[K12OSN] A Beowulf server for K12LTSP?

Henry Hartley henryhartley at westat.com
Wed Nov 9 18:13:50 UTC 2005

This is a bit of an odd question, perhaps, but the company I work for in
my day job is surplussing a bunch of old Dell 566MHz Celeron computers
(128MB RAM, 10MB drives).  I know they'd make perfectly nice client
machines but that's not usually the bottleneck.  There are lots of
machines of this class, or even PIIs) to be had, particularly in this
area (Maryland suburbs of Washington DC).  The thing that actually costs
money is the server.

So, a thought occurred to me when I saw three stacks of about 25 of
these machines each.  Could you build a Beowulf machine out of these old
machines to act as server?  I suppose you'd still want to invest in some
hard drives and build a RAID array of some sort but would the combined
memory and processors be able to take the place of a server?  Would it
take too many machines to be worthwhile?  Like 50 machines to run a 25
client lab - not counting client machines?  On the other hand, they are
essentially free.  Of course, there's always the power consumption to be

Or is this a stupid idea.

Henry Hartley

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