In Search of Clusters: The Battle in Lowly Parallel Computing

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9780138997090: In Search of Clusters: The Battle in Lowly Parallel Computing

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.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Review:

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!

From the Back Cover:


89970-8

The #1 guide to clustering for every IT professional!

From Microsoft to IBM, Compaq to Sun to DEC, virtually every large computer company now uses clustering as a key strategy for high-availability, high-performance computing. This book tells you why-and how. It cuts through the marketing hype and techno-religious wars surrounding parallel processing, delivering the practical information you need to purchase, market, plan or design servers and other high-performance computing systems.

  • Microsoft Cluster Services ("Wolfpack")
  • IBM Parallel Sysplex and SP systems
  • DEC OpenVMS Cluster and Memory Channel
  • Tandem ServerNet and Himalaya
  • Intel Virtual Interface Architecture
  • Symmetric Multiprocessors (SMPs) and NUMA systems

With unequalled simplicity, directness, and humor, expert Gregory Pfister delivers all the information you need to make critical strategic decisions. He introduces the primary technologies involved in clustering, and shows why they are becoming so important. He compares clustering with symmetric multiprocessing, demonstrating major differences that are often "papered over." The legendary first edition of this book predicted the cluster revolution now underway. Its refreshing style, candid opinions, and simple explanations made it an underground classic. This new edition adds more than 150 pages of new material, including detailed new coverage of high availability, and Non-Uniform Memory Access (NUMA).

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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