Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Compute Clusters and Grid Computing

Compute Clusters and Grid Computing

Grid computing and compute clusters are two forms of computer clustering that could be differentiated based on the relationship of their nodes. The nodes in grid computing often have little to no relationship with each other as each node provide specific function for the completion of a specific problem or computation.

Compute clusters on the other hand requires an active relationship of each nodes so that the right computation could be achieved. Although they could be used for business purposes, these types of computer clusters are usually used for scientific and mathematical purposes as these fields require heavy calculations.

Difference to HA Cluster and Load Balancing

HA (High Availability) and Load Balancing are two types of clustering but are often used for business purposes. They have a striking difference with compute clusters and grid computing for the following reasons:

• Focus on Stability – Although clustering is all about efficiency, HA and Load Balancing aims for a different type of efficiency. Instead of better performing clusters in terms of computation, the clusters are used to ensure stability of its simple functions. Compute clusters and grid computing on the other hand focuses on performance. Although it still needs to be highly stabilized, the priority is always on the improved functionality of the clusters.

• Software Specific – compute clusters and grid computing base their operations on the software with specific functions. The software installed in these types of clusters is used to dictate the behavior of the nodes. On load balancing and HA, the configuration could be determined by their hardware connections. Although there are software that controls the load, additional software could run through the nodes that are provided by the users.

• Functionality Based – compute clusters and grid computing are often used for a single function or set of functions that are predetermined for the clusters. HA and Load balancing on the other hand could offer to stabilize different systems as their behavior are dictated by the hardware and a software dedicated for the HA and Load Balancing clustering.

Advantages/Disadvantages of Compute Cluster

Compute cluster is basically a type of clustering wherein the nodes are connected together or have an active relationship so that it could achieve the desired computation. The process of computation will pass from one node to another according to the application that controls the nodes.

The advantage of compute cluster is based on the fact that it utilizes each node to reach the right computation. Compute clusters are often used in highly complicated computations wherein a single computer will not have the ability to provide the right output.

On the other hand, compute cluster might run into the problem of stability. Since each node will be required to compute separately, each node might not be working well which could jeopardize the entire operation. That means maintenance is always a priority in each node since the nodes has an important functions to do to ensure success of the computation.

Advantage/Disadvantages of Grid Computing

Grid computing is a type of computer clustering wherein the nodes have different functions but they do not communicate with each other. The lack of communication with each node is basically the difference of grid computing to compute clusters.

Compared to compute clustering, grid computing is more versatile as each node could have a completely different set of functions. From simple operations such as basic web functions and applications to highly complicated scientific functions, grid computing could be utilized for these functions. Maintenance on grid computing is relatively easy since troubleshooting is only based per node. Other functions might continue working while the failed node could be replaced or fixed.

On the other hand, grid computing might not provide the speed of computing when compared to compute clusters. Since each node is independent, it will take a lot of time before the specific calculation is achieved. It might even have the same problem with compute clustering wherein one node could jeopardize the whole computation because of its inability to function on time.

Grid computing and compute clusters are two types of clustering that should be considered when there is an expectation of a complicated computation. These might not provide the stability compared to HA and Load Balancing, but it can get its work done faster.

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