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In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of the degree of


Submitted by
(Register. No: 95550052)


Vellayambalam, Thiruvananthapuram.



Certified that this is a bonafide record of the seminar

work entitled “CLUSTER COMPUTING” by Stimi K.O.
in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the award
of the degree in Master of Computer Applications of
Cochin University of Science and Technology during
the period 2005-2008

Internal Examiner
Place: Thiruvananthapuram


As I submit the final complete form of my seminar

entitled - “CLUSTER COMPUTING”, I wish to express my

gratitude to all who helped and supported me in bringing it to


First of all I want to express my sincere gratitude to

Smt Kumari Roshni V S, Principal, ER & DCI Institute of

Technology for her inspiration and constant encouragement, which

made me take up this seminar and bring it to completion.

I also express my deep sense of gratitude to

Sri.Parameswaran Nampoothiri and Mrs Hudlin Leo and the

teaching faculties at ER &DCI IT who conscientiously helped to

complete this seminar.

Above all, I am extremely thankful to God for giving

me the ability and Endurance for completing this seminar

A computer cluster is a group of loosely coupled
computers that work together closely so that in many respects it can be
viewed as though it were a single computer. Clusters are commonly
connected through fast local area networks. Clusters are usually deployed to
improve speed and/or reliability over that provided by a single computer,
while typically being much more cost-effective than single computers of
comparable speed or reliability. Cluster computing has emerged as a result
of convergence of several trends including the availability of inexpensive
high performance microprocessors and high speed networks, the
development of standard software tools for high performance distributed
computing. Clusters have evolved to support applications ranging from
ecommerce, to high performance database applications. Clustering has
been available since the 1980s when it was used in DEC's VMS systems.
IBM's sysplex is a cluster approach for a mainframe system. Microsoft,
Sun Microsystems, and other leading hardware and software companies
offer clustering packages that are said to offer scalability as well as
availability. Cluster computing can also be used as a relatively low-cost
form of parallel processing for scientific and other applications that lend
themselves to parallel operations.

1. Introduction---------------------------------------------6

2. History-----------------------------------------------------8

3. Clusters----------------------------------------------------9

4. Why Clusters? -------------------------------------------13

5. Comparing old and new--------------------------------15

6. Logical view of Clusters--------------------------------17

7. Architecture-----------------------------------------------19

8. Components of Cluster Computer--------------------29

9. Cluster Classifications-----------------------------------31

10. Issues to be considered---------------------------------32

11. Future Trends-------------------------------------------34

12. Conclusion------------------------------------------------36

13. Reference-------------------------------------------------37

Computing is an evolutionary process. Five generations of
development history— with each generation improving on the previous
one’s technology, architecture, software, applications, and representative
systems—make that clear. As part of this evolution, computing requirements
driven by applications have always outpaced the available technology. So,
system designers have always needed to seek faster, more cost effective
computer systems. Parallel and distributed computing provides the best
solution, by offering computing power that greatly exceeds the technological
limitations of single processor systems. Unfortunately, although the parallel
and distributed computing concept has been with us for over three decades,
the high cost of multiprocessor systems has blocked commercial success so
far. Today, a wide range of applications are hungry for higher computing
power, and even though single processor PCs and workstations now can
provide extremely fast processing; the even faster execution that multiple
processors can achieve by working concurrently is still needed. Now, finally,
costs are falling as well. Networked clusters of commodity PCs and
workstations using off-the-shelf processors and communication platforms
such as Myrinet, Fast Ethernet, and Gigabit Ethernet are becoming
increasingly cost effective and popular. This concept, known as cluster
computing, will surely continue to flourish: clusters can provide enormous
computing power that a pool of users can share or that can be collectively
used to solve a single application. In addition, clusters do not incur a very
high cost, a factor that led to the sad demise of massively parallel machines.

Clusters, built using commodity-off-the-shelf
(COTS) hardware components and free, or commonly used, software, are
playing a major role in solving large-scale science, engineering, and
commercial applications. Cluster computing has emerged as
a result of the convergence of several trends, including the availability of
inexpensive high performance microprocessors and high speed networks, the
development of standard software tools for high performance distributed
computing, and the increasing need of computing power for computational
science and commercial applications.


The first commodity clustering product was ARCnet,

developed by Datapoint in 1977. ARCnet wasn't a commercial success and
clustering didn't really take off until DEC released their VAXcluster product
in the 1980s for the VAX/VMS operating system. The ARCnet and
VAXcluster products not only supported parallel computing, but also shared
file systems and peripheral devices. They were supposed to give you the
advantage of parallel processing while maintaining data reliability and
uniqueness. VAXcluster, now VMScluster, is still available on OpenVMS
systems from HP running on Alpha and Itanium systems.
The history of cluster computing is intimately tied up
with the evolution of networking technology. As networking technology has
become cheaper and faster, cluster computers have become significantly
more attractive.
How to run applications faster?
There are 3 ways to improve performance:
Work Harder
Work Smarter
Get Help
Era of Computing
Rapid technical advances
• the recent advances in VLSI technology
• software technology

• grand challenge applications have become the main driving force
• Parallel computing

Extraordinary technological improvements
over the past few years in areas such as microprocessors, memory, buses,
networks, and software have made it possible to assemble groups of
inexpensive personal computers and/or workstations into a cost effective
system that functions in concert and posses tremendous processing power.
Cluster computing is not new, but in company with other technical
capabilities, particularly in the area of networking, this class of machines is
becoming a highperformance platform for parallel and distributed
applications Scalable computing clusters, ranging from a cluster of
(homogeneous or heterogeneous) PCs or workstations to SMP (Symmetric
Multi Processors), are rapidly becoming the standard platforms for high-
performance and large-scale computing. A cluster is a group of independent
computer systems and thus forms a loosely coupled multiprocessor system
as shown in figure.

However, the cluster computing concept also poses three pressing research

A cluster should be a single computing resource and provide a single system

image. This is in contrast to a distributed system where the nodes serve only
as individual resources.

It must provide scalability by letting the system scale up or down. The

scaled-up system should provide more functionality or better performance.
The system’s total computing power should increase proportionally to the
increase in resources. The main motivation for a scalable system is to
provide a flexible, cost effective Information-processing tool.

The supporting operating system and communication Mechanism must be

efficient enough to remove the performance Bottlenecks.

The concept of Beowulf clusters is originated at the Center of

Excellence in Space Data and Information Sciences (CESDIS), located at the
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. The goal of building a
Beowulf cluster is to create a cost effective parallel computing system from
commodity components to satisfy specific computational requirements for
the earth and space sciences community. The first Beowulf cluster was built
from 16 IntelDX4TM processors connected by a channel bonded 10 Mbps
Ethernet and it ran the Linux operating system. It was an instant success,
demonstrating the concept of using a commodity cluster as an alternative

choice for high-performance computing (HPC).
After the success of the first Beowulf cluster, several more were
built by CESDIS using several generations and families of processors and
network. Beowulf is a concept of clustering commodity computers to form a
parallel, virtual supercomputer. It is easy to build a unique Beowulf cluster
from components that you consider most appropriate for your applications.
Such a system can provide a cost-effective way to gain features and benefits
(fast and reliable services) that have historically been found only on more
expensive proprietary shared memory systems. The typical architecture of a
cluster is shown in Figure 3. As the figure illustrates, numerous design
choices exist for building a Beowulf cluster.

The question may arise why clusters are
designed and built when perfectly good commercial supercomputers are
available on the market. The answer is that the latter is expensive. Clusters
are surprisingly powerful. The supercomputer has come to play a larger role
in business applications. In areas from data mining to fault tolerant
performance clustering technology has become increasingly important.
Commercial products have their place, and there are perfectly good reasons
to buy a commerciallyproduced supercomputer. If it is within our budget and
our applications can keep machines busy all the time, we will also need to
have a data center to keep it in. then there is the budget to keep up with the
maintenance and upgrades that will be required to keep our investment up to
par. However, many who have a need to harness supercomputing power
don’t buy supercomputers because they can’t afford them. Also it is
impossible to upgrade them. Clusters, on the other hand, are cheap and easy
way to take off-the-shelf components and combine them into a single
supercomputer. In some areas of research clusters are actually faster than
commercial supercomputer. Clusters also have the distinct advantage in that
they are simple to build using components available from hundreds of
sources. We don’t even have to use new equipment to build a cluster.

The most obvious benefit of clusters, and the most compelling reason for the
growth in their use, is that they have significantly reduced the cost of
processing power.
One indication of this phenomenon is the Gordon Bell
Award for Price/Performance Achievement in Supercomputing, which many
of the last several years has been awarded to Beowulf type clusters. One of
the most recent entries, the Avalon cluster at Los Alamos National
Laboratory, "demonstrates price/performance an order of magnitude superior
to commercial machines of equivalent performance." This reduction in the
cost of entry to high-power computing (HPC) has been due to co
modification of both hardware and software over the last 10 years
particularly. All the components of computers have dropped dramatically in
that time. The components critical to the development of low cost clusters
1. Processors - commodity processors are now capable of computational
power previously reserved for supercomputers, witness Apple Computer's
recent add campain touting the G4 Macintosh as a supercomputer.
2. Memory - the memory used by these processors has dropped in cost right
with the processors.
3. Networking Components - the most recent group of products to
experience co modification and dramatic cost decreases is networking
hardware. High- Speed networks can now be assembled with these products
for a fraction of the cost necessary only a few years ago.
4. Motherboards, busses, and other sub-systems - all of these have
become commodity products, allowing the assembly of affordable
computers from off the shelf components

Today, open standards-based HPC systems are
being used to solve problems from High-end, floating-point intensive
scientific and engineering problems to data intensive tasks in industry. Some
of the reasons why HPC clusters outperform RISC based systems Include:
Scientists can collaborate in real-time across dispersed locations- bridging
isolated islands of scientific research and discovery- when HPC clusters are
based on open source and building block technology.
HPC clusters can grow in overall capacity because processors and nodes can
be added as demand increases.
Because single points of failure can be eliminated, if any one system
component goes Down, the system as a whole or the solution (multiple
systems) stay highly available.
Ease of technology refresh
Processors, memory, disk or operating system (OS) technology can be easily
updated, And new processors and nodes can be added or upgraded as
Affordable service and support
Compared to proprietary systems, the total cost of ownership can be much
lower. This includes service, support and training.

Vendor lock-in
The age-old problem of proprietary vs. open systems that use industry-
accepted standards is eliminated.
System manageability
The installation, configuration and monitoring of key elements of
proprietary systems is usually accomplished with proprietary technologies,
complicating system management. The servers of an HPC cluster can be
easily managed from a single point using readily available network
infrastructure and enterprise management software.
Reusability of components
Commercial components can be reused, preserving the investment. For
example, older nodes can be deployed as file/print servers, web servers or
other infrastructure servers.
Disaster recovery
Large SMPs are monolithic entities located in one facility. HPC systems can
be collocated or geographically dispersed to make them less susceptible to

A Beowulf cluster uses multi computer architecture,
as depicted in figure. It features a parallel computing system that usually
consists of one or more master nodes and one or more compute nodes, or
cluster nodes, interconnected via widely available network interconnects. All
of the nodes in a typical Beowulf cluster are commodity systems- PCs,
workstations, or servers-running commodity software such as Linux.

The master node acts as a server for Network File System
(NFS) and as a gateway to the outside world. As an NFS server, the master
node provides user file space and other common system software to the
compute nodes via NFS. As a gateway, the master node allows users to gain
access through it to the compute nodes. Usually, the master node is the only
machine that is also connected to the outside world using a second network
interface card (NIC). The sole task of the compute nodes is to execute
parallel jobs. In most cases, therefore, the compute nodes do not have
keyboards, mice, video cards, or monitors. All access to the client nodes is

provided via remote connections from the master node. Because compute
nodes do not need to access machines outside the cluster, nor do machines
outside the cluster need to access compute nodes directly, compute nodes
commonly use private IP addresses, such as the or
address ranges. From a user’s perspective, a Beowulf cluster appears as a
Massively Parallel Processor (MPP) system. The most common methods of
using the system are to access the master node either directly or through
Telnet or remote login from personal workstations. Once on the master node,
users can prepare and compile their parallel applications, and also spawn
jobs on a desired number of compute nodes in the cluster. Applications must
be written in parallel style and use the message-passing programming
model. Jobs of a parallel application are spawned on compute nodes, which
work collaboratively until finishing the application. During the execution,
compute nodes use 10 standard message-passing middleware, such as
Message Passing Interface (MPI) and Parallel Virtual Machine (PVM), to
exchange information.

A cluster is a type of parallel or distributed
processing system, which consists of a collection of interconnected stand-
alone computers cooperatively working together as a single, integrated
computing resource
A node:
• a single or multiprocessor system with memory, I/O facilities, & OS
• generally 2 or more computers (nodes) connected together

• in a single cabinet, or physically separated & connected via a LAN
• appear as a single system to users and applications
• provide a cost-effective way to gain features and benefits

Three principle features usually provided by cluster

computing are availability, scalability and simplification. Availability is
provided by the cluster of computers operating as a single system by
continuing to provide services even when one of the individual computers is
lost due to a hardware failure or other reason. Scalability is provided by the
inherent ability of the overall system to allow new components, such as
computers, to be assed as the overall system's load is increased. The
simplification comes from the ability of the cluster to allow administrators to
manage the entire group as a single system. This greatly simplifies the

management of groups of systems and their applications. The goal of cluster
computing is to facilitate sharing a computer load over several systems
without either the users of system or the administrators needing to know that
more than one system is involved. The Windows NT Server Edition of the
Windows operating system is an example of a base operating system that has
been modified to include architecture that facilitates a cluster computing
environment to be established.
Cluster computing has been employed for over
fifteen years but it is the recent demand for higher availability in small
businesses that has caused an explosion in this field. Electronic databases
and electronic malls have become essential to the daily operation of small
businesses. Access to this critical information by these entities has created a
large demand for cluster computing principle features.

There are some key concepts that must be
understood when forming a cluster computing resource. Nodes or systems
are the individual members of a cluster. They can be computers, servers, and
other such hardware although each node generally has memory and
processing capabilities. If one node becomes unavailable the other nodes can
carry the demand load so that applications or services are always available.
There must be at least two nodes to compose a cluster structure otherwise
they are just called servers. The collection of software on each node that
manages all cluster specific activity is called the cluster service. The cluster
service manages all of the resources, the canonical items in the system, and
sees then as identical opaque objects. Resources can be such things as
physical hardware devices, like disk drives and network cards, logical items,
like logical disk volumes, TCP/IP addresses, applications, and databases.

When a resource is providing its service on a
specific node it is said to be on-line. A collection of resources to be managed
as a single unit is called a group. Groups contain all of the resources
necessary to run a specific application, and if need be, to connect to the
service provided by the application in the case of client systems. These
groups allow administrators to combine resources into larger logical units so
that they can be managed as a unit. This, of course, means that all operations
performed on a group affect all resources contained within that group.
Normally the development of a cluster computing system occurs in phases.
The first phase involves establishing the underpinnings into the base
operating system and building the foundation of the cluster components.
These things should focus on providing enhanced availability to key
applications using storage that is accessible to two nodes. The following
stages occur as the demand increases and should allow for much larger
clusters to be formed. These larger clusters should have a true distribution of
applications, higher performance interconnects, widely distributed storage
for easy accessibility and load balancing. Cluster computing will become
even more prevalent in the future because of the growing needs and
demands of businesses as well as the spread of the Internet.
Clustering Concepts
Clusters are in fact quite simple. They are a bunch of computers tied
together with a network working on a large problem that has been broken
down into smaller pieces. There are a number of different strategies we can
use to tie them together. There are also a number of different software
packages that can be used to make the software side of things work.

The name of the game in high performance computing is parallelism. It is
the quality that allows something to be done in parts that work
independently rather than a task that has so many interlocking dependencies
that it cannot be further broken down. Parallelism operates at two levels:
hardware parallelism and software parallelism.
Hardware Parallelism
On one level hardware parallelism deals with the CPU of an individual
system and how we can squeeze performance out of sub-components of the
CPU that can speed up our code. At another level there is the parallelism that
is gained by having multiple systems working on a computational problem
in a distributed fashion. These systems are known as ‘fine grained’ for
parallelism inside the CPU or having to do with the multiple CPUs in the
same system, or ‘coarse grained’ for parallelism of a collection of separate
systems acting in concerts.
CPU Level Parallelism
A computer’s CPU is commonly pictured as a device that operates on one
instruction after another in a straight line, always completing one-step or
instruction before a new one is started. But new CPU architectures have an
inherent ability to do more than one thing at once. The logic of CPU chip
divides the CPU into multiple execution units. Systems that have multiple
execution units allow the CPU to attempt to process more than one
instruction at a time. Two hardware features of modern CPUs support
multiple execution units: the cache – a small memory inside the CPU. The
pipeline is a small area of memory inside the CPU where instructions that
are next in line to be executed are stored. Both cache and pipeline allow
impressive increases in CPU performances.

System level Parallelism
It is the parallelism of multiple nodes coordinating to work on a problem in
parallel that gives the cluster its power. There are other levels at which even
more parallelism can be introduced into this system. For example if we
decide that each node in our cluster will be a multi CPU system we will be
introducing a fundamental degree of parallel processing at the node level.
Having more than one network interface on each node introduces
communication channels that may be used in parallel to communicate
with other nodes in the cluster. Finally, if we use multiple disk drive
controllers in each node we create parallel data paths that can be used to
increase the performance of I/O subsystem.
Software Parallelism
Software parallelism is the ability to find well defined areas in a problem we
want to solve that can be broken down into self-contained parts. These parts
are the program elements that can be distributed and give us the speedup that
we want to get out of a high performance computing system. Before we can
run a program on a parallel cluster, we have to ensure that the problems we
are trying to solve are amenable to being done in a parallel fashion. Almost
any problem that is composed of smaller subproblems that can be quantified
can be broken down into smaller problems and run on a node on a cluster.
System-Level Middleware
System-level middleware offers Single System Image (SSI) and high
availability infrastructure for processes, memory, storage, I/O, and
networking. The single system image illusion can be implemented using the
hardware or software infrastructure. This unit focuses on SSI at the
operating system or subsystems level.

A modular architecture for SSI allows the use of
services provided by lower level layers to be used for the implementation of
higher-level services. This unit discusses design issues, architecture, and
representative systems for job/resource management, network RAM,
software RAID, single I/O space, and virtual networking. A number of
operating systems have proposed SSI solutions, including MOSIX,
Unixware, and Solaris -MC. It is important to discuss one or more such
systems as they help students to understand architecture and implementation
Message Passing Primitives
Although new high-performance protocols are available for cluster
computing, some instructors may want provide students with a brief
introduction to message passing programs using the BSD Sockets interface
Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) before
introducing more complicated parallel programming with distributed
memory programming tools. If students have already had a course in data
communications or computer networks then this unit should be skipped.
Students should have access to a networked computer lab with the Sockets
libraries enabled. Sockets usually come installed on Linux workstations.
Parallel Programming Using MPI
An introduction to distributed memory programming using a standard tool
such as Message Passing Interface (MPI)[23] is basic to cluster computing.
Current versions of MPI generally assume that programs will be written in
C, C++, or Fortran. However, Java-based versions of MPI are becoming

Application-Level Middleware
Application-level middleware is the layer of software between the operating
system and applications. Middleware provides various services required by
an application to function correctly. A course in cluster programming can
include some coverage of middleware tools such as CORBA, Remote
Procedure Call, Java Remote Method Invocation (RMI), or Jini. Sun
Microsystems has produced a number of Java-based technologies that can
become units in a cluster programming course, including the Java
Development Kit (JDK) product family that consists of the essential tools
and APIs for all developers writing in the Java programming language
through to APIs such as for telephony (JTAPI), database connectivity
(JDBC), 2D and 3D graphics, security as well as electronic commerce.
These technologies enable Java to interoperate with many other devices,
technologies, and software standards.
Single System image
A single system image is the illusion, created by software or hardware, that
presents a collection of resources as one, more powerful resource. SSI makes
the cluster appear like a single machine to the user, to applications, and to
the network. A cluster without a SSI is not a cluster. Every SSI has a
boundary. SSI support can exist at different levels within a system, one able
to be build on another.

Single System Image Benefits
• Provide a simple, straightforward view of all system resources and
activities, from any node of the cluster
• Free the end user from having to know where an application will run
• Free the operator from having to know where a resource is located
• Let the user work with familiar interface and commands and allows
the administrators to manage the entire clusters as a single entity
• Reduce the risk of operator errors, with the result that end users see
improved reliability and higher availability of the system
• Allowing centralize/decentralize system management and control to
avoid the need of skilled administrators from system administration
• Present multiple, cooperating components of an application to the
administrator as a single application

• Greatly simplify system management
• Provide location- independent message communication
• Help track the locations of all resource so that there is no longer any
need for system operators to be concerned with their physical
• Provide transparent process migration and load balancing across
• Improved system response time and performance

High speed networks

Network is the most critical part of a cluster. Its capabilities and performance
directly influences the applicability of the whole system for HPC. Starting
from Local/Wide Area Networks (LAN/WAN) like Fast Ethernet and ATM,
to System Area Networks (SAN) like Myrinet and Memory Channel
Eg. Fast Ethernet
• 100 Mbps over UTP or fiber-optic cable
• MAC protocol: CSMA/CD

1. Multiple High Performance Computers
a. PCs
b. Workstations
2. State of the art Operating Systems
a. Linux (Beowulf)
b. Microsoft NT (Illinois HPVM)
c. SUN Solaris (Berkeley NOW)
d. HP UX (Illinois - PANDA)
e. OS gluing layers(Berkeley Glunix)
3. High Performance Networks/Switches
a. Ethernet (10Mbps),
b. Fast Ethernet (100Mbps),
c. Gigabit Ethernet (1Gbps)
d. Myrinet (1.2Gbps)
e. Digital Memory Channel
4. Network Interface Card
a. Myrinet has NIC
b. User-level access support
5. Fast Communication Protocols and Services
a. Active Messages (Berkeley)
b. Fast Messages (Illinois)
c. U-net (Cornell)
d. XTP (Virginia)

6. Cluster Middleware
a. Single System Image (SSI)
b. System Availability (SA) Infrastructure
7. Hardware
a. DEC Memory Channel, DSM (Alewife, DASH), SMP Techniques
8. Operating System Kernel/Gluing Layers
a. Solaris MC, Unixware, GLUnix
9. Applications and Subsystems
a. Applications (system management and electronic forms)
b. Runtime systems (software DSM, PFS etc.)
c. Resource management and scheduling software (RMS)
10. Parallel Programming Environments and Tools
a. Threads (PCs, SMPs, NOW..)
b. MPI
c. PVM
d. Software DSMs (Shmem)
e. Compilers
f. RAD (rapid application development tools)
g. Debuggers
h. Performance Analysis Tools
i. Visualization Tools
11. Applications
a. Sequential
b. Parallel / Distributed (Cluster-aware app.)

Clusters are classified in to several sections based on the
facts such as 1)Application target 2) Node owner ship 3)
Node Hardware 4) Node operating System 5) Node
Clusters based on Application Target are again classified into
• High Performance (HP) Clusters
• High Availability (HA) Clusters
Clusters based on Node Ownership are again classified into
• Dedicated clusters
• Non-dedicated clusters
Clusters based on Node Hardware are again classified into
• Clusters of PCs (CoPs)
• Clusters of Workstations (COWs)
• Clusters of SMPs (CLUMPs)
Clusters based on Node Operating System are again
classified into:
• Linux Clusters (e.g., Beowulf)
• Solaris Clusters (e.g., Berkeley NOW)
• Digital VMS Clusters
• HP-UX clusters

• Microsoft Wolfpack clusters
Clusters based on Node Configuration are again classified
• Homogeneous Clusters -All nodes will have similar
architectures and run the same OSs
• Heterogeneous Clusters- All nodes will have different
architectures and run different OSs

Cluster Networking
If you are mixing hardware that has different networking technologies, there
will be large differences in the speed with which data will be accessed and
how individual nodes can communicate. If it is in your budget make sure
that all of the machines you want to include in your cluster have similar
networking capabilities, and if at all possible, have network adapters from
the same manufacturer.
Cluster Software
You will have to build versions of clustering software for each kind of
system you include in your cluster.
Our code will have to be written to support the lowest common denominator
for data types supported by the least powerful node in our cluster. With
mixed machines, the more powerful machines will have attributes that
cannot be attained in the powerful machine.
This is the most problematic aspect of heterogeneous cluster. Since these
machines have different performance profile our code will execute at

different rates on the different kinds of nodes. This can cause serious
bottlenecks if a process on one node is waiting for results of a calculation on
a slower node. The second kind of heterogeneous clusters is made from
different machines in the same architectural family: e.g. a collection of Intel
boxes where the machines are different generations or machines of same
generation from different manufacturers.

Network Selection
There are a number of different kinds of network topologies, including
buses, cubes of various degrees, and grids/meshes. These network topologies
will be implemented by use of one or more network interface cards, or NICs,
installed into the head-node and compute nodes of our cluster.
Speed Selection
No matter what topology you choose for your cluster, you will want to get
fastest network that your budget allows. Fortunately, the availability of high
speed computers has also forced the development of high speed networking
systems. Examples are 10Mbit Ethernet, 100Mbit Ethernet, gigabit
networking, channel bonding etc.

As computer networks become cheaper and faster, a new computing
paradigm, called the Grid has evolved. The Grid is a large system of
computing resources that performs tasks and provides to users a single point
of access, commonly based on the World Wide Web interface, to these
distributed resources. Users consider the Grid as a single computational
resource. Resource management software, frequently referenced as
middleware, accepts jobs submitted by users and schedules them for
execution on appropriate systems in the Grid, based upon resource
management policies. Users can submit thousands of jobs at a time without
being concerned about where they run. The Grid may scale from single
systems to supercomputer-class compute farms that utilize thousands of
processors. Depending on the type of applications, the interconnection
between the Grid parts can be performed using dedicated high-speed
networks or the Internet. By providing scalable, secure, high-performance
mechanisms for discovering and negotiating access to remote resources, the
Grid promises to make it possible for scientific collaborations to share
resources on an unprecedented scale, and for geographically distributed
groups to work together in ways that were previously impossible. Several

examples of new applications that benefit from using Grid technology
constitute a coupling of advanced scientific instrumentation or desktop
computers with remote supercomputers; collaborative design of complex
systems via high-bandwidth access to shared resources; ultra-large virtual
supercomputers constructed to solve problems too large to fit on any single
computer; rapid, large-scale parametric studies.
The Grid technology is currently under intensive
development. Major Grid projects include NASA’s Information Power Grid,
two NSF Grid projects (NCSA Alliance’s Virtual Machine Room and
NPACI), the European DataGrid Project and the ASCI Distributed Resource
Management project. Also first Grid tools are already available for
developers. The Globus Toolkit [20] represents one such example and
includes a set of services and software libraries to support Grids and Grid

Clusters are promising
• Solve parallel processing paradox
• Offer incremental growth and matches with funding pattern
• New trends in hardware and software technologies are likely to make
clusters more promising and fill SSI gap.
• Clusters based supercomputers (Linux based clusters) can be seen