Cluster computing is often associated with Linux, but this is equally possible to set up with FreeBSD, which, in fact, can be used for a lot of specific purposes.

Brooks Davis presented an interesting and helpful paper at the New York City * BSD User Group back in 2003.

Since late 2000 we have developed and maintained a general purpose technical and scientific computing cluster running the FreeBSD operating system. In that time we have grown from a cluster of 8 dual Intel Pentium III systems to our current mix of 64 dual, quad-core Intel Xeon and 289 dual AMD Opteron systems.

In this talk we reflect on the system architecture as documented in our BSDCon 2003 paper “Building a High-performance Computing Cluster Using FreeBSD” and our changes since that time. After a brief overview of the current cluster we revisit the architectural decisions in that paper and reflect on their long term success. We then discuss lessons learned in the process. Finally, we conclude with thoughts on future cluster expansion and designs.

Building a High-performance Computing Cluster Using FreeBSD

Listen to the presentation (MP3) or read Brooks FreeBSD Clustering paper