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Scyld's new cluster has Linux distro, Ganglia inside

An IDC analyst says Scyld Software is taking a unique approach with the newest release of its Linux distribution and clustering bundle.

BOSTON - Scyld Software has added performance monitoring capabilities and hardware and customer support in the newest version of its Scyld Beowulf Series 29.

Scyld, a subsidiary of Penguin Computing, unveiled the cz-5 release of its all-in-one Linux distribution, clustering and clustering management bundle at the LinuxWorld Expo & Conference today. The new version will begin shipping in March, 2005.

In the new release, Scyld has added the open source Ganglia distributed monitoring system to enhance the single-point management capabilities of its BeoMaster cluster management tool. Scyld's approach with Ganglia is to use the BeoMaster subsystem and APIs for data collection. The system automatically monitors current and past resource utilization statistics, including processor load, memory utilization, and inter-processor communication


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Ganglia's capabilities and a graphical administration interface allow users to see what's running on the cluster and how well its running.

"The BeoMaster set of components and services ties the nodes together and provides a centralized set of capabilities that make the cluster function," said Walt Wallach, Scyld vice president of software engineering.

Scyld is on the right track with it's single-point administration model, said Addison Snell, IDC research director for high performance computing.

"The concept of having a master node that everything gets administered through is one of the things administrators would like to have in a cluster," he said.

Series 20 cz-5 includes a full-scale Linux distribution, and that simplifies installation and administration of the cluster, said Marco Annaratone, Scyld vice president and general manager.

"What you're left with is a cluster," Annaratone said. "Adding compute nodes to that cluster requires nothing more than connecting them to the network and turning them on."

There is no additional deployment or ongoing maintenance, Annaratone said, and no need to layer additional management tools to make sure that all patches are deployed at the same time.

"Bundling in a Linux distribution is definitely an interesting and unique approach," said IDC's Snell. So is coupling a BeoMaster node with that distribution. "The target is to standardize the cluster, making administration easier in the long term," he said.

One of the challenges presented by Linux is that there are a lot of independently-developed Linux offerings available.

"An administrator in a company looking to migrate things over to Linux might have a challenge in version control of Linux across an enterprise," Snell said. "Scyld is hoping to standardize that and simplify that decision for the administrator."

On the support side, Scyld's new support portal offers anytime technical services and community features for sharing cluster and application information. Hardware support for Penguin's BladeRunner blade server line is another new option with Scyld Beowulf Series 29 cz-5.

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