In Search of Clusters: The Battle in Lowly Parallel Computing

In Search of Clusters: The Battle in Lowly Parallel Computing

by Gregory Pfister (Author)

Synopsis

As Microsoft's much-touted Wolfpack Cluster Server shows, clustering technology has arrived in the marketplace. Clustering is now a strategic direction for Microsoft, Compaq, IBM, Sun, DEC, Novell, and every other large computer company - and their products are rolling out now. This comprehensive, highly-readable guide helps you make sense of clustering in all its forms, not just a single company's offering. Gregory Pfister - one of the world's most respected experts on clustering technology - delivers all the information you need to make critical strategic decisions. He introduces the primary hardware and software technologies involved in clusters, and shows why they have become popular - and will become increasingly important. He presents the background that system planners, purchasers, designers and architects need to make effective use of clustering. He compares different types of clusters and the workloads they are best used for. He presents a detailed comparison of clusters with symmetric multiprocessing -- demonstrating major differences that are often papered over. The book contains extensive new coverage of availability issues, as well as detailed coverage of Non-Uniform Memory Access (NUMA), the technology at the heart of new offerings from Sequent, HP, Pyramid, NCR and others. Pfister is a prophet with an attitude... - Norris Parker Smith, HPCWire.

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More Information

Format: Paperback
Pages: 608
Edition: 2
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Published: 12 Dec 1997

ISBN 10: 0138997098
ISBN 13: 9780138997090
Book Overview:

As Microsoft's much-touted Wolfpack Cluster Server shows, clustering technology has arrived in the marketplace. Clustering is now a strategic direction for Microsoft, Compaq, IBM, Sun, DEC, Novell, and every other large computer company - and their products are rolling out now. This comprehensive, highly-readable guide helps you make sense of clustering in all its forms, not just a single company's offering. Gregory Pfister - one of the world's most respected experts on clustering technology - delivers all the information you need to make critical strategic decisions. He introduces the primary hardware and software technologies involved in clusters, and shows why they have become popular - and will become increasingly important. He presents the background that system planners, purchasers, designers and architects need to make effective use of clustering. He compares different types of clusters and the workloads they are best used for. He presents a detailed comparison of clusters with symmetric multiprocessing -- demonstrating major differences that are often papered over. The book contains extensive new coverage of availability issues, as well as detailed coverage of Non-Uniform Memory Access (NUMA), the technology at the heart of new offerings from Sequent, HP, Pyramid, NCR and others. Pfister is a prophet with an attitude... - Norris Parker Smith, HPCWire.


Media Reviews

Simon Guerrero (w-beard@netcomuk.co.uk) from Stone, Staffordshire UK ,
04/23/98, rating=10:



Learn about clusters without falling asleep


About a month ago I started work on a project running on a small cluster and
involving the Oracle 8 Parallel Server at a low level (writing the Distributed
Lock Manager support libraries for a certain OS). At this point, I'd never used
(or even seen!) a clustered system, and I knew nothing about clusters at all.
Then a colleague loaned me the first edition of Dr Pfister's book. Unwilling
to be over-eager to learn anything out of 'paid' time, I opened the book with
some trepidation, expecting to find the usual dessicated prose and tons of
TLAs. What a pleasant surprise! From the 'legal stuff' at the front of the book
('a kind of garlic'), right through to the bibliography ('I found this paper
almost unreadable'), the author understands the need of the reader to remain
conscious through what is potentially the dullest of subjects and emerge,
slightly surprised ('Did I actually enjoy that?') at the other end. Thousands
of college lecturers have a lot to learn from this man!



The second edition of the book is more a re-write than an update, and just as
packed with anecdotes, humour (right down to pseudo-Paul Simon lyrics - people
were hanged for less in the Wild West), and at the same time, probably the most
thorough explanations of the why/how/when/wheres of clustering you will find in
any book. As the quote on the back says 'This book is what would happen if
Scott Adams wrote a book on parallel computers'... Full marks!

Author Bio

GREGORY PFISTER obtained his Ph.D. from MIT. He has been an Instructor at MIT, an Assistant Professor at the University of California, Berkeley. For many years, he has been a member of IBM's R&D staff, currently at a senior level. He holds six patents in parallel processing.