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  1. #1

    Linux vs Mac for a cluster

    Hi. I know there is a "vs" in the title, but I don't mean it to start any fights. I'm pretty sure that any Mac fanboys would lose pretty badly here anyway.

    Also, for the record, I'm sorta cross-posting (I can't post urls yet, but you'll find a similar thread on Tom's Hardware), but this thread is intended to address the software side of things.

    I'm helping to set up a cluster for high-performance parallel computing. I'm wondering if we can come up with an objective comparison between using linux vs mac for such a purpose.

    I'm really just looking for some comments, maybe some links to reputable resources, etc. Compelling reasons to use one over the other. Things to consider on the software side of things when setting up a clustered environment.

    Other particulars that would be nice are candidates for cluster software (i.e. alternatives to Pooch for Mac). And what would be some good linux distros to choose.

    Thanks to all for any advice.

  2. #2
    Penguin of trust elija's Avatar
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    Jul 2004
    Either at home or at work or down the pub
    I know pretty much nothing about Macs and I know nearly that much about setting up and administering a cluster but that said:

    For me, Linux would win hands down on the basis of freedom and cost and therefore scalability. It also runs on a wider variety of hardware so I could plug in cheaper commodity boxes if needed. But if this was a real project then two very important questions would need to be addressed before any other decisions were made.

    1. What are the people administering the cluster experienced in?
    2. Do you have or can you get an appropriate budget for your hardware and software?

    Oh and cross-posting usually refers to creating many versions of the same thread on a single site. There is nothing wrong with asking a question at many communities. In fact it may be better in a case of a thread like this as you will get wider opinions.
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  3. #3
    Hi. Good points you raised. Especially that of scalability.

    1. Out of the members of the group involved, I would probably have the keenest interest in administering, and I'm way more comfortable with linux.

    2. We have a fixed budget, which is why I'm starting this discussion in the first place. I think we'll get quite a bit more power per dollar with a linux-based system.

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