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Cluster computers provide a low-cost alternative to multiprocessor systems for many applications. Building a cluster computer is within the reach of any computer user with solid C programming skills and a knowledge of operating systems, hardware, and networking. This book leads you through the design and assembly of such a system, and shows you how to mearsure and tune its overall performance.
A cluster computer is a multicomputer, a network of node computers running distributed software that makes them work together as a team. Distributed software turns a collection of networked computers into a distributed system. It presents the user with a single-system image and gives the system its personality. Software can turn a network of computers into a transaction processor, a supercomputer, or even a novel design of your own.
Some of the techniques used in this book's distributed algorithms might be new to many readers, so several of the chapters are dedicated to such topics. You will learn about the hardware needed to network several PCs, the operating system files that need to be changed to support that network, and the multitasking and the interprocess communications skills needed to put the network to good use.
Finally, there is a simple distributed transaction processing application in the book. Readers can experiment with it, customize it, or use it as a basis for something completely different.
You can download all the source files by chapter, or get a complete Linux userís environment that includes all the source and header files, their make files, etc.
Here are the details, assuming you have downloaded chief.tar.gz into the /tmp directory. (It can be in a directory of your choosing, but the example assumes it's in /tmp.)
It will remind you to set chief's password. Do it
It will ask you for a password, and then ask you to retype that same password for confirmation.
Log out as root, and in as chief. From it's home directory, extract all the files from the tar file:
Now log out as chief, and back in again as chief. (This is an easy way to set up the new environment, etc., for this new user ID.)
You're done! Snoop around and check out the files in each subdirectory. Typing "make" from any of the source subdirectories will rebuild that set of programs. Typing "make" from your home directory will rebuild everything.
In the bin subdirectory, you will find a few scripts that will help you in testing, and a backchief that assumes you have a /backups directory that chief can access.
If you mess anything up, a copy of the chief.tar.gz file will come in handy as a Plan B - enjoy!