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I would like to create a cluster of computers in order to run a virtual machine server (preferably vmware) as if the cluster were 1 big machine.

What software and OS do I need for this and how do I need to configure it? Is there a way to balance the load of any applications over a cluster or do applications need to be built in a certain way to be able to spread them out over a cluster?

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3 Answers 3

To do this, the software you're running needs to be cluster-aware and support the scenarios you want to use. You can't just take any application and "cluster" it to give it a total of 40 CPUs from 20 different servers. It just can't be done.

Some applications can be clustered, e.g. make has a plugin (I forget what it's called) that can use remote servers to compile your applications, and Microsoft SQL Server is cluster-aware and can be used for failover purposes.

The closest you're going to get is with VMWare ESXi or Microsoft Hyper-V (and probably others as well, but I'm most familiar with these two) as these hypervisors ARE cluster aware (VMWare server is NOT).

This can give you high availability, fault tolerance and automatic migration based on host loads within the cluster (assuming you have shared storage), but it can't spread any software out over the cluster. It's just not possible.

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I would like to create a cluster of computers in order to run a virtual machine server (preferably vmware) as if the cluster were 1 big machine.

I would like a billion dollars.

As in: yo ucan wish what you want, but that is not what virtualization does. Virtualization slices one large machine to run many smaller VM's. It can not magically combine machines to look like one large.

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+1 cos you made me smile –  Mark Henderson Oct 21 '10 at 0:12
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Like the rest of the answers, you cannot use the resources of multiple machines on one single virtual machine.

You can use Proxmox if you want an alternative virtualization software, but the only thing you could do with the cluster created, is to move virtual machines based on loads on physical machines.

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