To users of cluster computing, OSCAR is a familiar platform, especially to those who believe in the values of open source software. Commonly OSCAR or Open Cluster Application Resources, a Linux-based software is used for a Beowulf generic computing cluster of high quality.
Typically, Beowulf Clusters use “commodity” hardware, like those used commonly in PCs to generate a high-performance parallel computing cluster. These clusters are unique in the sense that they use identical commodity computer and create a cluster- network of libraries, programs for sharing processing functions.
However, there is distinction here, Linux-based clusters that are designed more for reliability rather than speed are not considered to be Beowulf Clusters.
Normally, Beowulf Clusters run on Unix-based OS- from solaris, BSD and Linux and are used extensively in scientific computing applications.
However, Beowulf Cluster’s have to be provisioned for operating systems and other software and this is where OSCAR plays a critical role. OSCAR installs over a standard Linux-based distribution installed at the cluster’s head node.
OSCAR handles the provisioning of software automatically or follow user-specified provisioning of selected packages. Customized disk images are then used to provision computational nodes in the cluster as the required software, administrative tools for immediate use. Adding to the user experience is the testing architecture, which is robust, extensive and ensures your cluster setup is faultless.
OSCAR essentially offers a default setup that is ideal for scientific computing with the message passing interface MPI implementation. OSCAR’s principal strengths come from its capability to switch between several MPI implementations in a single cluster itself. The switching between MPI can be enabled at the default level of the system as well as the individual level of the user.
The key words with OSCAR functions are high, performance, computing or as they are called HPC. In a nutshell OSCAR takes Beowulf Clusters and scales their performance with the available commodity hardware resources for private network systems. The entire functionality is performed within the Linux framework. Therefore, the best part of OSCAR is that it supports almost every Linux distro including Open SUSE, Ubuntu, Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Why users find OSCAR so easy to use is for one simple yet very powerful technicality.
The nodes of the network are not available at every network-members desktop. Instead, these desktops will become executors/processors and handle efficiently the delegated cluster job. With a single-node entry point into the network, the entire HPC tasking is handled from outside the native environment.
Beowulf and OSCAR twinning
Beowulf, is a name derived from an English epic poem’s hero, “Beowulf“ by the founder duo Beowulf Thomas Sterling and his partner Donald Becker at NASA. Beowulf, the legendary character, is manifested with the grasp of thirty men in the fist of one hand. With such a dramatic, historical backdrop, Beowulf Clusters are nearly delivering on the founders’ vision!
OSCAR with its HPC is the star support cast Beowulf Clusters will lean on to bring greater capabilities to (Holly Wood) of Open source!