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I have 7 PC's around the house that total more than 10Ghz in CPU power. I was wondering if I could put them to use building my own "cloud computing" network to help with rendering videos, blender animations, Photoshop effects, or anything else.

Does something like this exists - and if so what is it called and where do I find it?

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Nice question! I will definitely flag this for future reference. I'm looking forward to seeing what kind of answers make it onto this post. Hopefully it won't get moved. – nicorellius May 3 '10 at 23:18
there's not really one right answer for this question. converting to wiki. – quack quixote May 4 '10 at 0:52
One thing for sure: Your electricity bill is about to go up big time! – marcusw May 4 '10 at 2:00
up vote 7 down vote accepted

What you should be searching for is "Cluster."

The "Cloud" is basically shorthand for "my processes are the problem of some provider out on the internets." If you're doing it locally, you're doing clustering, and people have been doing it for the stuff you're talking about for a good while now. If you're selling that computing power to someone one on the internet, you're their cloud.

Popular clustering frameworks include Beowulf/Scyld, openMosix (no longer in development, but still used), OSCAR, or MPI

There are also distributed processing algorithms (i.e. Grid Computing, a term which is often used synonymously with "Cloud Computing") like those used for SETI@home, or Folding@Home. Both of those projects are currently running BOINC which is pretty nice.

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Which do you think would be the easiest to get up and running with? – Xeoncross May 4 '10 at 2:22
It would be very easy to set up a cluster using Rocks linux and then write your programs using MPI to handle inter process communication. – spowers May 5 '10 at 22:12

What system are you planning to use? If your choice will be some flavour of GNU/Linux, I'll suggest you to take a look at OSCAR (Open Source Cluster Application Resources).

This is the easier way to run a Beowulf HPC (AFAIK).

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Ubuntu have wrapped a nice Enterprise Cloud thats great for running 'basic' services instead of high end computing stuff. Eg if you are looking for a fail proof apache setup etc etc UEC is very good, especially considering its ability to expand to Amazons EC2 if the cluster reached capacity.

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Weird, I use Ubuntu for some of my work but I didn't even know about this! It looks like just what I wanted! Thanks! – Xeoncross May 4 '10 at 16:46

Take a look at Apache Hadoop for doing distributed computing.

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I'm not sure if it matches your specific requirements, but Tonido may fit the bill - here's a link to a review of it:

or the actual site for download:

It's free for the most part - payment would only be required if you want to offer guest access to your cloud for instance.

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Welcome to Superuser, Could you provide more information as to how it fits the needs of Xeoncross? – 50-3 Sep 24 '13 at 1:47

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