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Parallel Processing

Posted on 1999-06-26
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-21
Can FreeBSD perform parallel processing, i.e. perform a job by multiple machine ?

If yes, how can I do it ?

Question by:andrewyu
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Accepted Solution

chris_calabrese earned 200 total points
ID: 2011216
FreeBSD can perform parallel processing to the extent that it can schedule multiple threads of execution within the same process across multiple CPU's on the _same_ machine.

It can not schedule multiple threads of the same process across multiple machines (the only systems I can think of that can do this are the newer IRIX releases running on SGI's with HPPI connections and some research systems like Ameoba).

However, that doesn't mean it's impossible to write software that can take advantage of processing across multiple machines.  The simplist way is to write a program that uses remsh()/rsh to spwn processes on other machines.  Another way is to have dedicated services running on a bunch of machines and contact them via RPC's.  Java RMI's are pretty similar to this if you're writing in Java.  Finally, you could use the Yale 'T' system which allows you to distribute programs written in 'T' (a lisp dialect) across multiple machines, even if they're not the same OS or hardware architecture.

Author Comment

ID: 2011217
But, how about different process ? Can FreeBSD distribute the processes into other machines automatically (like NT clustering) ?

So, do you mean that the easiest and best way is use CORBA or RMI (anyway, RPC) ?

LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 2011218
This kind of clustering is almost done on top of some other service like CORBA, RMI, RPC, etc.  I don't know much about NT clustering, but I'd bet it's sitting on top of NT RPC's with some kind of load balancer (hmm, maybe they don't even have a load balancer since they only do 2-way without third-party add-ons).  I don't believe the NT clusters can actually migrate a process running on one machine to another machine (which both IRIX and Ameoba can do, though in the case of IRIX all the machines are running a single coordinated OS kernel and the fact that they're physically seperate boxes is just an interesting side issue).

I've seen lots of solutions to this problem over the years.

Exactly how to do it depends greatly on how you want things to work.  For example, AT&T Research's nmake uses some simple shell scripts that look at rwho statistics to do the balancing part and then calls rsh to do remote compiles.  CORBA and RMI environments have large parts of this stuff built-in.  RPC's also work, but getting the load balancing right isn't so easy.

Author Comment

ID: 2011219
Thank you very much indeed !

But do you mean that the CORBA and RMI have already implement the Load Balancing ?

LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 2011220
No, CORBA and RMI have not implemented load balancing.  However, CORBA aware and RMI aware transaction monitors (such as BEA's Tuxedo) can.

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