Bits & Bytes online Edition

Linux-Clusters: Consolidation of the Used Distribution

Christoph Hanke

When the first Linux Clusters in blade-center technology were installed at RZG in January 2003, the desktop operating system 'RedHat 9' was used. This distribution became outdated soon and a distribution with a longer life-cycle was required. Another drawback were missing software-drivers for the 'state-of-the-art' hardware usually installed at RZG. For this reason, the commercial distribution SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 (SLES9) has been chosen. It is guaranteed to be supported for many years and most hardware-vendors provide drivers for it, when there is none for this hardware in the official kernel.

The 64 Bit-Opteron clusters have always been run with SLES9, the 32 Bit clusters are now upgraded to this distribution. This eases the management and the synchronization of the software stack available on both the 32 Bit and 64 Bit linux cluster-nodes dramatically.

On the server side, however, some applications may require different distributions, such as 'Scientific Linux', so that also in the future more than one Linux-distribution will be in use at RZG.