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Carry-on Cluster

While many groups are working on larger and larger clusters, we have developed an interesting alternative: the cluster in the small. The Carry-On Cluster is a portable, eight-processor Pentium III-based Linux cluster connected with a Fast Ethernet switch. It also includes an 802.11b base station for wireless access. The cluster is packaged in a single roll-along carry-on case.

Why a carry-on cluster? There are times that we need to run demonstrations and tutorials at remote sites. These arrangements might be difficult or impossible because:

• The remote sites often do not have suitable hardware available, for example at hotel meeting rooms.

• If suitable hardware is available, it is difficult to ensure that the systems have a reasonable software configuration, including the correct versions of libraries, compilers, operating system, architecture, interconnect network, and user interface. Differences in any of these areas can kill a demo.

• Running a demo remotely using machines from our home site is, at best, awkward and often impossible. Unpredictable bandwidth on the Internet can make the remote access painful and disrupt a demo, while firewalls and gateways may make a demo impossible.

The carry-on cluster provides a complete, self-contained, pre-configured parallel computer, requiring only a single power outlet.

Cluster specifications

Nodes: Cell Computing, Inc. (8)
    Processor: Intel Pentium III (Coppermine) 500 MHz
    RAM:  256 MB per node
    Disk:  6 GB per node
    Network:  100baseT connector
    Other connectors (each node):  keyboard, XVGA, PC card, USB, serial
    Interconnect:  Netgear 16-port 10/100baseT switch
    Wireless:  D-Link DWL-650 802.11B wireless PC card configured as an Access Point

Operating System:  Red Hat 6.2 (Linux kernel v2.4.10)
Case type:  Zeroller model 107ZRX
Case size:  21" x 13" x 8.6"

For more information contact: paradyn@cs.wisc.edu


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