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Although clusters offer inexpensive computing power, they are difficult and expensive to manage, particularly for user communities with diverse software needs. This paper presents Cluster-On-Demand (COD), a cluster operating system framework for mixed-use clusters. COD interposes on standard network management services - DHCP, NIS, and DNS - to partition a cluster into dynamic virtual clusters (vclusters) with independent installed software, name spaces, access controls, and network storage volumes. COD allocates nodes to vclusters on-the-fly, reconfiguring them as needed with PXE network boots.
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