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A cluster is a group of coupled computers that work closely so that it can be viewed it as a single computer. Clusters are commonly connected through fast local area networks. Clusters are generally used to deploy and to improve speed and reliability over single computer. High availability clusters are used for the purpose of improving the availability of services. They can operate to provide service when system components fail. There are many commercial implementations of High-Availability clusters for many operating systems.
The Linux-HA project is one commonly used free software HA package for the Linux OS. Load balancing clusters operate by having all workload come through one or more load-balancing front ends, which then distribute it to a collection of back end servers. The Linux Virtual Server project provides one commonly used free software package for the Linux OS. High performance clusters are implemented primarily to provide increased performance by splitting a computational task across many different nodes in the cluster, and are most commonly used in scientific computing.
The clusters are commonly used to run the programs which have designed to exploit the availability on clusters. Clustering can provide best performance. The cluster consists of Power Mac G5s; the first commodity clustering product was ARC net, developed by Data point in 1977. ARC net wasn't a commercial success and clustering didn't really take off until DEC released their lackluster product in the 1980s for the VAX/VMS operating system.
The history of cluster computing is intimately with the evolution of networking technology. High-performance clusters are implemented primarily to provide increased performance by splitting a computational task across many different nodes in the cluster, and are most commonly used in scientific computing. One of the more popular HPC implementations is a cluster with nodes running Linux as the OS and free software to implement the parallelism. This configuration is often referred to as a Beowulf cluster. Such clusters commonly run custom programs which have been designed to exploit the parallelism available on HPC clusters.
Many such programs use libraries such as MPI which are specially designed for writing scientific applications for HPC computers. Load balancing clusters operate by having all workload come through one or more load-balancing front ends, which then distribute it to a collection of back end servers. Although they are implemented primarily for improved performance, they commonly include high-availability features as well. Such a cluster of computers is sometimes referred to as a server farm.
As networking technology has become cheaper and faster, cluster computers have become significantly more attractive. The term cluster encompasses a number of different algorithms and methods for grouping objects of similar kind into respective categories. The cluster analysis can be used to discover structures in data without providing an interpretation. In other words, cluster analysis simply discovers structures in data without explaining why they exist. Thus, the cluster can be thought of as a group of computers which is viewed as a single computer.
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