The Assembly Process...
Jason Harrington and Damien Cho
getting ready to unpack a couple of dozen more machines. It's important
to have a system for this: otherwise you drown in 48 mice, keyboards,
"Windows NT: QuickInstall" guides and so on.
A few of the empty boxes after assembly of each system.
A critical part of the assembly process is labelling each machine.
This is an essential tool: a decent label-maker. If you are building
a Beowulf, get one!
During assembly, each machine is labeled with its name (i.e. N023) on both
the front and back, and with its serial number and ethernet hardware address
on the front. This simplifies things later...
Each slave node needs to have its firmware set up so that it can boot
either from a floppy for the initial cloning process, or from its own
hard disk [the default]. Here Jason Harrington is setting up the firmware.
The nodes get carried down the hall to the machine room, where they get
racked and then cloned.
Here's a (picture sho.jpgwing our machine room from the outside. This room
serves triple duty: it houses our Beowulf, a power distribution panel for some
of the labs (out of use for a number of years) and behind the cage in
the back, the networking switches for the entire physics department.
Little did Jason know when he accepted this job that not only would
he strengthen his mind, he'd build up his biceps as well...