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Subject: Re: [OMPI users] cluster LiveCD
From: Adam C Powell IV (hazelsct_at_[hidden])
Date: 2008-08-06 18:05:23


On Tue, 2008-08-05 at 17:01 -0500, Ben Payne wrote:
> Hello. I am not sure if this is the correct list to ask this
> question, so if you know of a more appropriate one please let me know.
>
> I think am looking for a LiveCD that supports MPI, specifically one
> that has mpif90 built in, and can easily mount external (USB) drives
> for storing data.
>
> I have access to 40 Windows computers in a lab that rarely gets used.
> I would like to use the computers to run a cluster during the
> weekends, but be able to not mess with the Windows installation that
> exists on the hard drive. Because of this, I think a LiveCD would be
> good, and one that supports PXE booting is even better. If there is a
> better way to do this (run MPI, not disrupt Windows) please let me
> know.

The easiest way to do what you want is probably to netboot from a server
on the subnet with NFS-root. That way you don't need to make a bunch of
new CDs to upgrade a single piece of software. Just upgrade/modify the
environment on the server, and everybody else upgrades instantly.

Turn on the server and reboot the machines, and you're in Linux with
MPI. Disable PXE at the server and reboot and you're back in Windows.

LTSP has some tools to do this, as does the Debian package lessdisks.
The basic principle is in http://wiki.debian.org/DebianLive and
http://wiki.debian.org/DebianEdu/HowTo/LtspDisklessWorkstation . The
old diskless package did this beautifully, but bitrotted and is
deprecated due to lack of maintenance.

-Adam

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