Tres chic Linux clustering

Network administrators looking for a free tool to manage a cluster of Linux nodes might want to check out Clic, an open-source project with a French flavor.

Work on Clic is being done by a collaboration of Linux distributor MandrakeSoft, Bull, a French systems integration and technology firm, and RNTL, a French government research and technology laboratory. The software is designed to manage a cluster of up to 40 low-cost Linux servers or PCs to act as a distributed computing system.

Clic was tested on clusters of 20 and 40 Linux machines running dual AMD processors at LPM2C, a physics research center in France. Clic developers say Clic support for Intel processors will be out next year.

The Clic software includes an autoconfiguration tool for setting up a Linux cluster. Also included is support for MPICH, a version of the Message Passing Interface (MPI) for connecting machines together in a parallel computing setup. They even threw in an application to run on your new cluster - Netjuggler, a virtual reality 3D engine.

Nodes on a Clic cluster are connected via Fast Ethernet connections, and PXE- [Preboot EXecution Environment] capable NICs are required in the clustered Linux machines, in order for the nodes to be booted from a central machine over a LAN. 3D accelerator cards in the machines are also required to run the Netjuggler application. For some reason, Clic does not support SCSI drives in the clustered nodes. Ces't la vie.