Updated: 10/30/2017 by Computer Hope

A cluster may refer to any of the following:

1. With a hard drive, a cluster or FAU (File Allocation Unit) is the smallest managed section of a hard drive that holds a file. The size of a hard drive cluster can vary by operating system and size of hard drive.

Because each file and directory takes up one or more clusters depending on their size, earlier versions of FAT (File Allocation Table) had the potential of wasting hard drive space. For example, if the cluster size was 8 k and a 2 k file is stored on the computer, 6 k of that cluster goes to waste.

This issue is reduced with new versions of FAT such as FAT32.

Cluster of computers

2. A cluster or hardware clustering defines a group of computers or servers that share the work. A cluster makes one big computer instead of multiple smaller computers and allows additional hardware to be added as the workload increases. The picture shows a cluster of rack mountable computers at the NCSA/University of Illinois.

Beowulf, Computer acronyms, FAT, HACMP, Hard drive terms, Hardware terms, Lost cluster, MPP, MSCS, Network terms, Render farm, Server farm, Slack space, SMP, TLA