This document describes how we set up our Linux computing clusters for high-performance computing which we need for our research.
Use the information below at your own risk. I disclaim all responsibility for anything you may do after reading this HOWTO. The latest version of this HOWTO will always be available at http://www.ram.org/computing/linux/linux_cluster.html.
Unlike other documentation that talks about setting up clusters in a general way, this is a specific description of how our lab is setup and includes not only details the compute aspects, but also the desktop, laptop, and public server aspects. This is done mainly for local use, but I put it up on the web since I received several e-mail messages based on my newsgroup query requesting the same information. Even today, as I plan another 64-node cluster, I find that there is a dearth of information about exactly how to assemble components to form a node that works reliably under Linux that includes information not only about the compute nodes, but about hardware that needs to work well with the nodes for productive research to happen. The main use of this HOWTO as it stands is that it's a report on what kind of hardware works well with Linux and what kind of hardware doesn't.