Updated: 10/30/2017 by Computer Hope

A cluster may refer to any of the following:

1. When referring to a hard drive, a cluster or 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 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 will go to waste.

This issue has been reduced with new versions of FAT have been made available such as FAT32 that help resolve this issue. Additional information about FAT32 is available on our FAT32 page.

Cluster of computers2. 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 for additional hardware to be added as the workload increases. The picture is an example of cluster of rack mountable computers at the NCSA/University of Illinois.

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