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Let me explain. I have a Turion64 X2 processor (laptop) and while studying OpenMP everything works fine, but soon I'll have to be working on some MPI programs. Will I have to go to the Univ. and work with them there (we have several teaching small clusters just for this purpose ... and some student related calculations at night)?

In hope of circumventing that I was wondering is it possible to create a virtual distributed cluster, which would help me in running my MPI programs ...

Generally, I'm not a system admin, so I have no idea if any of this makes sense ... so help me out here. If it does...

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3 Answers 3

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Creating virtual machines to run different programs doesn't add processor power or Ram to the PC but rather sucks more of those resources. It's probably best to be using the Universities cluster. Perhaps you can telnet into those clusters from home, thus making things a little bit easier.

Take a look at this if you are still wanting to create a virtual cluster

warning it looks long and complicated, but i didn't read all the 23 pages of the post.

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It is not a particularly powerful laptop, so performance loss is expected. But I'm quite satisfied with that - I just need it to "emulate" a cluster, in my early learning phases, so I can work home and not waste time for others, by avoiding some simple mistakes (irrelevant to performance - more relevant to "learning the system and how it works"). Do you know perhaps what software/installation would be needed for setting up a configuration like that ? –  Rook Aug 31 '10 at 19:18

In theory yes you can run distributed applications on multiple virtual machines running on a single physical machine. You'd never want to run that in a production environment but for learning the only downside would be performance.

A Dual core laptop running at least 2 virtual machines on a host OS is likely to cause slow downs for you. Though that entirely depends on the processing power, installed RAM and Hard Drive stats.

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It is not a particularly powerful laptop, so performance loss is expected. But I'm quite satisfied with that - I just need it to "emulate" a cluster, in my early learning phases, so I can work home and not waste time for others, by avoiding some simple mistakes. Do you know perhaps what software/installation would be needed for setting up a configuration like that ? –  Rook Aug 31 '10 at 19:17
    
I'd recommend VirtualBox but any virtualisation software would do. In terms of clustering it's normally an OS or application level thing so pick your OS of choice (or required by the app you mentioned) install it on a couple of virtual machines and install your app then configure your clustering. –  chunkyb2002 Aug 31 '10 at 20:48

If the uni has a cluster, you don't need to go there. You can access it by ssh.

But if you want it portable, offline, etc. Download VirtualBox, install the same flavor of *nix that the uni has, repeat so you have two, and now you have 3 OS's (your host plus two virtual) and you can practice your MPI code.

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why repeat when you can clone a VM? Much faster ;) –  whitequark Aug 31 '10 at 19:30

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