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Computer cluster

Computer cluster definition

A computer cluster, also known as a host cluster, is a set of computers connected to work as a single system. Devices, or nodes, can be connected loosely, where they use traditional communication protocols, or tightly, where computers are integrated and share resources such as memory and storage directly.

Unlike cloud clusters, which are typically hosted and managed by a third-party service provider over the internet, the owner usually hosts computer clusters.

See also: application clustering, database clustering

Computer cluster benefits

  • Performance boost. By combining the power of multiple computers, a cluster can deliver much greater performance than a single computer, especially for tasks requiring intensive computation or processing large datasets.
  • Redundancy. Clusters are often used to ensure high availability of services. If one node (computer) in the cluster fails, others can take over its tasks, minimizing the risk of system downtime.
  • Load balancing. Like cloud clusters, they distribute workload among multiple nodes to optimize resource utilization, balance the load, and improve overall system efficiency.
  • Scalability. They can be scaled up by adding more nodes, allowing applications and workloads to grow easily.
  • Parallel processing. They are particularly effective for parallel processing, where a task is divided into smaller parts processed simultaneously by different nodes.