Getting Started  //  Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Beginning in September 2008, I have been tasked with rebuilding the Grid for the Elon University Department of Computing Sciences. The Grid will be a collection of consumer hardware in the form of Dell desktops. Eight of these machines will serve as the horsepower for the Grid, while a single Dell server tower will function as the scheduler and filesystem host.

Over the course of the coming months, I will share my experiences in developing this grid, all of my research into current best-practices, and any snags I hit along the way. My goal is to develop the best possible system for my buck (where my is defined as Elon University), and to hopefully learn something of distributed system design and Linux systems administration.

Moving away from the goals and overview, I will delve into some of the more technical (and thereby interesting) aspects of my project. I already stated that I will be using consumer hardware of the Dell variety, but here are some more specific details of each grid component:

  • 1 Intel Core 2 Duo Processor
  • 2GB 667MHz RAM
  • 160GB HDD
  • 1 Gigabit Ethernet Port
I have managed to forget the exact model of machine, but will update as soon as I can make it back to the lab to check. I also do not have any technical specifications for the scheduler, but to quote my professor, "it's a beast." It has something on the order of 1TB storage, but beyond that, all I know is that it's big, loud, and a Dell.

Among other things, I know this about the software:

Again, more to come as I know it. Suggestions are welcome, but I will be making the final decisions based on feedback from my supervisor. Also, I hope to try and get some pictures of my efforts online as things start taking shape.

Cheers 'til then,


Update: The machines are Dell Optiplex 755. Lots of USB ports, and really quiet!

posted by Christian @ 7:02 AM

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