Beowulf is a multi-computer architecture, used for parallel computation. It is a system which usually consists of one server node, and one or more client nodes. It is a system built using commodity (cheap, commonly available) hardware and software. The server node controls the whole cluster and serves files to the client nodes. It is also the cluster's console and gateway to the outside world. Large beowulf machines might have more than one server node, and possibly other nodes dedicated to particular tasks, for example, consoles or monitoring stations. In most case, client nodes are dumb, the dumber the better. Nodes are configured and controlled by the server, and do only what they are told to do. One of the main differences between Beowulf and a COW (Cluster of Workstations) is the fact that Beowulf behaves more like a single machine. In most cases, client nodes do not have keyboards or monitors, and are accessed only via remote login, or possibly via serial terminal. Beowulf nodes can be thought of as a CPU + memory package which can be plugged in to the cluster. Think of a system that consist of one server (or more), and a bunch of disk-less client (boot from the network).


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