I want to build a distributed computing system to run Matlab, C and other programming languages for scientific computing. Now I've several old Mac machines with Lion Mac OS installed acted as web servers or personal computers. I also have one latest 16-Xeon-core machine to be installed with Linux. I've not decided which Linux distribution should we use for the new machine, but we need to consider the following factors. Please help me to decide which Linux distribution I can use, what distributing computing software I can use and how to manage the data backups and queue assignments.
All machines with either Mac or Linux OS's can be served as a cluster system for parallel or distributed computing. To be specific, we want to run programs crossing machines in a queue with multiple users and threads. In the case that all machines are not symmetric, but we don't want to lower the speed of the most powerful machine.
The new machine is preferred to be used as a head node, but at least a secondary machine should also be able to act as a head node in case the head node was shut down.
Backup process should be easy to setup, and can be controlled remotely. This is not as important as the first two factors. At least we can backup important data manually.
I searched Google already, but I haven't found decent solutions for my case. Thank you in advance for your suggestions!