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Using xCAT to Provision Windows HPC Server 2008 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux

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Executive Summary

Administrators and IT departments running an x86-based HPC (High Performance Computing) cluster have previously had to choose a specific operating system to run on the cluster, either multiple variants of Linux, or Microsoft Windows. While homogenous clusters allow for easier systems deployment and management, they fail to provide access to the wide range of resources available through running a hybrid, multiplatform HPC cluster. Traditional dual-boot methods have been advanced in the past, typically using manipulation of the MBR (Master Boot Record) on individual compute nodes. However, these methods have limited flexibility, require disk-based compute nodes, and lack unified systems management capability.

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