Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Re: Free Speech not Free Beer (was Re: Win What?)

Author:Eric Kidd
Posted:6/29/1999; 11:44:05 AM
Topic:Win What?
Msg #:7929 (In response to 7921)
Prev/Next:7928 / 7930

(As before, I'm speaking for myself, not UserLand.)

Now you and your staff have hundreds of Linux machines.

Everybody who's considering Linux should read your post for some healthy realism. Would you mind if I summarized the lessons you learned and added some notes from my own experience?

Meanwhile another person is trying to figure out why the 10/100 NICs don't negotiate a 100 Mb connection after a reboot.

For big Linux rollouts, choose your hardware carefully. If you want to find the best Ethernet card or peripheral for Linux, zap over to VA Linux Systems and read the machine descriptions. They usually know which hardware works best with Linux, and their website provides full specs. Handy, that. :-)

After lengthy negotiaions with the vendor, they finally agree to let you help them port their object database to Linux... [snip] None of the batch systems which meet the project's requirements seem to have been ported to Linux.

Software, software, software. Think twice about using Linux if it doesn't support the software you need. Big Unix applications will usually port painlessly--if they already support several kinds of Unix and you do the groundwork beforehand.

Nonetheless, porting software is a very real expense.

Now that it's all running, a kernel patch comes out which should get the cluster a little closer to linear scalability over multiple processors. Patch the cluster.

Tips for cluster management: Try to keep all the hardware in your cluster identical, and avoid compiling custom kernels for individual machines. I've used tools like AutoRPM to automatically upgrade small clusters before; this can work if done carefully. The Beowulf people (who turn hundreds of Linux machines into computational clusters) also have some good tools for cluster management.

(I'd love to have a "Truth in Advertising" database for Linux, by the way. This would document the known flaws of Linux. Users could know what things to avoid, and open source developers would know what things to fix.)


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