First cluster project

Justin C. Darby jdarby at
Fri Mar 4 07:42:00 CET 2005

Hi folks,

I'm just posting the first message of what I hope is a few updates to
getting my current work project on-line. Some of you know me from the wiki
(which I've been busy working on the outline of this project for and have
neglected working on the last couple of days).

After getting some very appreicated advice from Yhlu, I'm going to be
installing LinuxBIOS on a three machines as part of a ColdFusion web
server cluster in the very near future. I do not beleive the board we're
going to be using is in the tree yet (but I am assured it will be soon).

The board we're going to use is the Tyan Thunder K8WE (S2895) with the
Ultra 320 SCSI controller. It's going to boot from IDE-CF, and the OS
install will exist on the SCSI disks. All 3 machines will have BIOS
Saviors installed on them (to make emergency repairs easier on my not so
technically inclined coworkers).

I'm going to document (hopefully) the entire process of getting the system
running to the wiki, and if I can get good information from Yhlu and the
rest of you, that will include building everything from source. The plan
right now is to use LinuxBIOS + Etherboot to boot off of the IDE CF card,
since booting from SCSI is more problematic (from what I hear). The
systems will be using ATI Raedon chipset PCI express cards.

This isin't a high capacity cluster in the sense most of you use, but it
is a situation where we need every second to count as this is the first
project we are going to be striving for 99.999 on internally.

Other things we're using and I'm going to be documenting (but not likely
in the wiki for LinuxBIOS).. these may be of interest to some folks here:

* Lustre (If I can get a good dialogue with the ClusterFS folks started..
still waiting to hear from them. I need to mirror two hard disks over
1000mbit tcp/ip for redundancy.)
* Debian/AMD-64 hosting a chrooted CentOS/i386 enviroment to run
ColdFusion (ColdFusion requires RHEL/SUSE server.. we're going to give it
a shot on CentOS because of the absuredly high cost of RHEL/SUSE server in
our enviroment and the fact we can't run a native AMD64 built of it with
ColdFusion anyway).
* A custom loadbalancer module with keepalive for Apache I've written that
I am still trying to get approval for releasing to the public (it's not
quite done yet, anyhow -- only supports GET and POST, not HEAD, and POST
support hasn't been well tested).
* A custom configuration module for Apache that's still experimental on my
part that allows virtualhost definitions to reside on a MySQL (or SQL Lite
to remove the dependancy on MySQL only) server (if I can get this to work,
I will also be pushing to release this to the public).
* A set of patches to ProFTPD to allow authentication over MySQL (these
will likely be contributed back to the ProFTPD development team).

Anyhow, I'll provide more information to anyone who wants it. The idea
isin't 100% intact, yet, we're still hammering out final details.


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