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Building Linux Clusters

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Spotlight Customer Reviews

Average Customer Rating: 2.62

Customer Rating: 3
Summary: Perhaps a good Intro
Comment: The beginning of this book is a great introduction to clustering of various types but slowly declinced in usefulness the further I read.

Let me back up a step or two.. My work wanted me to build a Beowulf cluster to have on hand for a possible product down the line. At the time this book was not available so I resorted to reading all I could online in the form of FAQ's, HOW-TO's and general information sites. They were very informative and gave me a good base and reference when it came to building the cluster.

While I was building the cluster, I finally received this book and was rather disappointed. The beginning was great, but the chapters regarding software to run the cluster were terrible. Too many pages were spent talking about cluster administration using -one- software package and installation instructions were too rudimentary. I figure, if you don't know how to install RedHat, you shouldn't be building a Beowulf cluster. There was also very little info about creating applications for the cluster. The book -is- titled Building Linux Clusters, but what good is a cluster without any software to run on it.

I guess I make it sound worse than it really is but the previous reviews make it sound better than it is. It's a great introduction to Beowulf clusters but coming from someone that built one, read as much as you can about clusters online, read this book, then just build one from the ground up. Don't use the included software the first time around. It may be a pain to setup at first, but once it works and comes time to building applications or using it for something useful, you'll be glad.

Customer Rating: 5
Summary: The Author Responds
Comment: While I can sympathize with some readers who may have been expecting a different book that covered the topic of cluster building in a different way, I would like to respond with several facts to clarify issues surrounding "Building Linux Clusters":

1) The book, as published, is not the final draft given to the editors at O'Reilly. When the book was ready to be put into O'Reilly's publishing system the then-editor of this series left to pursue a career at VALinux; the copy of the book put into the system is missing was over 2 months old and missing 50-100 pages of changes/additions/updates and other corrections that are not reflected in the printed book. This was discovered by me only when the book was delivered to stores -- at which time (obviously) it was too late to do anything about it.

2) Despite the issues surrounding which version of the book went into production, the book sold over 10,000 copies out of a printing of 12,000: O'Reilly decided not to issue a 2nd edition for a number of reasons, including the fact that many of the facilities I documented in the book (such as MPI, PVM and tools for cluster management, parallel rendering, etc.) were subsequently available pre-installed in many major Linux distributions which obviated the need for a dedicated book on cluster building.

3) Many, many readers have had great success with the book and have written to tell me so, including several readers who were able to build 100+ node clusters in a matters of a few hours using the software provided with the book.

4) A large number of software-related problems experienced by readers came about as readers attempted to build new distributions (RedHat7, RedHat8, etc.) based on the original software (based on RedHat6.2) provided with the book. Where possible I proved many hundred of hours of assistance to such readers.

5) Updated software and other tools were made available both at O'Reilly's web site as well as my own to help readers who found that certain tools would not work on their configurations and have been downloaded and successfully used thousands of times.

Customer Rating: 1
Summary: Good cluster overview - bad installation instructions
Comment: This book describes a good overview of what a cluster is and how it operates, but the installation instructions were horrible, directories on CDROM were different than stated in the text, files were located in the wrong directories, kernel had to be modified to use network card, etc. Didn't anyone try to build a cluster using this text before it went to print? I'll keep looking for another book on clustering.