The previous chapter showed the use of OSCAR to coordinate the many activities that go into setting up and administering a cluster. This chapter discusses another popular kit for accomplishing roughly the same tasks.
NPACI Rocks is a collection of open source software for building a high-performance cluster. The primary design goal for Rocks is to make cluster installation as easy as possible. Unquestionably, they have gone a long way toward meeting this goal. To accomplish this, the default installation makes a number of reasonable assumptions about what software should be included and how the cluster should be configured. Nonetheless, with a little more work, it is possible to customize many aspects of Rocks.
When you install Rocks, you will install both the clustering software and a current version of Red Hat Linux updated to include security patches. The Rocks installation will correctly configure various services, so this is one less thing to worry about. Installing Rocks installs Red Hat Linux, so you won’t be able to add Rocks to an existing server or use it with some other Linux distribution.
Default installations tend to go very quickly and very smoothly. In fact, Rocks’ management strategy assumes that you will deal with software problems on a node by reinstalling the system on that node rather than trying to diagnose and fix the problem. Depending on hardware, it may be possible to reinstall a node in under 10 minutes. Even if your systems take longer, ...