openMosix past, present and Future
The openMosix software package turns networked computers running GNU/Linux into a cluster. It automatically balances the load between different nodes of the cluster, and nodes can join or leave the running cluster without disruption of the service. The load is spread out among nodes according to their connection and CPU speeds.
Since openMosix is part of the kernel and maintains full compatibility with Linux, a user's programs, files, and other resources will all work as before without any further changes. The casual user will not notice the difference between a Linux and an openMosix system. To her, the whole cluster will function as one (fast) GNU/Linux system.
openMosix is a Linux-kernel patch which provides full compatibility with standard Linux for IA32-compatible platforms. The internal load-balancing algorithm transparently migrates processes to other cluster members. The advantage is a better load-sharing between the nodes. The cluster itself tries to optimize utilization at any time (of course the sysadmin can affect the automatic load-balancing by manual configuration during runtime).
This transparent process-migration feature makes the whole cluster look like a BIG SMP-system with as many processors as available cluster-nodes (of course multiplied with X for X-processor systems such as dual/quad systems and so on). openMosix also provides a powerful optimized File System (oMFS) for HPC-applications, which unlike NFS provides cache, time stamp and link consistency.
Kris Buytaert is a Linux and Open Source Consultant operating in the Benelux. He has consulting and development experience with multiple enterprise level clients and government agencies. He is a contributor to the Linux Documentation Project and author of different technical publications. Kris is the release manager for the openMosix project and he also maintains the openMosix HOWTO.