Need help: Interested in building a cluster
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Thread: Need help: Interested in building a cluster

  1. #1
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    Need help: Interested in building a cluster

    Well, I have a bunch of old computers kicking around that grudge through running office programs, but can still do that task.

    However, I have no need for these computers, and there aren't any areas around me (that I know of anyway) who would legally accept the computers for school use, or have better stuff, besides, they're old!

    The hardware is non-compliant with today's stuff on several boxes (I have about 3 or 4 I want to use, 3 at first, then perhaps add on my fourth as another node if it works out nice), as in, the memory inserts aren't even close to standard sizes, but these have at most 32mb, and 1gh, with 2gb drives. One has this setup, with a 128 stick in it, and I have at least another 128 stick floating around some where (this is the only computer that is 'newer' and can be upgraded).

    What I want to do, as you have guessed, is wire together my 4x1gh pentiums, 4x2gb disks, and 3x32mb +128mb memory sticks into a cluster that would be running all of these.

    The only thing is, I don't know how to. I've searched the net, and found out about other people who've done this with similar systems... sadly, the articles weren't very good at telling me how to do it!

    I plan on running linux (I know how to use linux, don't worry about that-- unless it's cluster specific anyway) on this cluster which would make it a BeoWulf, I believe.

    From what I read over here, I need to wire my parts into one (or two?) power boxes (can I do this safely over 3/4?)
    Also, is it suggested that I make a new box like they did?

    And most important of all, how do I link them all up together so it works as one computer? I read things about ethernet, but it didn't say much, just that it was used.
    Hi.

  2. #2
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    Hey Hey,

    NeuTron has a nice article on a password cracking cluster here.

    Basically you want to make sure you've got a CDRom Drive and Network Cards.. that's about it... plug them into the same hub/switch and boot with clusterknoppix.. you can download it here.

    It makes clusters very simple and easy to use.. They also have documentation to help you along if you get stuck..

    Peace,
    HT
    IT Blog: .:Computer Defense:.
    PnCHd (Pronounced Pinched): Acronym - Point 'n Click Hacked. As in: "That website was pinched" or "The skiddie pinched my computer because I forgot to patch".

  3. #3
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    Thanks, but what if I just want to run it from one power supply? If this is turned into a 24/7 computer, I don't think 150-200 bucks a year extra is what I would love to pay, when it could be $50. If I splice my wires together and into one power box, can I do this?
    Hi.

  4. #4
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    Originally posted here by Drakain Zeil
    Thanks, but what if I just want to run it from one power supply? If this is turned into a 24/7 computer, I don't think 150-200 bucks a year extra is what I would love to pay, when it could be $50. If I splice my wires together and into one power box, can I do this?
    You'll have the same components drawing the same power.... If anything you'll lose efficiency by splicing a power supply on your own and end up paying more for power..

    The one power supply will have more load... and will most likely burn out and start a fire... but more load means more power draw which means you pay more in the end..


    If you could power everything off one power supply and rip of the power company everyone would be doing it.

    If I were you I'd take comfort in the fact that they are old crappy computers.... they won't cost you much to run... We built an "extension cord" once for the purpose of testing the power draw on our PCs (First time we were in an place where we had to pay our own hydro)... even our computers (fairly decent specs) only drew like pennies a day in power..

    Peace,
    HT
    IT Blog: .:Computer Defense:.
    PnCHd (Pronounced Pinched): Acronym - Point 'n Click Hacked. As in: "That website was pinched" or "The skiddie pinched my computer because I forgot to patch".

  5. #5
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    That's a comfort to know, about the running costs. Lastly, is there a way for me to connect them without a network card? I don't want to buy several new cards and a hub for this.
    Hi.

  6. #6
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    Network card as in ... ethernet card you mean. Of course you'll have to purchase them. How else can you connect computers? I'm no expert on this but, you'll have to connect all of them together (using the hub) and set up a LAN. Neutron's tutorial tells you exactly how to set it up using DHCP. If i'm not mistaken, there was a post on how to start them up using just one clusterknoppix CD...ah... here it is:

    http://www.antionline.com/showthread...r=3#post798004

    Anyways, as far as I can see, this cluster can be used only for cracking passwords. I don't see any other use for them. If you're planning to do some sort of 3D rendering or something, the software will probably not work on your ancient computers.

    Also, each node is a full blown computer. It will consume power (albeit small, if they are old ones). If you've got time (and money for network cards) try it out for fun, but that's just about how useful it'll be to you.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Say... can we make a cluster for windows? It'll help a lot if we can cluster windows and play doom3 or HL2 . That'll compensate for the graphics card AND RAM.
    Never trouble another for what you can do for yourself.
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  7. #7
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    So, other than loading clusterknoppix, what else could I use? I don't want to set up every time I boot my computer. I'm thinking of making this a more solid cluster, not boot up and go through clusterknoppix, but boot up and go.
    Hi.

  8. #8
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    Originally posted here by Drakain Zeil
    So, other than loading clusterknoppix, what else could I use? I don't want to set up every time I boot my computer. I'm thinking of making this a more solid cluster, not boot up and go through clusterknoppix, but boot up and go.
    Hey Hey,

    Don't take offense to this, but I'm starting to think you don't have enough base knowledge to build a cluster. It's not a bad thing, at college we had 6 hours of lecture on the subject and a 3 hours lab on it and some of my classmates still don't get it. You're going to have to do a lot more reading.

    If you read the clusterKnoppix website, you'll see that there's a link that tells you how to do a haddrive install of clusterKnoppi (here).

    Also read the Beowulf site ([url=http://bofh.be/clusterknoppix/knx-install.htm) it's got quite a bit of useful documentation

    Peace,
    HT
    IT Blog: .:Computer Defense:.
    PnCHd (Pronounced Pinched): Acronym - Point 'n Click Hacked. As in: "That website was pinched" or "The skiddie pinched my computer because I forgot to patch".

  9. #9
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    Hi


    "Clustering" is a very wide field. The request is too broad
    and unspecific, so I try to give an overview, rather than
    writing a book


    On one hand, there is the "physical" layer ie.
    the topology how you connect those CPU's, RAM etc.
    For example, you could use a shared-memory architecture,
    like a cray, or a distributed one, as in the Beowulf cluster.
    However, as far as I understand, you want and are able to build
    kind of a Beowulf cluster. The cheapest way to do so is to connect
    a network card to each motherboard/CPU ( ) and to a hub/switch,
    as it has been mentioned. Depending on what you want to do
    with that cluster, however, a grid or hypercubic topology with
    dedicated connections is more optimal (for this, you would
    need 4 or more network cards per motherboard).


    On the other hand, there is the "logical" layer, ie the
    applications. What is the field of application? Do you want
    to have load-balancing? Or provide high-availability?
    Or perform computational tasks?


    For all this kind of tasks, you need software supporting it.
    I got the impression, you are looking for a transparent solution,
    ie. you plug the computer together, run some software, which
    then enables you to run Doom3 as if it would run on a high-
    performance computer. This, in general, is not possible, as
    far as I know. Of course, you can "load balance" threads/processes
    on various machines - for this, check out the Mosix-projects[1,2],
    besides cluster/parallelKnoppix.


    Here, I omit the "intermediate" layer - the communication between
    the nodes themselves. Quite a few paralleliseable applications are
    developed based on interfaces, like LAM-MPI[3]/MPICH[4].


    Please specify what you want to do in detail, and we/I might be able
    to help you. Find more information at the LCIC[5], read the clustering
    software review[6], but also have a look at clustering solutions
    of microsoft[7,8].



    Cheers

    /edit: I was a bit slow compared to HT

    [1] http://www.mosix.org/
    [2] http://openmosix.sourceforge.net/
    [3] http://www.lam-mpi.org/
    [4] http://www-unix.mcs.anl.gov/mpi/mpich/
    [5] http://lcic.org/
    [6] http://freshmeat.net/articles/view/458/
    [7] http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000...g/default.mspx
    [8] http://www.windowsitpro.com/Article/...2943.html?Ad=1
    (older, but written by Mark RUssinovich)
    If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.
    (Abraham Maslow, Psychologist, 1908-70)

  10. #10
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    IMO, trial and error would be best for you.

    Dont really know if you have the time to try options out, if you dont, just throw together a cluster from one of sites given above. Whaddya got to lose?

    I had a cluster project with some legacy pcs in college. we stripped them and gave the nodes linux red hat (i knew nothing about it at the time) and used a windows "head". Trial and error helps you retain stuff too.

    Its actually (setting up the cluster) quite fun. We used ours to test whether or not we could actually do parallel coding across the campus. Of course we couldnt in a semester's time, but the time spent was fun!
    Difficult takes a day, Impossible takes a week~Kthln01!

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