicality of a cluster. We have 10 clusters here at work, each one being active passive supporting exchange with 7k subscribers per cluster. We are currently running at 99.999% availibility(202 dpm) for the year. We have never experienced a major failure because of clustering. Most of the failures we have experienced have been application failures. In those cases clustering will only speed up the recovery process. However we have not had a hardware outage exceed 5 minutes in three years. I don't have a single complaint about MS clustering. It has a very steep learning curve, but it is a very well documented product.

    Also, in linux you can do distributed computing clusters where the storage is not shared. In windows you can do a Network load balance cluster where, once again, the storage device is not shared. There are several different forms of clustering.

    Originally posted here by slarty

    Other types of clustering:

    There is something called "Single system image" (M$ does not have single system images in its clustering), which makes >1 machine appear exactly as one machine.

    Not very much clustering software does single system image, because it is very tricky.

    Mosix or OpenMosix is however a single system image cluster.

    BUT it is very bad for applications like web servers etc, as they require a lot of networking.

    As far as I'm aware, there isn't any practical way of doing what you intend.

    Slarty

    Slarty- Win2k NLB clusters allow you to do a concept of one with protocol servers. For instance, you can take 4 different machines that each have two NICs. You assign one NIC to function as the public NIC, and one to function as a cluster private NIC. Each NIC is assigned it's own unique IP, as well as you assign a group IP to all of the public NICs. Then using the private cluster NIC each member of the NLB cluster shares the load of all inbound traffic. This works wonders for load balancing web servers or front end protocol servers(OWA,IMAP,POP3, SMTP). Full fault tolerance is maintained as servers are automatically taken out of the mix if they stop serving requests. NLB clusters can be configured to provide redundancy on any port. It just requires that the application be capable of handling requests from multiple nodes. Most applications that would require this level of availability work flawlessly with NLB clustering.

  6. #16
    AO Decepticon CXGJarrod's Avatar
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    Originally posted here by mohaughn
    You can also use Win2k advanced server to build a cluster. You can build an MS "cluster" in one of two ways, using cluster service, or using what is called network load balancing clusters. The NLB cluster is not a cluster in the traditional sense, it is instead a protocol cluster. Both technologies are very stable and work very well. You would however need more power than a 386 can provide.
    You couldnt use 2k Advanced server because the basic system needs at least a 133 MGHZ processor. I dont think that there were any 386 133 MGHZ processors.

    If you have a couple hundred bucks, you could get a Dell Poweredge Small Business Server and run it off of that on Linux. Dell's PowerEdge Series starts at $299. (After $100 rebate)
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  7. #17
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    I think RoadClosed's comment about the practicality of clustering (MS or Linux) was meant as applies to small networks or groups of servers. Clustering requires a significant amount of time, effort and resources to set up. Of course, when you expend that, you also have to have a very good reason to do so, especially in the real world.

    Sounds like mnchur wants to build a learning project. More power to mnchur.

    Not sure that you'll be able to get the 386's to handle the memory, or Linux version needed to run any kind of cluster. They definitely will have to be 386DX's, with math coprocessors. Anything less will not work, I think.

  8. #18
    AntiOnline Senior Member souleman's Avatar
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    Only 1 thing to think about.... if you want acluster, that means you need a minimum of 2 chips, 2 sets of ram, 2 NICs, etc etc.... basically you need at least 2 motherboards. Now if you are trying to do this in one box, that means you are going to have a lot of hardware cramed in a small sace which meas you got a lot of work to do to keep the thing cool.
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  9. #19
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    This whole exercise seems like far more work and money in customization than it's worth. I'd just pick up a couple of barebones type boxes and build them up into a decent cluster. Less work, less hassle, less cash.
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  10. #20
    Senior Member RoadClosed's Avatar
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    I'd have to disagree with you on the practicality of a cluster. We have 10 clusters here at work, each one being active passive supporting exchange with 7k subscribers per cluster. We are currently running at 99.999% availibility(202 dpm) for the year
    .

    That is exactly why you would want to cluster, availability. My point was it's hard to engineer and not practical in most cases. I use it for Exchange in an Active Passive configuration. The cluster shares the same quorum and one of the many controller cards corrupted it the quorum. With so many parts it was hard to find the actual hardware fault because it wasn't a black and white failure. So they can be much harder to troubleshoot than single boxes, plus the software alone will kill you with Microsoft. So it's not practical in most situations and not a whole lot of software supports it. The software has to be "cluster aware" meaning it takes advantage of the cluster APIs and knows the condition of the cluster so that it can initiate changes and redirect it's I/O to the active clustering components. My comment was fiscal and not technological


    Now we are all talking about expensive advance clustering. NT has clustering services as well, so that is an option.

    Heatwave is correct, to cluster you have to have redundant EVERYTHING, otherwise why bother? I even have redundant network paths.

    This whole exercise seems like far more work and money in customization than it's worth. I'd just pick up a couple of barebones type boxes and build them up into a decent cluster. Less work, less hassle, less cash.
    Sounds like allot of us have experience, so let us know what you plan because some situations won't work with clusters and I would hate to see anyone makes some of the errors I have.
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