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Creating a Temporary Cluster

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Old   February 7, 2019, 09:48
Default Creating a Temporary Cluster
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Joshua Brickel
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I was wondering if anyone has experience in creating a system where say one has three computers that normally work separately, but on occasion they work as a cluster to solve larger problems.

The advantage for us would be that normally 3 people will have fairly powerful computers, but when required we can combine them together for a particularly large/long problem.

How difficult is this to do? I am using Ansys CFX.

Would I need to set up the computers to dual boot, once as an individual machine and on a cluster configuration? If possible, how long would it take to turnover from one configuration to the other.

Or am I just looking for trouble....
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Old   February 11, 2019, 12:22
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Erik
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I do this at work with 5 computers and everything is seamless. All 5 users on the 5 machines can continue working normally while I and others can solve on the "cluster" of those 5 computers. No configuration switching needed, the machines can function as both 5 separate machines and a cluster simultaneously. I guess really it could be 5 clusters, as each machine can act as the head node and run the other 4 machines distributed, even at the same time.

Just follow the normal CFX distributed setup in the documentation.

I will expect followup questions on this standard CFX parallel process, it isn't simple the first time depending on you computer setup knowledge.
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Old   February 12, 2019, 11:45
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Thanks for the answer. Do you use Ethernet or infiniband for your clustering? I've heard with only a few computers infiniband doesn't really offer that much of an advantage, but if you have any experience I would be happy to hear it.
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Old   February 12, 2019, 13:25
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I use infiniband, since this cluster is also used for ANSYS mechanical FEA, which seems to need better node to node communication.

Though I ran one test using CFX and a large model using 1Gbps ethernet. Going from 1 machine to 2 machines showed almost perfectly linear speedup. (99.7%) this was using 4 cores on 1 machine vs 4 cores on each machine (8 total). So Yes, with just a few nodes, GigE shouldn't slow you down too much, if at all.

More nodes, or smaller models might not scale as well.
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