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Recently someone at university gave me a task to create a network for parallel computing. For now i've got two intel chassis, two quad-core processors each, but it will expand with time for sure. I don't have IT degree, I'm only computer enthusiast, and I'm standing in front of following problems:

  • What would be the best OS?
  • What is the best way to secure such network?
  • What would be the better - ldap or nfs - if data will be storaged in separate disk array?

That network will be used by employees of my division for science computations (speed is a very important factor :)). The person who gave me the task advise me to look for CentOS, Beowulf, Kerberos and ldap but i want to know if a better solution exists (maybe more modern one - previous network was build on beowulf).

It needs to be simple and effective (no way?! ;)) and must be easy to expand.

So, should i stick to what was told or should i search for something better? What do you think?

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My apologies if this come across offensively; but if you ain't a cook, stay out of the kitchen. You admit, and prove by the technologies you've got confused, that you know nothing about what you're embarking on; you're destine for a World of Fail™.

First thing you need to do is figure out what you're trying to accomplish. People don't build a skyscraper just to see if they can, they build it for a particular purpose (office space or what have you). If you have some specific application you'll be running, or a development environment, or something (anything!), that can serve as your focal point. Figure out what your destination is, then work back from there to where you are now.

Recommending CentOS without a clue as to what you're trying to accomplish would be reprehensible at best. Similarly for recommending a virtualization platform, clustering software, MPI (et alii), infrastructure, application bases, etc.

Security is definitely not a simply topic, nor one where I can simply point you to a quick how-to. Each component of a complicated system has it's own individual necessities, vulnerabilities, and other considerations.

The one thing I can tell you, it's almost certainly not going to be simple. That is the nature of computing these days. To think otherwise is an insult to the professionals who dedicate their lives to understanding just a portion of the spectrum modern technology encompasses.

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