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XCAT_iDataPlex_Cluster_Quick_Start

This document describes the steps necessary to quickly set up a cluster with IBM system x, rack-mounted servers. Although the examples given in this document are specific to iDataplex hardware (because that's the most common server type used for clusters), the basic instructions apply to any x86_64, IPMI-controlled, rack-mounted servers.

xCAT Installation on an iDataplex Configuration

This document is meant to get you going as quickly as possible and therefore only goes through the most common scenario. For additional scenarios and setup tasks, see [XCAT_iDataPlex_Advanced_Setup].

Example Configuration Used in This Document

This configuration will have a single dx360 Management Node with 167 other dx360 servers as nodes. The OS deployed will be RH Enterprise Linux 6.2, x86_64 edition. Here is a diagram of the racks:

In our example, the management node is known as 'mgt', the node namess are n1-n167, and the domain will be 'cluster'. We will use the BMCs in shared mode so they will share the NIC on each node that the node's operating system communicates to the xCAT management node over. This is call the management LAN. We will use subnet 172.16.0.0 with a netmask of 255.240.0.0 (/12) for it. (This provides an IP address range of 172.16.0.1 - 172.31.255.254 .) We will use the following subsets of this range for:

  • The management node: 172.20.0.1
  • The node OSes: 172.20.100+racknum.nodenuminrack
  • The node BMCs: 172.29.100+racknum.nodenuminrack
  • The management port of the switches: 172.30.50.switchnum
  • The DHPC dynamic range for unknown nodes: 172.20.255.1 - 172.20.255.254

The network is physically laid out such that port number on a switch is equal to the U position number within a column, like this:

Overview of Cluster Setup Process

Here is a summary of the steps required to set up the cluster and what this document will take you through:

  1. Prepare the management node - doing these things before installing the xCAT software helps the process to go more smoothly.
  2. Install the xCAT software on the management node.
  3. Configure some cluster wide information
  4. Define a little bit of information in the xCAT database about the ethernet switches and nodes - this is necessary to direct the node discovery process.
  5. Have xCAT configure and start several network daemons - this is necessary for both node discovery and node installation.
  6. Discovery the nodes - during this phase, xCAT configures the BMC's and collects many attributes about each node and stores them in the database.
  7. Set up the OS images and install the nodes.

Distro-specific Steps

  • [RH] indicates that step only needs to be done for RHEL and Red Hat based distros (CentOS, Scientific Linux, and in most cases Fedora).
  • [SLES] indicates that step only needs to be done for SLES.

Command Man Pages and Database Attribute Descriptions

Prepare the Management Node for xCAT Installation

These steps prepare the Management Node for xCAT Installation.

Install the Management Node OS

Install one of the supported distros on the Management Node (MN). It is recommended to ensure that dhcp, bind (not bind-chroot), httpd, nfs-utils, and perl-XML-Parser are installed. (But if not, the process of installing the xCAT software later will pull them in, assuming you follow the steps to make the distro RPMs available.)

Hardware requirements for your xCAT management node are dependent on your cluster size and configuration. A minimum requirement for an xCAT Management Node or Service Node that is dedicated to running xCAT to install a small cluster ( < 16 nodes) should have 4-6 Gigabytes of memory. A medium size cluster, 6-8 Gigabytes of memory; and a large cluster, 16 Gigabytes or more. Keeping swapping to a minimum should be a goal.

Supported OS and Hardware

For a list of supported OS and Hardware, refer to XCAT_Features.

[RH] Ensure that SELinux is Disabled

To disable SELinux manually:

 echo 0 > /selinux/enforce
 sed -i 's/^SELINUX=.*$/SELINUX=disabled/' /etc/selinux/config

Disable the Firewall

Note: you can skip this step in xCAT 2.8 and above, because xCAT does it automatically when it is installed.

The management node provides many services to the cluster nodes, but the firewall on the management node can interfere with this. If your cluster is on a secure network, the easiest thing to do is to disable the firewall on the Management Mode:

For RH:

 service iptables stop
 chkconfig iptables off

For SLES:

 SuSEfirewall2 stop

If disabling the firewall completely isn't an option, configure iptables to allow the ports described in XCAT_Port_Usage.

Set Up the Networks

The xCAT installation process will scan and populate certain settings from the running configuration. Having the networks configured ahead of time will aid in correct configuration. (After installation of xCAT, all the networks in the cluster must be defined in the xCAT networks table before starting to install cluster nodes.) When xCAT is installed on the Management Node, it will automatically run makenetworks to create an entry in the networks table for each of the networks the management node is on. Additional network configurations can be added to the xCAT networks table manually later if needed.

The networks that are typically used in a cluster are:

  • Management network - used by the management node to install and manage the OS of the nodes. The MN and in-band NIC of the nodes are connected to this network. If you have a large cluster with service nodes, sometimes this network is segregated into separate VLANs for each service node. See Setting Up a Linux Hierarchical Cluster for details.
  • Service network - used by the management node to control the nodes out of band via the hardware control point, e.g. BMC or HMC. If the BMCs are configured in shared mode, then this network can be combined with the management network.
  • Application network - used by the HPC applications on the compute nodes. Usually an IB network.
  • Site (Public) network - used to access the management node and sometimes for the compute nodes to provide services to the site.

In our example, we only focus on the management network:

  • The service network usually does not need special configuration, just the management node and service nodes need to communicate with the hardware control points through service network. In system x cluster, if the BMCs are in shared mode, so they don't need a separate service network.
  • we are not showing how to have xCAT automatically configure the application network NICs. See Configuring_Secondary_Adapters if you are interested in that.
  • under normal circumstances there is no need to put the site network in the networks table

For a sample Networks Setup, see the following example: Setting_Up_a_Linux_xCAT_Mgmt_Node#Appendix_A:_Network_Table_Setup_Example

Configure NICS

Configure the cluster facing NIC(s) on the management node.
For example edit the following files:

On RH: /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth1
On SLES: /etc/sysconfig/network/ifcfg-eth1

 DEVICE=eth1
 ONBOOT=yes
 BOOTPROTO=static
 IPADDR=172.20.0.1
 NETMASK=255.240.0.0

Prevent DHCP client from overwriting DNS configuration (Optional)

If the public facing NIC on your management node is configured by DHCP, you may want to set '''PEERDNS=no''' in the NIC's config file to prevent the dhclient from rewriting /etc/resolv.conf. This would be important if you will be configuring DNS on the management node (via makedns - covered later in this doc) and want the management node itself to use that DNS. In this case, set '''PEERDNS=no''' in each /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-* file that has '''BOOTPROTO=dhcp'''.

On the other hand, if you '''want''' dhclient to configure /etc/resolv.conf on your management node, then don't set PEERDNS=no in the NIC config files.

Configure hostname

The xCAT management node hostname should be configured before installing xCAT on the management node. The hostname or its resolvable ip address will be used as the default master name in the xCAT site table, when installed. This name needs to be the one that will resolve to the cluster-facing NIC. Short hostnames (no domain) are the norm for the management node and all cluster nodes. Node names should never end in "-enx" for any x.

To set the hostname, edit /etc/sysconfig/network to contain, for example:

 HOSTNAME=mgt

If you run hostname command, if should return the same:

 # hostname
 mgt

Setup basic hosts file

Ensure that at least the management node is in /etc/hosts:

 127.0.0.1               localhost.localdomain localhost
 ::1                     localhost6.localdomain6 localhost6
 ###
 172.20.0.1 mgt mgt.cluster

Setup the TimeZone

When using the management node to install compute nodes, the timezone configuration on the management node will be inherited by the compute nodes. So it is recommended to setup the correct timezone on the management node. To do this on RHEL, see http://www.redhat.com/advice/tips/timezone.html. The process is similar, but not identical, for SLES. (Just google it.)

You can also optionally set up the MN as an NTP for the cluster. See Setting_up_NTP_in_xCAT.

Create a Separate File system for /install (optional)

It is not required, but recommended, that you create a separate file system for the /install directory on the Management Node. The size should be at least 30 meg to hold to allow space for several install images.

Restart Management Node

Note: in xCAT 2.8 and above, you do not need to restart the management node. Simply restart the cluster-facing NIC, for example: ifdown eth1; ifup eth1

For xCAT 2.7 and below, though it is possible to restart the correct services for all settings, the simplest step would be to reboot the Management Node at this point.

Configure Ethernet Switches

It is recommended that spanning tree be set in the switches to portfast or edge-port for faster boot performance. Please see the relevant switch documentation as to how to configure this item.

It is recommended that lldp protocol in the switches is enabled to collect the switch and port information for compute node during discovery process.

Note: this step is necessary if you want to use xCAT's automatic switch-based discovery (described later on in this document) for IPMI-controlled rack-mounted servers (including iDataPlex) and Flex chassis. If you have a small cluster and prefer to use the sequential discover method (described later) or manually enter the MACs for the hardware, you can skip this section. Although you may want to still set up your switches for management so you can use xCAT tools to manage them, as described in Managing_Ethernet_Switches.

xCAT will use the ethernet switches during node discovery to find out which switch port a particular MAC address is communicating over. This allows xCAT to match a random booting node with the proper node name in the database. To set up a switch, give it an IP address on its management port and enable basic SNMP functionality. (Typically, the SNMP agent in the switches is disabled by default.) The easiest method is to configure the switches to give the SNMP version 1 community string called "public" read access. This will allow xCAT to communicate to the switches without further customization. (xCAT will get the list of switches from the switch table.) If you want to use SNMP version 3 (e.g. for better security), see the example below. With SNMP V3 you also have to set the user/password and AuthProto (default is 'md5') in the switches table.

If for some reason you can't configure SNMP on your switches, you can use sequential discovery or the more manual method of entering the nodes' MACs into the database. See XCAT_iDataPlex_Cluster_Quick_Start#Discover_the_Nodes for a description of your choices.

SNMP V3 Configuration Example:

xCAT supports many switch types, such as BNT and Cisco. Here is an example of configuring SNMP V3 on the Cisco switch 3750/3650:

1. First, user should switch to the configure mode by the following commands:

    [root@x346n01 ~]# telnet xcat3750
    Trying 192.168.0.234...
    Connected to xcat3750.
    Escape character is '^]'.
    User Access Verification
    Password:

    xcat3750-1>enable
    Password:

    xcat3750-1#configure terminal
    Enter configuration commands, one per line.  End with CNTL/Z.
    xcat3750-1(config)#

2. Configure the snmp-server on the switch:

    Switch(config)# access-list 10 permit 192.168.0.20    # 192.168.0.20 is the IP of MN
    Switch(config)# snmp-server group xcatadmin v3 auth write v1default
    Switch(config)# snmp-server community public RO 10
    Switch(config)# snmp-server community private RW 10
    Switch(config)# snmp-server enable traps license?

3. Configure the snmp user id (assuming a user/pw of xcat/passw0rd):

    Switch(config)# snmp-server user xcat xcatadmin v3 auth SHA passw0rd access 10

4. Check the snmp communication to the switch :

  • On the MN: make sure the snmp rpms have been installed. If not, install them:
    yum install net-snmp net-snmp-utils
  • Run the following command to check that the snmp communication has been setup successfully (assuming the IP of the switch is 192.168.0.234):
    snmpwalk -v 3 -u xcat -a SHA -A passw0rd -X cluster -l authnoPriv 192.168.0.234 .1.3.6.1.2.1.2.2.1.2

Later on in this document, it will explain how to make sure the switch and switches tables are setup correctly.

Install xCAT on the Management Node

Get the xCAT Installation Source

There are two options to get the installation source of xCAT:

  1. download the xCAT installation packages
  2. or install directly from the internet-hosted repository

Pick either one, but not both.

Note:
1. Due to the packages "net-snmp-libs" and "net-snmp-agent-libs"(required by "net-snmp-perl" in xcat-dep) are updated in Redhat 7.1 iso, a xcat-dep branch for Redhat 7.0 is created. Thus, please use the repo under "xcat-dep/rh7.0" for Redhat 7.0 and use "xcat-dep/rh7" for other Redhat 7 releases.
2. for CentOS and ScientificLinux, could use the same xcat-dep configuration with RHEL. For example, CentOS 7.0 could use xcat-dep/rh7.0/x86_64 as the xcat-dep repo.

Option 1: Prepare for the Install of xCAT without Internet Access

If not able to, or not want to, use the live internet repository, choose this option.

Go to the Download xCAT site and download the level of xCAT tarball you desire. Go to the xCAT Dependencies Download page and download the latest snap of the xCAT dependency tarball. (The latest snap of the xCAT dependency tarball will work with any version of xCAT.)

Copy the files to the Management Node (MN) and untar them:

    mkdir /root/xcat2
    cd /root/xcat2
    tar jxvf xcat-core-2.*.tar.bz2     # or core-rpms-snap.tar.bz2
    tar jxvf xcat-dep-*.tar.bz2

Point yum/zypper to the local repositories for xCAT and its dependencies:

[RH]:

    cd /root/xcat2/xcat-dep/<release>/<arch>;
    ./mklocalrepo.sh
    cd /root/xcat2/xcat-core
    ./mklocalrepo.sh

[SLES 11, SLES12]:

     zypper ar file:///root/xcat2/xcat-dep/<os>/<arch> xCAT-dep 
     zypper ar file:///root/xcat2/xcat-core  xcat-core

[SLES 10.2+]:

    zypper sa file:///root/xcat2/xcat-dep/sles10/<arch> xCAT-dep
    zypper sa file:///root/xcat2/xcat-core xcat-core

Option 2: Use the Internet-hosted xCAT Repository

When using the live internet repository, you need to first make sure that name resolution on your management node is at least set up enough to resolve sourceforge.net. Then make sure the correct repo files are in /etc/yum.repos.d.

Internet repo for xCAT-core

You could use the official release or latest snapshot build or development build, based on your requirements.

  • To get the repo file for the current official release:

[RH]:

wget http://sourceforge.net/projects/xcat/files/yum/<xCAT-release>/xcat-core/xCAT-core.repo

for example:

    cd /etc/yum.repos.d
    wget http://sourceforge.net/projects/xcat/files/yum/2.8/xcat-core/xCAT-core.repo

[SLES11, SLES12]:

zypper ar -t rpm-md http://sourceforge.net/projects/xcat/files/yum/<xCAT-release\>/xcat-core xCAT-core 

for example:

    zypper ar -t rpm-md http://sourceforge.net/projects/xcat/files/yum/2.8/xcat-core xCAT-core

[SLES10.2+]:

    zypper sa http://sourceforge.net/projects/xcat/files/yum/<xCAT-release\>/xcat-core xCAT-core

for example:

     zypper sa http://sourceforge.net/projects/xcat/files/yum/2.8/xcat-core xCAT-core
  • To get the repo file for the latest snapshot build, which includes the latest bug fixes, but is not completely tested:

[RH]:

wget http://sourceforge.net/projects/xcat/files/yum/<xCAT-release>/core-snap/xCAT-core.repo

for example:

    cd /etc/yum.repos.d
    wget http://sourceforge.net/projects/xcat/files/yum/2.8/core-snap/xCAT-core.repo

[SLES11, SLES12]:

zypper ar -t rpm-md http://sourceforge.net/projects/xcat/files/yum/<xCAT-release>/core-snap xCAT-core

for example:

    zypper ar -t rpm-md http://sourceforge.net/projects/xcat/files/yum/2.8/core-snap xCAT-core

[SLES10.2+]:

    zypper sa http://sourceforge.net/projects/xcat/files/yum/<xCAT-release\>/core-snap xCAT-core 

for example:

     zypper sa http://sourceforge.net/projects/xcat/files/yum/2.8/core-snap xCAT-core
  • To get the repo file for the latest development build, which is the snap shot build of the new version we are actively developing. This version has not been released yet. Use at your own risk:

[RH]:

    wget http://sourceforge.net/projects/xcat/files/yum/devel/core-snap/xCAT-core.repo

[SLES11, SLES12]:

    zypper ar -t rpm-md http://sourceforge.net/projects/xcat/files/yum/devel/core-snap xCAT-core 

[SLES10.2+]:

    zypper sa http://sourceforge.net/projects/xcat/files/yum/devel/core-snap xCAT-core 
Internet repo for xCAT-dep

To get the repo file for xCAT-dep packages:

[RH]:

wget http://sourceforge.net/projects/xcat/files/yum/xcat-dep/<OS-release>/<arch>/xCAT-dep.repo

for example:

wget http://sourceforge.net/projects/xcat/files/yum/xcat-dep/rh6/x86_64/xCAT-dep.repo

[SLES11, SLES12]:

zypper ar -t rpm-md http://sourceforge.net/projects/xcat/files/yum/xcat-dep/<OS-release>/<arch> xCAT-dep

for example:

zypper ar -t rpm-md http://sourceforge.net/projects/xcat/files/yum/xcat-dep/sles11/x86_64 xCAT-dep

[SLES10.2+]:

zypper sa http://sourceforge.net/projects/xcat/files/yum/xcat-dep/<OS-release\>/<arch\> xCAT-dep

for example:

zypper sa http://sourceforge.net/projects/xcat/files/yum/xcat-dep/sles10/x86_64 xCAT-dep

For both Options: Make Required Packages From the Distro Available

xCAT uses on several packages that come from the Linux distro. Follow this section to create the repository of the OS on the Management Node.

See the following documentation:

Setting Up the OS Repository on the Mgmt Node

Install xCAT Packages

[RH]: Use yum to install xCAT and all the dependencies:

yum clean metadata

or
yum clean all

then
yum install xCAT

[SLES]Use zypper to install xCAT and all the dependencies:

zypper install xCAT

(Optional) Install the Packages for sysclone

Note:syslcone is not supported on SLES.

In xCAT 2.8.2 and above, xCAT supports cloning new nodes from a pre-installed/pre-configured node, we call this provisioning method as sysclone. It leverages the opensource tool systemimager. xCAT ships the required systemimager packages with xcat-dep. If you will be installing stateful(diskful) nodes using the sysclone provmethod, you need to install systemimager and all the dependencies:

[RH]: Use yum to install systemimager and all the dependencies:

yum install systemimager-server

[SLES]: Use zypper to install systemimager and all the dependencies:

zypper install systemimager-server

Quick Test of xCAT Installation

Add xCAT commands to the path by running the following:

source /etc/profile.d/xcat.sh

Check to see the database is initialized:

tabdump site

The output should similar to the following:

    key,value,comments,disable
    "xcatdport","3001",,
    "xcatiport","3002",,
    "tftpdir","/tftpboot",,
    "installdir","/install",,
         .
         .
         .

If the tabdump command does not work, see Debugging xCAT Problems.

Restart or Reload xcatd

If you really encountered certain problem that xcat daemon failed to function, you can try to restart the xcat daemon.

[For xcat daemon is running on NON-systemd enabled Linux OS like rh6.x and sles11.x]

    service xcatd restart

[For xcat daemon is running on systemd enabled Linux OS like rh7.x and sles12.x. And AIX.]

    restartxcatd

Refer to the doc of restartxcatd to get the information why you need to use it for systemd enabled system.

If you want to restart xcat daemon but do not want to reconfigure the network service on the management (this will restart xcat daemon quickly for a large cluster).

[For xcat daemon is running on NON-systemd enabled Linux OS like rh6.x and sles11.x]

    service xcatd reload

[For xcat daemon is running on systemd enabled Linux OS like rh7.x and sles12.x. And AIX.]

    restartxcatd -r

If you want to rescan plugin when you added a new plugin, or you changed the subroutine handled_commands of certain plugin.

    rescanplugins

Updating xCAT Packages Later

If you need to update the xCAT RPMs later:

  • If the management node does not have access to the internet: download the new version of xCAT from Download xCAT and the dependencies from xCAT Dependencies Download and untar them in the same place as before.
  • If the management node has access to the internet, the commands below will pull the updates directly from the xCAT site.

To update xCAT:

[RH]:

    yum clean metadata or you may need to use yum clean all
    yum update '*xCAT*'

[SLES]:

    zypper refresh
    zypper update -t package '*xCAT*'

Note: this will not apply updates that may have been made to some of the xCAT deps packages. (If there are brand new deps packages, they will get installed.) In most cases, this is ok, but if you want to make all updates for xCAT rpms and deps, run the following command. This command will also pick up additional OS updates.

[RH]:

    yum update

[SLES]:

    zypper refresh
    zypper update

Note: Sometimes zypper refresh fails to refresh zypper local repository. Try to run zypper clean to clean local metadata, then use zypper refresh.

Note: If you are updating from xCAT 2.7.x (or earlier) to xCAT 2.8 or later, there are some additional migration steps that need to be considered:

  1. Switch from xCAT IBM HPC Integration support to using Software Kits - see
    IBM_HPC_Software_Kits#Switching_from_xCAT_IBM_HPC_Integration_Support_to_Using_Software_Kits
    for details.
  2. (Optional) Use nic attibutes to replace the otherinterfaces attribute to configure secondary see Cluster_Name_Resolution for details.
  3. Convert non-osimage based system to osimage based system - see
    Convert_Non-osimage_Based_System_To_Osimage_Based_System for details

Configure xCAT

Networks Table

All networks in the cluster must be defined in the networks table. When xCAT was installed, it ran makenetworks, which created an entry in this table for each of the networks the management node is connected to. Now is the time to add to the networks table any other networks in the cluster, or update existing networks in the table.

For a sample Networks Setup, see the following example: Setting_Up_a_Linux_xCAT_Mgmt_Node#Appendix_A:_Network_Table_Setup_Example

passwd Table

The password should be set in the passwd table that will be assigned to root when the node is installed. You can modify this table using tabedit. To change the default password for root on the nodes, change the system line. To change the password to be used for the BMCs, change the ipmi line.

tabedit passwd
#key,username,password,cryptmethod,comments,disable
"system","root","cluster",,,
"ipmi","USERID","PASSW0RD",,,

Setup DNS

To get the hostname/IP pairs copied from /etc/hosts to the DNS on the MN:

  • Ensure that /etc/sysconfig/named does not have ROOTDIR set
  • Set site.forwarders to your site-wide DNS servers that can resolve site or public hostnames. The DNS on the MN will forward any requests it can't answer to these servers.
    chdef -t site forwarders=1.2.3.4,1.2.5.6
  • Edit /etc/resolv.conf to point the MN to its own DNS. (Note: this won't be required in xCAT 2.8 and above.)
    search cluster
    nameserver 172.20.0.1
  • Run makedns
    makedns -n

For more information about name resolution in an xCAT Cluster, see [Cluster_Name_Resolution].

Setup DHCP

You usually don't want your DHCP server listening on your public (site) network, so set site.dhcpinterfaces to your MN's cluster facing NICs. For example:

    chdef -t site dhcpinterfaces=eth1

Then this will get the network stanza part of the DHCP configuration (including the dynamic range) set:

    makedhcp -n

The IP/MAC mappings for the nodes will be added to DHCP automatically as the nodes are discovered.

Setup TFTP

Nothing to do here - the TFTP server is done by xCAT during the Management Node install.

Setup conserver

    makeconservercf

Node Definition and Discovery

Declare a dynamic range of addresses for discovery

If you want to run a discovery process, a dynamic range must be defined in the networks table. It's used for the nodes to get an IP address before xCAT knows their MAC addresses.

In this case, we'll designate 172.20.255.1-172.20.255.254 as a dynamic range:

chdef -t network 172_16_0_0-255_240_0_0 dynamicrange=172.20.255.1-172.20.255.254

Load the e1350 Templates

Several xCAT database tables must be filled in while setting up an iDataPlex cluster. To make this process easier, xCAT provides several template files in /opt/xcat/share/xcat/templates/e1350/. These files contain regular expressions that describe the naming patterns in the cluster. With xCAT's regular expression support, one line in a table can define one or more attribute values for all the nodes in a node group. (For more information on xCAT's database regular expressions, see http://xcat.sourceforge.net/man5/xcatdb.5.html .) To load the default templates into your database:

cd /opt/xcat/share/xcat/templates/e1350/
for i in *csv; do tabrestore $i; done

These templates contain entries for a lot of different node groups, but we will be using the following node groups:

  • ipmi - the nodes controlled via IPMI.
  • idataplex - the iDataPlex nodes
  • 42perswitch - the nodes that are connected to 42 port switches
  • compute - all of the compute nodes
  • 84bmcperrack - the BMCs that are in a fully populated rack of iDataPlex
  • switch - the ethernet switches in the cluster

In our example, ipmi, idataplex, 42perswitch, and compute will all have the exact same membership because all of our iDataPlex nodes have those characteristics.

The templates automatically define the following attributes and naming conventions:

  • The iDataPlex compute nodes:
    • node names are of the form <string><number>, for example n1
    • ip: 172.20.100+racknum.nodenuminrack
    • bmc: the bmc with the same number as the node
    • switch: divide the node number by 42 to get the switch number
    • switchport: the nodes are plugged into 42-port ethernet switches in order of node number
    • mgt: 'ipmi'
    • netboot: 'xnba'
    • profile: 'compute'
    • rack: node number divided by 84
    • unit: in the range of A1 - A42 for the 1st 42 nodes in each rack, and in the range of C1 - C42 for the 2nd 42 nodes in each rack
    • chain: 'runcmd=bmcsetup,shell'
    • ondiscover: 'nodediscover'
  • The BMCs:
    • node names are of the form <node name>-bmc, for example n001-bmc
    • ip: 172.29.100+racknum.nodenuminrack
  • The management connection to each ethernet switch:
    • node names are of the form switch<number>, for example switch1
    • ip: 172.30.50.switchnum

For a description of the attribute names in bold above, see the node object definition.

If these conventions don't work for your situation, you can either:

  1. modify the regular expressions - see XCAT_iDataPlex_Advanced_Setup#Template_modification_example
  2. or manually define each node - see XCAT_iDataPlex_Advanced_Setup#Manually_setup_the_node_attributes_instead_of_using_the_templates_or_switch_discovery

Add Nodes to the nodelist Table

Now you can use the power of the templates to define the nodes quickly. By simply adding the nodes to the correct groups, they will pick up all of the attributes of that group:

nodeadd n[001-167] groups=ipmi,idataplex,42perswitch,compute,all
nodeadd n[001-167]-bmc groups=84bmcperrack
nodeadd switch1-switch4 groups=switch

To change the list of nodes you just defined to a shared BMC port:

    chdef -t group -o ipmi bmcport="0"

If the BMCs are configured in shared mode, then this network can be combined with the management network. The bmcport attribute is used by bmcsetup in discovery to configure the BMC port. The bmcport values are "0"=shared, "1"=dedicated, or blank to leave the BMC port unchanged.

To see the list of nodes you just defined:

nodels

To see all of the attributes that the combination of the templates and your nodelist have defined for a few sample nodes:

    lsdef n100,n100-bmc,switch2

This is the easiest way to verify that the regular expressions in the templates are giving you attribute values you are happy with. (Or, if you modified the regular expressions, that you did it correctly.)

Configure conserver

The xCAT rcons command uses the conserver package to provide support for multiple read-only consoles on a single node and the console logging. For example, if a user has a read-write console session open on node node1, other users could also log in to that console session on node1 as read-only users. This allows sharing a console server session between multiple users for diagnostic or other collaborative purposes. The console logging function will log the console output and activities for any node with remote console attributes set to the following file which an be replayed for debugging or any other purposes:

    /var/log/consoles/<management node>

Note: conserver=<management node> is the default, so it optional in the command

Update conserver configuration

Each xCAT node with remote console attributes set should be added into the conserver configuration file to make the rcons work. The xCAT command makeconservercf will put all the nodes into conserver configuration file /etc/conserver.cf. The makeconservercf command must be run when there is any node definition changes that will affect the conserver, such as adding new nodes, removing nodes or changing the nodes' remote console settings.

To add or remove new nodes for conserver support:

makeconservercf
service conserver stop
service conserver start

Declare use of SOL

If not using a terminal server, SOL is recommended, but not required to be configured. To instruct xCAT to configure SOL in installed operating systems on dx340 systems:

    chdef -t group -o compute serialport=1 serialspeed=19200 serialflow=hard

For dx360-m2 and newer use:

    chdef -t group -o compute serialport=0 serialspeed=115200 serialflow=hard

Setup /etc/hosts and DNS

Since the mapping between the xCAT node names and IP addresses have been added in the hosts table by the e1350 template, you can run the makehosts xCAT command to create the /etc/hosts file from the xCAT hosts table. (You can skip this step if creating /etc/hosts manually.)

    makehosts switch,idataplex,ipmi

Verify the entries have been created in the file /etc/hosts. For example your /etc/hosts should look like this:

    127.0.0.1               localhost.localdomain localhost
    ::1                     localhost6.localdomain6 localhost6
    ###
    172.20.0.1 mgt mgt.cluster
    172.20.101.1 n1 n1.cluster
    172.20.101.2 n2 n2.cluster
    172.20.101.3 n3 n3.cluster
    172.20.101.4 n4 n4.cluster
    172.20.101.5 n5 n5.cluster
    172.20.101.6 n6 n6.cluster
    172.20.101.7 n7 n7.cluster
                  .
                  .
                  .

Add the node/ip mapping to the DNS.

    makedns

Discover the Nodes

xCAT supports 3 approaches to discover the new physical nodes and define them to xCAT database:

  • Option 1: Sequential Discovery

This is a simple approach in which you give xCAT a range of node names to be given to the discovered nodes, and then you power the nodes on sequentially (usually in physical order), and each node is given the next node name in the noderange.

  • Option 2: Switch Discovery

With this approach, xCAT assumes the nodes are plugged into your ethernet switches in an orderly fashion. So it uses each node's switch port number to determine where it is physically located in the racks and therefore what node name it should be given. This method requires a little more setup (configuring the switches and defining the switch table). But the advantage of this method is that you can power all of the nodes on at the same time and xCAT will sort out which node is which. This can save you a lot of time in a large cluster.

  • Option 3: Manual Discovery

If you don't want to use either of the automatically discovery processes, just follow the manual discovery process.

Choose just one of these options and follow the corresponding section below (and skip the other two).

Option 1: Sequential Discovery

Note: This feature is only supported in xCAT 2.8.1 and higher.

Sequential Discovery means the new nodes will be discovered one by one. The nodes will be given names from a 'node name pool' in the order they are powered on.

Initialize the discovery process

Specify the node name pool by giving a noderange to the nodediscoverstart command:

    nodediscoverstart noderange=n[001-010]

The value of noderange should be in the xCAT noderange format.

Note: other node attributes can be given to nodediscoverstart so that xCAT will assign those attributes to the nodes as they are discovered. We aren't showing that in this document, because we already predefined the nodes, the groups they are in, and several attributes (provided by the e1350 templates). If you don't want to predefine nodes, you can give more attributes to nodediscoverstart and have it define the nodes. See the nodediscoverstart man page for details.

Power on the nodes sequentially

At this point you can physically power on the nodes one at a time, in the order you want them to receive their node names.

Display information about the discovery process

There are additional nodediscover commands you can run during the discovery process. See their man pages for more details.

  • Verify the status of discovery
    nodediscoverstatus
  • Show the nodes that have been discovered so far:
    nodediscoverls -t seq -l
  • Stop the current sequential discovery process:
    nodediscoverstop

Note: The sequential discovery process will be stopped automatically when all of the node names in the node name pool are used up.

Option 2: Switch Discovery

This method of discovery assumes that you have the nodes plugged into your ethernet switches in an orderly fashion. So we use each nodes switch port number to determine where it is physically located in the racks and therefore what node name it should be given.

To use this discovery method, you must have already configured the switches as described in (/#configure-ethernet-switches]

The table templates already put group-oriented regular expression entries in the switch table. Use lsdef for a sample node to see if the switch and switchport attributes are correct. If not, use chdef or tabedit to change the values.

If you configured your switches to use SNMP V3, then you need to define several attributes in the switches table. Assuming all of your switches use the same values, you can set these attributes at the group level:

tabch switch=switch switches.snmpversion=3 switches.username=xcat switches.password=passw0rd switches.auth=sha

Option 3: Manually Discover Nodes

Prerequisite: The dynamic dhcp range must be configured before you power on the nodes.

If you have a few nodes which were not discovered by Sequential Discovery or Switch Discovery, you could find them in discoverydata table using the nodediscoverls. The undiscovered nodes are those that have a discovery method value of 'undef' in the discoverydata table.

Display the undefined nodes with the nodediscoverls command:

    nodediscoverls -t undef
     UUID                                    NODE                METHOD         MTM       SERIAL   
     61E5F2D7-0D59-11E2-A7BC-3440B5BEDBB1    undef               undef          786310X   1052EF1  
     FC5F8852-CB97-11E1-8D59-E41F13EEB1BA    undef               undef          7914B2A   06DVAC9   
     96656F17-6482-E011-9954-5CF3FC317F68    undef               undef          7377D2C   99A2007

If you want to manually define an 'undefined' node to a specific free node name, use the nodediscoverdef command (available in xCAT 2.8.2 or higher).

For example, if you have a free node name n10 and you want to assign the undefined node whose uuid is '61E5F2D7-0D59-11E2-A7BC-3440B5BEDBB1' to n10, run:

    nodediscoverdef -u 61E5F2D7-0D59-11E2-A7BC-3440B5BEDBB1 -n n10

After manually defining it, the 'node name' and 'discovery method' attributes of the node will be changed. You can display the changed attributes using the nodediscoverls command:

     nodediscoverls
     UUID                                    NODE                METHOD         MTM       SERIAL  
     **61E5F2D7-0D59-11E2-A7BC-3440B5BEDBB1    n10                 manual         786310X   1052EF1**
     FC5F8852-CB97-11E1-8D59-E41F13EEB1BA    undef               undef          7914B2A   06DVAC9   
     96656F17-6482-E011-9954-5CF3FC317F68    undef               undef          7377D2C   99A2007

You can now also run 'lsdef n10' to see that the 'mac address' and 'mtm' have been updated to the node definition. If the next task like bmcsetup has been set in the chain table, this step will have been started the running of the nodediscoverdef command.

Run the discovery

If you want to update node firmware when you discover the nodes, follow the steps in
XCAT_iDataPlex_Advanced_Setup#Updating_Node_Firmware before continuing.

If you want to automatically deploy the nodes after they are discovered, follow the steps in
XCAT_iDataPlex_Advanced_Setup#Automatically_Deploying_Nodes_After_Discovery before continuing. (But if you are new to xCAT, we don't recommend this.)

To initiate any of the 3 discover methods, walk over to systems and hit the power buttons. For the sequential discovery method power the nodes on in the order that you want them to be given the node names. Wait a short time (about 30 seconds) between each node to ensure they will contact xcatd in the correct order. For the switch and manual discovery processes, you can power on all of the nodes at the same time.

On the MN watch nodes being discovered by:

    tail -f /var/log/messages

Look for the dhcp requests, the xCAT discovery requests, and the "<node> has been discovered" messages.

A quick summary of what is happening during the discovery process is:

  • the nodes request a DHCP IP address and PXE boot instructions
  • the DHCP server on the MN responds with a dynamic IP address and the xCAT genesis boot kernel
  • the genesis boot kernel running on the node sends the MAC and MTMS to xcatd on the MN
  • xcatd asks the switches which port this MAC is on so that it can correlate this physical node with the proper node entry in the database. (Switch Discovery only)
  • xcatd uses specified node name pool to get the proper node entry. (Sequential Discovery only)
    • stores the node's MTMS in the db
    • puts the MAC/IP pair in the DHCP configuration
    • sends several of the node attributes to the genesis kernel on the node
  • the genesis kernel configures the BMC with the proper IP address, userid, and password, and then just drops into a shell

After a successful discovery process, the following attributes will be added to the database for each node. (You can verify this by running lsdef <node> ):

  • mac - the MAC address of the in-band NIC used to manage this node
  • mtm - the hardware type (machine-model)
  • serial - the hardware serial number

If you cannot discover the nodes successfully, see the next section XCAT_iDataPlex_Cluster_Quick_Start#Manually_Discover_Nodes.

If at some later time you want to force a re-discover of a node, run:

    makedhcp -d <noderange>

and then reboot the node(s).

Monitoring Node Discovery

When the bmcsetup process completes on each node (about 5-10 minutes), xCAT genesis will drop into a shell and wait indefinitely (and change the node's currstate attribute to "shell"). You can monitor the progress of the nodes using:

    watch -d 'nodels ipmi chain.currstate|xcoll'

Before all nodes complete, you will see output like:

====================================  
        n1,n10,n11,n75,n76,n77,n78,n79,n8,n80,n81,n82,n83,n84,n85,n86,n87,n88,n89,n9,n90,n91
====================================

shell

====================================  

n31,n32,n33,n34,n35,n36,n37,n38,n39,n4,n40,n41,n42,n43,n44,n45,n46,n47,n48,n49,n5,n50,n51,n52,
 n53,n54,n55,n56,n57,n58,n59,n6,n60,n61,n62,n63,n64,n65,n66,n67,n68,n69,n7,n70,n71,n72,n73,n74
====================================   

    runcmd=bmcsetup

When all nodes have made it to the shell, xcoll will just show that the whole nodegroup "ipmi" has the output "shell":

====================================     
    ipmi
==================================== 

shell

When the nodes are in the xCAT genesis shell, you can ssh or psh to any of the nodes to check anything you want.

Verfiy HW Management Configuration

At this point, the BMCs should all be configured and ready for hardware management. To verify this:

  rpower ipmi stat | xcoll

===================================     
    ipmi
===================================     

    on

HW Settings Necessary for Remote Console

To get the remote console working for each node, some uEFI hardware settings must have specific values. First check the settings, and if they aren't correct, then set them properly. This can be done via the ASU utility. The settings are slightly different, depending on the hardware type:

  • For the dx360-m3 and earlier machines create a file called asu-show with contents:
    show uEFI.Com1ActiveAfterBoot
    show uEFI.SerialPortSharing
    show uEFI.SerialPortAccessMode
    show uEFI.RemoteConsoleRedirection
 And create a file called asu-set with contents:
    set uEFI.Com1ActiveAfterBoot Enable
    set uEFI.SerialPortSharing Enable
    set uEFI.SerialPortAccessMode Dedicated
    set uEFI.RemoteConsoleRedirection Enable
  • For dx360-m4 and later machines create a file called asu-show with contents:
    show DevicesandIOPorts.Com1ActiveAfterBoot
    show DevicesandIOPorts.SerialPortSharing
    show DevicesandIOPorts.SerialPortAccessMode
    show DevicesandIOPorts.RemoteConsole
 And create a file called asu-set with contents:
    set DevicesandIOPorts.Com1ActiveAfterBoot Enable
    set DevicesandIOPorts.SerialPortSharing Enable
    set DevicesandIOPorts.SerialPortAccessMode Dedicated
    set DevicesandIOPorts.RemoteConsole Enable

Then for both types of machines, use the pasu tool to check these settings:

    pasu -b asu-show ipmi | xcoll    # Or you can check just one node and assume the rest are the same

If the settings are not correct, then set them:

    pasu -b asu-set ipmi | xcoll

For alternate ways to set the ASU settings, see XCAT_iDataPlex_Advanced_Setup#Using_ASU_to_Update_CMOS,_uEFI,_or_BIOS_Settings_on_the_Nodes.

Now the remote console should work. Verify it on one node by running:

    rcons <node>

To verify that you can see the genesis shell prompt (after hitting enter). To exit rcons type: ctrl-shift-E (all together), then "c", the ".".

You are now ready to choose an operating system and deployment method for the nodes....

Deploying Nodes

  • In you want to install your nodes as stateful (diskful) nodes, follow the next section XCAT_iDataPlex_Cluster_Quick_Start#Installing_Stateful_Nodes.
  • If you want to define one or more stateless (diskless) OS images and boot the nodes with those, see section XCAT_iDataPlex_Cluster_Quick_Start#Deploying_Stateless_Nodes. This method has the advantage of managing the images in a central place, and having only one image per node type.
  • If you want to have nfs-root statelite nodes, see XCAT_Linux_Statelite. This has the same advantage of managing the images from a central place. It has the added benefit of using less memory on the node while allowing larger images. But it has the drawback of making the nodes dependent on the management node or service nodes (i.e. if the management/service node goes down, the compute nodes booted from it go down too).
  • If you have a very large cluster (more than 500 nodes), at this point you should follow Setting_Up_a_Linux_Hierarchical_Cluster to install and configure your service nodes. After that you can return here to install or diskless boot your compute nodes.

Installing Stateful Nodes

This section describes deploying stateful nodes.
There are two options to install your nodes as stateful (diskful) nodes:

  1. Use ISOs or DVDs, follow the Option 1 , Installing Stateful Nodes using ISOs or DVDs below.
  2. Clone new nodes from a pre-installed/pre-configured node, follow the Option 2,Installing Stateful Nodes Using Sysclone below.

Option 1: Installing Stateful Nodes Using ISOs or DVDs

This section describes the process for setting up xCAT to install nodes; that is how to install an OS on the disk of each node.

Create the Distro Repository on the MN

The copycds command copies the contents of the linux distro media to /install/<os>/<arch> so that it will be available to install nodes with or create diskless images.

  • Obtain the Redhat or SLES ISOs or DVDs.
  • If using an ISO, copy it to (or NFS mount it on) the management node, and then run:
    copycds <path>/RHEL6.2-*-Server-x86_64-DVD1.iso
  • If using a DVD, put it in the DVD drive of the management node and run:
    copycds /dev/dvd       # or whatever the device name of your dvd drive is

Tip: if this is the same distro version as your management node, create a .repo file in /etc/yum.repos.d with content similar to:

    [local-rhels6.2-x86_64]
    name=xCAT local rhels 6.2
    baseurl=file:/install/rhels6.2/x86_64
    enabled=1
    gpgcheck=0

This way, if you need some additional RPMs on your MN at a later, you can simply install them using yum. Or if you are installing other software on your MN that requires some additional RPMs from the disto, they will automatically be found and installed.

Select or Create an osimage Definition

The copycds command also automatically creates several osimage defintions in the database that can be used for node deployment. To see them:

    lsdef -t osimage          # see the list of osimages
    lsdef -t osimage <osimage-name>          # see the attributes of a particular osimage

From the list above, select the osimage for your distro, architecture, provisioning method (in this case install), and profile (compute, service, etc.). Although it is optional, we recommend you make a copy of the osimage, changing its name to a simpler name. For example:

    lsdef -t osimage -z rhels6.2-x86_64-install-compute | sed 's/^[^ ]\+:/mycomputeimage:/' | mkdef -z

This displays the osimage "rhels6.2-x86_64-install-compute" in a format that can be used as input to mkdef, but on the way there it uses sed to modify the name of the object to "mycomputeimage".

Initially, this osimage object points to templates, pkglists, etc. that are shipped by default with xCAT. And some attributes, for example otherpkglist and synclists, won't have any value at all because xCAT doesn't ship a default file for that. You can now change/fill in any osimage attributes that you want. A general convention is that if you are modifying one of the default files that an osimage attribute points to, copy it into /install/custom and have your osimage point to it there. (If you modify the copy under /opt/xcat directly, it will be over-written the next time you upgrade xCAT.)

But for now, we will use the default values in the osimage definition and continue on. (If you really want to see examples of modifying/creating the pkglist, template, otherpkgs pkglist, and sync file list, see the section [Using_Provmethod=osimagename]. Most of the examples there can be used for stateful nodes too.)

Install a New Kernel on the Nodes (Optional)

Create a postscript file called (for example) updatekernel:

    vi /install/postscripts/updatekernel

Add the following lines to the file:

    #!/bin/bash
    rpm -Uivh data/kernel-*rpm

Change the permission on the file:

    chmod 755 /install/postscripts/updatekernel

Make the new kernel RPM available to the postscript:

    mkdir /install/postscripts/data
    cp <kernel> /install/postscripts/data

Add the postscript to your compute nodes:

    chdef -p -t group compute postscripts=updatekernel

Now when you install your nodes (done in a step below), it will also update the kernel.

Alternatively, you could install your nodes with the stock kernel, and update the nodes afterward using updatenode and the same postscript above, in this case, you need to reboot your nodes to make the new kernel be effective.

Customize the disk partitioning (Optional)

By default, xCAT will install the operating system on the first disk and with default partitions layout in the node. However, you may choose to customize the disk partitioning during the install process and define a specific disk layout. You can do this in one of two ways:

Partition definition file

You could create a customized osimage partition file, say /install/custom/my-partitions, that contains the disk partitioning definition, then associate the partition file with osimage, the nodeset command will insert the contents of this file directly into the generated autoinst configuration file that will be used by the OS installer.

Create partition file

The partition file must follow the partitioning syntax of the installer(e.g. kickstart for RedHat, AutoYaST for SLES, Preseed for Ubuntu).

Here are examples of the partition file:

RedHat Standard Partitions for IBM Power machines

# Uncomment this PReP line for IBM Power servers
#part None --fstype "PPC PReP Boot" --size 8 --ondisk sda
# Uncomment this efi line for x86_64 servers
#part /boot/efi --size 50 --ondisk /dev/sda --fstype efi
part /boot --size 256 --fstype ext4
part swap --recommended --ondisk sda
part / --size 1 --grow --fstype ext4 --ondisk sda

RedHat LVM Partitions

# Uncomment this PReP line for IBM Power servers
#part None --fstype "PPC PReP Boot" --ondisk /dev/sda --size 8
# Uncomment this efi line for x86_64 servers
#part /boot/efi --size 50 --ondisk /dev/sda --fstype efi
part /boot --size 256 --fstype ext4 --ondisk /dev/sda
part swap --recommended --ondisk /dev/sda
part pv.01 --size 1 --grow --ondisk /dev/sda
volgroup system pv.01
logvol / --vgname=system --name=root --size 1 --grow --fstype ext4

RedHat RAID 1 configuration

See Use_RAID1_In_xCAT_Cluster for more details.

x86_64 SLES Standard Partitions

      <drive>
         <device>/dev/sda</device>
         <initialize config:type="boolean">true</initialize>
         <use>all</use>
         <partitions config:type="list">
           <partition>
             <create config:type="boolean">true</create>
             <filesystem config:type="symbol">swap</filesystem>
             <format config:type="boolean">true</format>
             <mount>swap</mount>
             <mountby config:type="symbol">path</mountby>
             <partition_nr config:type="integer">1</partition_nr>
             <partition_type>primary</partition_type>
             <size>32G</size>
           </partition>
           <partition>
             <create config:type="boolean">true</create>
             <filesystem config:type="symbol">ext3</filesystem>
             <format config:type="boolean">true</format>
             <mount>/</mount>
             <mountby config:type="symbol">path</mountby>
             <partition_nr config:type="integer">2</partition_nr>
             <partition_type>primary</partition_type>
             <size>64G</size>
           </partition>
         </partitions>
       </drive>

x86_64 SLES LVM Partitions

<drive>
  <device>/dev/sda</device>
  <initialize config:type="boolean">true</initialize>
  <partitions config:type="list">
    <partition>
      <create config:type="boolean">true</create>
      <crypt_fs config:type="boolean">false</crypt_fs>
      <filesystem config:type="symbol">ext3</filesystem>
      <format config:type="boolean">true</format>
      <loop_fs config:type="boolean">false</loop_fs>
      <mountby config:type="symbol">device</mountby>
      <partition_id config:type="integer">65</partition_id>
      <partition_nr config:type="integer">1</partition_nr>
      <pool config:type="boolean">false</pool>
      <raid_options/>
      <resize config:type="boolean">false</resize>
      <size>8M</size>
      <stripes config:type="integer">1</stripes>
      <stripesize config:type="integer">4</stripesize>
      <subvolumes config:type="list"/>
    </partition>
    <partition>
      <create config:type="boolean">true</create>
      <crypt_fs config:type="boolean">false</crypt_fs>
      <filesystem config:type="symbol">ext3</filesystem>
      <format config:type="boolean">true</format>
      <loop_fs config:type="boolean">false</loop_fs>
      <mount>/boot</mount>
      <mountby config:type="symbol">device</mountby>
      <partition_id config:type="integer">131</partition_id>
      <partition_nr config:type="integer">2</partition_nr>
      <pool config:type="boolean">false</pool>
      <raid_options/>
      <resize config:type="boolean">false</resize>
      <size>256M</size>
      <stripes config:type="integer">1</stripes>
      <stripesize config:type="integer">4</stripesize>
      <subvolumes config:type="list"/>
    </partition>
    <partition>
      <create config:type="boolean">true</create>
      <crypt_fs config:type="boolean">false</crypt_fs>
      <format config:type="boolean">false</format>
      <loop_fs config:type="boolean">false</loop_fs>
      <lvm_group>vg0</lvm_group>
      <mountby config:type="symbol">device</mountby>
      <partition_id config:type="integer">142</partition_id>
      <partition_nr config:type="integer">3</partition_nr>
      <pool config:type="boolean">false</pool>
      <raid_options/>
      <resize config:type="boolean">false</resize>
      <size>max</size>
      <stripes config:type="integer">1</stripes>
      <stripesize config:type="integer">4</stripesize>
      <subvolumes config:type="list"/>
    </partition>
  </partitions>
  <pesize></pesize>
  <type config:type="symbol">CT_DISK</type>
  <use>all</use>
</drive>
<drive>
  <device>/dev/vg0</device>
  <initialize config:type="boolean">true</initialize>
  <partitions config:type="list">
    <partition>
      <create config:type="boolean">true</create>
      <crypt_fs config:type="boolean">false</crypt_fs>
      <filesystem config:type="symbol">swap</filesystem>
      <format config:type="boolean">true</format>
      <loop_fs config:type="boolean">false</loop_fs>
      <lv_name>swap</lv_name>
      <mount>swap</mount>
      <mountby config:type="symbol">device</mountby>
      <partition_id config:type="integer">130</partition_id>
      <partition_nr config:type="integer">5</partition_nr>
      <pool config:type="boolean">false</pool>
      <raid_options/>
      <resize config:type="boolean">false</resize>
      <size>auto</size>
      <stripes config:type="integer">1</stripes>
      <stripesize config:type="integer">4</stripesize>
      <subvolumes config:type="list"/>
    </partition>
    <partition>
      <create config:type="boolean">true</create>
      <crypt_fs config:type="boolean">false</crypt_fs>
      <filesystem config:type="symbol">ext3</filesystem>
      <format config:type="boolean">true</format>
      <loop_fs config:type="boolean">false</loop_fs>
      <lv_name>root</lv_name>
      <mount>/</mount>
      <mountby config:type="symbol">device</mountby>
      <partition_id config:type="integer">131</partition_id>
      <partition_nr config:type="integer">1</partition_nr>
      <pool config:type="boolean">false</pool>
      <raid_options/>
      <resize config:type="boolean">false</resize>
      <size>max</size>
      <stripes config:type="integer">1</stripes>
      <stripesize config:type="integer">4</stripesize>
      <subvolumes config:type="list"/>
    </partition>
  </partitions>
  <pesize></pesize>
  <type config:type="symbol">CT_LVM</type>
  <use>all</use>
</drive>

ppc64 SLES Standard Partitions

    <drive>
      <device>/dev/sda</device>
      <initialize config:type="boolean">true</initialize>
      <partitions config:type="list">
        <partition>
          <create config:type="boolean">true</create>
          <crypt_fs config:type="boolean">false</crypt_fs>
          <filesystem config:type="symbol">ext3</filesystem>
          <format config:type="boolean">false</format>
          <loop_fs config:type="boolean">false</loop_fs>
          <mountby config:type="symbol">device</mountby>
          <partition_id config:type="integer">65</partition_id>
          <partition_nr config:type="integer">1</partition_nr>
          <resize config:type="boolean">false</resize>
          <size>auto</size>
        </partition>
        <partition>
          <create config:type="boolean">true</create>
          <crypt_fs config:type="boolean">false</crypt_fs>
          <filesystem config:type="symbol">swap</filesystem>
          <format config:type="boolean">true</format>
          <fstopt>defaults</fstopt>
          <loop_fs config:type="boolean">false</loop_fs>
          <mount>swap</mount>
          <mountby config:type="symbol">id</mountby>
          <partition_id config:type="integer">130</partition_id>
          <partition_nr config:type="integer">2</partition_nr>
          <resize config:type="boolean">false</resize>
          <size>auto</size>
        </partition>
        <partition>
          <create config:type="boolean">true</create>
          <crypt_fs config:type="boolean">false</crypt_fs>
          <filesystem config:type="symbol">ext3</filesystem>
          <format config:type="boolean">true</format>
          <fstopt>acl,user_xattr</fstopt>
          <loop_fs config:type="boolean">false</loop_fs>
          <mount>/</mount>
          <mountby config:type="symbol">id</mountby>
          <partition_id config:type="integer">131</partition_id>
          <partition_nr config:type="integer">3</partition_nr>
          <resize config:type="boolean">false</resize>
          <size>max</size>
        </partition>
      </partitions>
      <pesize></pesize>
      <type config:type="symbol">CT_DISK</type>
      <use>all</use>
    </drive>

SLES RAID 1 configuration

See Use_RAID1_In_xCAT_Cluster for more details.

Ubuntu standard partition configuration on PPC64le

8 1 32 prep
        $primary{ }
        $bootable{ }
        method{ prep } .

256 256 512 ext3
        $primary{ }
        method{ format }
        format{ }
        use_filesystem{ }
        filesystem{ ext3 }
        mountpoint{ /boot } .

64 512 300% linux-swap
        method{ swap }
        format{ } .

512 1024 4096 ext3
        $primary{ }
        method{ format }
        format{ }
        use_filesystem{ }
        filesystem{ ext4 }
        mountpoint{ / } .

100 10000 1000000000 ext3
        method{ format }
        format{ }
        use_filesystem{ }
        filesystem{ ext4 }
        mountpoint{ /home } .

Ubuntu standard partition configuration on X86_64

256 256 512 vfat
        $primary{ }
        method{ format }
        format{ }
        use_filesystem{ }
        filesystem{ vfat }
        mountpoint{ /boot/efi } .

256 256 512 ext3
        $primary{ }
        method{ format }
        format{ }
        use_filesystem{ }
        filesystem{ ext3 }
        mountpoint{ /boot } .

64 512 300% linux-swap
        method{ swap }
        format{ } .

512 1024 4096 ext3
        $primary{ }
        method{ format }
        format{ }
        use_filesystem{ }
        filesystem{ ext4 }
        mountpoint{ / } .

100 10000 1000000000 ext3
        method{ format }
        format{ }
        use_filesystem{ }
        filesystem{ ext4 }
        mountpoint{ /home } .

If none of these examples could be used in your cluster, you could refer to the Kickstart documentation or Autoyast documentation or Preseed documentation to write your own partitions layout. Meanwhile, RedHat and SuSE provides some tools that could help generate kickstart/autoyast templates, in which you could refer to the partition section for the partitions layout information:

  • RedHat:

    • The file /root/anaconda-ks.cfg is a sample kickstart file created by RedHat installer during the installation process based on the options that you selected.
    • system-config-kickstart is a tool with graphical interface for creating kickstart files
  • SLES

    • Use yast2 autoyast in GUI or CLI mode to customize the installation options and create autoyast file
    • Use yast2 clone_system to create autoyast configuration file /root/autoinst.xml to clone an existing system
  • Ubuntu

    • For detailed information see the files partman-auto-recipe.txt and partman-auto-raid-recipe.txt included in the debian-installer package. Both files are also available from the debian-installer source repository. Note that the supported functionality may change between releases.
Associate partition file with osimage
      chdef -t osimage <osimagename> partitionfile=/install/custom/my-partitions
      nodeset <nodename> osimage=<osimage>

For Redhat, when nodeset runs and generates the /install/autoinst file for a node, it will replace the #XCAT_PARTITION_START#...#XCAT_PARTITION_END# directives from your osimage template with the contents of your custom partitionfile.

For Ubuntu, when nodeset runs and generates the /install/autoinst file for a node, it will generate a script to write the partition configuration to /tmp/partitionfile, this script will replace the #XCA_PARTMAN_RECIPE_SCRIPT# directive in /install/autoinst/<node>.pre.

Partitioning definition script(for RedHat and Ubuntu)

Create a shell script that will be run on the node during the install process to dynamically create the disk partitioning definition. This script will be run during the OS installer %pre script on Redhat or preseed/early_command on Unbuntu execution and must write the correct partitioning definition into the file /tmp/partitionfile on the node.

Create partition script

The purpose of the partition script is to create the /tmp/partionfile that will be inserted into the kickstart/autoyast/preseed template, the script could include complex logic like select which disk to install and even configure RAID, etc..

Note: the partition script feature is not thoroughly tested on SLES, there might be problems, use this feature on SLES at your own risk.

Here is an example of the partition script on Redhat and SLES, the partitioning script is /install/custom/my-partitions.sh:

instdisk="/dev/sda"

modprobe ext4 >& /dev/null
modprobe ext4dev >& /dev/null
if grep ext4dev /proc/filesystems > /dev/null; then
        FSTYPE=ext3
elif grep ext4 /proc/filesystems > /dev/null; then
        FSTYPE=ext4
else
        FSTYPE=ext3
fi
BOOTFSTYPE=ext3
EFIFSTYPE=vfat
if uname -r|grep ^3.*el7 > /dev/null; then
    FSTYPE=xfs
    BOOTFSTYPE=xfs
    EFIFSTYPE=efi
fi

if [ `uname -m` = "ppc64" ]; then
        echo 'part None --fstype "PPC PReP Boot" --ondisk '$instdisk' --size 8' >> /tmp/partitionfile
fi
if [ -d /sys/firmware/efi ]; then
    echo 'bootloader --driveorder='$instdisk >> /tmp/partitionfile
        echo 'part /boot/efi --size 50 --ondisk '$instdisk' --fstype $EFIFSTYPE' >> /tmp/partitionfile
else
    echo 'bootloader' >> /tmp/partitionfile
fi

echo "part /boot --size 512 --fstype $BOOTFSTYPE --ondisk $instdisk" >> /tmp/partitionfile
echo "part swap --recommended --ondisk $instdisk" >> /tmp/partitionfile
echo "part / --size 1 --grow --ondisk $instdisk --fstype $FSTYPE" >> /tmp/partitionfile

The following is an example of the partition script on Ubuntu, the partitioning script is /install/custom/my-partitions.sh:

if [ -d /sys/firmware/efi ]; then
    echo "ubuntu-efi ::" > /tmp/partitionfile
    echo "    512 512 1024 fat16" >> /tmp/partitionfile
    echo '    $iflabel{ gpt } $reusemethod{ } method{ efi } format{ }' >> /tmp/partitionfile
    echo "    ." >> /tmp/partitionfile
else
    echo "ubuntu-boot ::" > /tmp/partitionfile
    echo "100 50 100 ext3" >> /tmp/partitionfile
    echo '    $primary{ } $bootable{ } method{ format } format{ } use_filesystem{ } filesystem{ ext3 } mountpoint{ /boot }' >> /tmp/partitionfile
    echo "    ." >> /tmp/partitionfile
fi
echo "500 10000 1000000000 ext3" >> /tmp/partitionfile
echo "    method{ format } format{ } use_filesystem{ } filesystem{ ext3 } mountpoint{ / }" >> /tmp/partitionfile
echo "    ." >> /tmp/partitionfile
echo "2048 512 300% linux-swap" >> /tmp/partitionfile
echo "    method{ swap } format{ }" >> /tmp/partitionfile
echo "    ." >> /tmp/partitionfile
Associate partition script with osimage:
         chdef -t osimage <osimagename> partitionfile='s:/install/custom/my-partitions.sh'
         nodeset <nodename> osimage=<osimage>

Note: the 's:' preceding the filename tells nodeset that this is a script.
For Redhat, when nodeset runs and generates the /install/autoinst file for a node, it will add the execution of the contents of this script to the %pre section of that file. The nodeset command will then replace the #XCAT_PARTITION_START#...#XCAT_PARTITION_END# directives from the osimage template file with "%include /tmp/partitionfile" to dynamically include the tmp definition file your script created.
For Ubuntu, when nodeset runs and generates the /install/autoinst file for a node, it will replace the "#XCA_PARTMAN_RECIPE_SCRIPT#" directive and add the execution of the contents of this script to the /install/autoinst/<node>.pre, the /install/autoinst/<node>.pre script will be run in the preseed/early_command.

Partitioning disk file(For Ubuntu only)

The disk file contains the name of the disks to partition in traditional, non-devfs format and delimited with space “ ”, for example,

/dev/sda /dev/sdb 

If not specified, the default value will be used.

Associate partition disk file with osimage:
         chdef -t osimage <osimagename> -p partitionfile='d:/install/custom/partitiondisk'
         nodeset <nodename> osimage=<osimage>

Note: the 'd:' preceding the filename tells nodeset that this is a partition disk file.
For Ubuntu, when nodeset runs and generates the /install/autoinst file for a node, it will generate a script to write the content of the partition disk file to /tmp/boot_disk, this context to run the script will replace the #XCA_PARTMAN_DISK_SCRIPT# directive in /install/autoinst/<node>.pre.

Partitioning disk script(For Ubuntu only)

The disk script contains a script to generate a partitioning disk file named "/tmp/boot_disk". for example,

    rm /tmp/devs-with-boot 2>/dev/null || true; 
    for d in $(list-devices partition); do 
        mkdir -p /tmp/mymount; 
        rc=0; 
        mount $d /tmp/mymount || rc=$?; 
        if [[ $rc -eq 0 ]]; then 
            [[ -d /tmp/mymount/boot ]] && echo $d >>/tmp/devs-with-boot; 
            umount /tmp/mymount; 
        fi 
    done; 
    if [[ -e /tmp/devs-with-boot ]]; then 
        head -n1 /tmp/devs-with-boot | egrep  -o '\S+[^0-9]' > /tmp/boot_disk; 
        rm /tmp/devs-with-boot 2>/dev/null || true; 
    else 
        DEV=`ls /dev/disk/by-path/* -l | egrep -o '/dev.*[s|h|v]d[^0-9]$' | sort -t : -k 1 -k 2 -k 3 -k 4 -k 5 -k 6 -k 7 -k 8 -g | head -n1 | egrep -o '[s|h|v]d.*$'`; 
        if [[ "$DEV" == "" ]]; then DEV="sda"; fi; 
        echo "/dev/$DEV" > /tmp/boot_disk; 
    fi;  

If not specified, the default value will be used.

Associate partition disk script with osimage:
         chdef -t osimage <osimagename> -p partitionfile='s:d:/install/custom/partitiondiskscript'
         nodeset <nodename> osimage=<osimage>

Note: the 's:' prefix tells nodeset that is a script, the 's:d:' preceding the filename tells nodeset that this is a script to generate the partition disk file.
For Ubuntu, when nodeset runs and generates the /install/autoinst file for a node, this context to run the script will replace the #XCA_PARTMAN_DISK_SCRIPT# directive in /install/autoinst/<node>.pre.

Additional preseed configuration file and additional preseed configuration script (For Ubuntu only)

To support other specific partition methods such as RAID or LVM in Ubuntu, some additional preseed configuration entries should be specified, these entries can be specified in 2 ways:

'c:<the absolute path of the additional preseed config file>', the additional preseed config file
 contains the additional preseed entries in "d-i ..." syntax. When "nodeset", the     
#XCA_PARTMAN_ADDITIONAL_CFG# directive in /install/autoinst/<node> will be replaced with 
content of the config file, an example:
d-i partman-auto/method string raid
d-i partman-md/confirm boolean true
's:c:<the absolute path of the additional preseed config script>',  the additional preseed config
 script is a script to set the preseed values with "debconf-set". When "nodeset", the 
#XCA_PARTMAN_ADDITIONAL_CONFIG_SCRIPT# directive in /install/autoinst/<node>.pre will be replaced 
with the content of the script, an example:
debconf-set partman-auto/method string raid
debconf-set partman-md/confirm boolean true

If not specified, the default value will be used.

Associate additional preseed configuration file or additional preseed configuration script with osimage:

Associate additional preseed configuration file by:

         chdef -t osimage <osimagename> -p partitionfile='c:/install/custom/configfile'
         nodeset <nodename> osimage=<osimage>

Associate additional preseed configuration script by:

         chdef -t osimage <osimagename> -p partitionfile='s:c:/install/custom/configscript'
         nodeset <nodename> osimage=<osimage>
Debug partition script

If the partition script has any problem, the os installation will probably hang, to debug the partition script, you could enable the ssh access in the installer during installation, then login the node through ssh after the installer has started the sshd.
For Redhat, you could specify sshd in the kernel parameter and then kickstart will start the sshd when Anaconda starts, then you could login the node using ssh to debug the problem:

chdef <nodename> addkcmdline="sshd"
nodeset <nodename> osimage=<osimage>

For Ubuntu, you could insert the following preseed entries to /install/autoinst/<node> to tell the debian installer to start the ssh server and wait for you to connect:

d-i anna/choose_modules string network-console
d-i preseed/early_command string anna-install network-console

d-i network-console/password-disabled boolean false
d-i network-console/password           password cluster
d-i network-console/password-again     password cluster

** Note: For the entry "d-i preseed/early_command string anna-install network-console",if there is already a "preseed/early_command" entry in /install/autoinst/<node>, the value "anna-install network-console" should be appended to the existed "preseed/early_command" entry carefully, otherwise, the former will be overwritten.

set the kernel options which will be persistent the installed system(Optional)

The attributes “linuximage.addkcmdline” and “bootparams.addkcmdline” are the interfaces for the user to specify some additional kernel options to be passed to kernel/installer for node deployment.

The added kernel parameters can be 'OS deployment Only' or 'Reboot Only'(Added to the grub2.conf). A specific prefix 'R::' is defined to identify that this parameter is 'Reboot Only'. Otherwise, it's 'OS deployment Only'.

For example, to specify the redhat7 kernel option “net.ifnames=0” to be persistent (Reboot Only), that means it does take effect even after reboot:

chdef -t osimage -o rhels7-ppc64-install-compute -p addkcmdline="R::net.ifnames=0"

Note: The persistent kernel options with prefix 'R::' won't be passed to the OS installer for node deployment. So that means if you want a parameter to be available for both 'OS deployment' and 'Reboot', you need to specify the parameter twice with and without 'R::' prefix.

[SLES] set the netwait kernel parameter (Optional)

If there are quite a few(e.g. 12) network adapters on the SLES compute nodes, the os provisioning progress might hang because that the kernel would timeout waiting for the network driver to initialize. The symptom is the compute node could not find os provisioning repository, the error message is "Please make sure your installation medium is available. Retry?".

To avoid this problem, you could specify the kernel parameter "netwait" to have the kernel wait the network adapters initialization. On a node with 12 network adapters, the netwait=60 did the trick.

  chdef <nodename> -p addkcmdline="netwait=60"

Update the Distro at a Later Time

After the initial install of the distro onto nodes, if you want to update the distro on the nodes (either with a few updates or a new SP) without reinstalling the nodes:

  • create the new repo using copycds:
    copycds <path>/RHEL6.3-*-Server-x86_64-DVD1.iso
 Or, for just a few updated rpms, you can copy the updated rpms from the distributor into a directory under /install and run createrepo in that directory.
  • add the new repo to the pkgdir attribute of the osimage:
    chdef -t osimage rhels6.2-x86_64-install-compute -p pkgdir=/install/rhels6.3/x86_64
 Note: the above command will add a 2nd repo to the pkgdir attribute. This is only supported for xCAT 2.8.2 and above. For earlier versions of xCAT, omit the -p flag to replace the existing repo directory with the new one.
  • run the ospkgs postscript to have yum update all rpms on the nodes
    updatenode compute -P ospkgs

Option 2: Installing Stateful Nodes Using Sysclone

This section describes how to install or configure a diskful node (we call it a golden-client), capture an osimage from this golden-client, then the osimage can be used to install/clone other nodes. See Using_Clone_to_Deploy_Server for more information.

Note: this support is available in xCAT 2.8.2 and above.

Install or Configure the Golden Client

If you want to use the sysclone provisioning method, you need a golden-client. In this way, you can customize and tweak the golden-client’s software and configuration according to your needs, and verify it’s proper operation. Once the image is captured and deployed, the new nodes will behave in the same way the golden-client does.

To install a golden-client, follow the section Installing_Stateful_Linux_Nodes#Option_1:_Installing_Stateful_Nodes_Using_ISOs_or_DVDs.

To install the systemimager rpms on the golden-client, do these steps on the mgmt node:

  • Download the xcat-dep tarball which includes systemimager rpms. (You might already have the xcat-dep tarball on the mgmt node.)

    Go to xcat-dep and get the latest xCAT dependency tarball. Copy the file to the management node and untar it in the appropriate sub-directory of /install/post/otherpkgs. For example:

    (For RH/CentOS):    
    mkdir -p /install/post/otherpkgs/rhels6.3/x86_64/xcat
    cd /install/post/otherpkgs/rhels6.3/x86_64/xcat
    tar jxvf xcat-dep-*.tar.bz2

    (For SLES):  
    mkdir -p /install/post/otherpkgs/sles11.3/x86_64/xcat
    cd /install/post/otherpkgs/sles11.3/x86_64/xcat
    tar jxvf xcat-dep-*.tar.bz2
  • Add the sysclone otherpkglist file and otherpkgdir to osimage definition that is used for the golden client, and then use updatenode to install the rpms. For example:
    (For RH/CentOS): 
    chdef -t osimage -o <osimage-name> otherpkglist=/opt/xcat/share/xcat/install/rh/sysclone.rhels6.x86_64.otherpkgs.pkglist
    chdef -t osimage -o <osimage-name> -p otherpkgdir=/install/post/otherpkgs/rhels6.3/x86_64
    updatenode <my-golden-cilent> -S

    (For SLES):  
    chdef -t osimage -o <osimage-name> otherpkglist=/opt/xcat/share/xcat/install/sles/sysclone.sles11.x86_64.otherpkgs.pkglist
    chdef -t osimage -o <osimage-name> -p otherpkgdir=/install/post/otherpkgs/sles11.3/x86_64
    updatenode <my-golden-cilent> -S

Capture image from the Golden Client

On the mgmt node, use imgcapture to capture an osimage from the golden-client.

    imgcapture <my-golden-client> -t sysclone -o <mycomputeimage>

Tip: when imgcapture is run, it pulls the osimage from the golden-client, and creates the image files system and a corresponding osimage definition on the xcat management node.

 lsdef -t osimage <mycomputeimage> to check the osimage attributes. 

Begin Installation

Configure the PXE boot mode of the node

For Lenovo NextScale NX360 M5 servers, you need to determine the system boot mode("UEFI Mode" or "Legacy Mode") before provision, then configure the system boot mode with pasu. To running pasu, you must install the ASU(Advanced Settings Utility) RPM on the management node, please refer to Using ASU to Update CMOS, uEFI, or BIOS Settings on the Nodes for details to download and install ASU.

To keep things easy, please follow the steps below to configure the PXE boot mode according to your requirement:

  • Make sure the BootModes.SystemBootMode is "UEFI Mode" by running:
pasu compute show BootModes.SystemBootMode 

If the value of BootModes.SystemBootMode is not "UEFI Mode", please modify it with:

pasu compute set BootModes.SystemBootMode "UEFI Mode"
  • If you need to enable "Legacy Mode", please add the "Legacy Only" entry into the Bootorder.Bootorder with the steps below:
    First, read the current value of Bootorder.Bootorder with
pasu compute show  Bootorder.Bootorder 
compute: BootOrder.BootOrder=SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP4 - Boot0009=SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP4 - Boot0008=PXE Network=Hard Disk 0

Then, add "Legacy Only" to Bootorder.Bootorder with

pasu compute set  Bootorder.Bootorder "SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP4 - Boot0009=SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP4 - Boot0008=Legacy Only=PXE Network=Hard Disk 0"

Specify the osimage to provision

The nodeset command specifies the osimage to provision on the node.

nodeset compute osimage=mycomputeimage

Tip: when nodeset is run, it processes the kickstart/autoyast/preseed template associated with the osimage, plugging in node-specific attributes, and creates a specific kickstart/autoyast/preseed file for each node in /install/autoinst. If you need to customize the template, make a copy of the template file that is pointed to by the osimage.template attribute and edit that file (or the files it includes).

Specify the PXE network boot mode for installation

rsetboot specifies the node to boot from network next time for provisioning. Since you have decided the system boot mode, you can specify the installation boot mode to "UEFI Mode" with

rsetboot compute net -u

you can specify the installation boot mode to "Legacy Mode" with

rsetboot compute net

Power on the node to start installation

Powering on the node using rpower to start the installation process:

    rpower compute boot

Monitor installation

It is possible to use the wcons command to watch the installation process for a sampling of the nodes:

wcons n1,n20,n80,n100

or rcons to watch one node

rcons n1

Additionally, nodestat may be used to check the status of a node as it installs:

nodestat n20,n21
n20: installing man-pages - 2.39-10.el5 (0%)
n21: installing prep

Note: the percentage complete reported by nodestat is not necessarily reliable.

You can also watch nodelist.status until it changes to "booted" for each node:

nodels compute nodelist.status | xcoll

Once all of the nodes are installed and booted, you should be able ssh to all of them from the MN (w/o a password), because xCAT should have automatically set up the ssh keys (if the postscripts ran successfully):

xdsh compute date

If there are problems, see [Debugging_xCAT_Problems].

Deploying Stateless Nodes

Note: this section describes how to create a stateless image using the genimage command to install a list of rpms into the image. As an alternative, you can also capture an image from a running node and create a stateless image out of it. See [Capture_Linux_Image] for details.

Create the Distro Repository on the MN

The copycds command copies the contents of the linux distro media to /install/<os>/<arch> so that it will be available to install nodes with or create diskless images.

  • Obtain the Redhat or SLES ISOs or DVDs.
  • If using an ISO, copy it to (or NFS mount it on) the management node, and then run:

    copycds <path>/RHEL6.2-Server-20080430.0-x86_64-DVD.iso

  • If using a DVD, put it in the DVD drive of the management node and run:

    copycds /dev/dvd # or whatever the device name of your dvd drive is

Tip: if this is the same distro version as your management node, create a .repo file in /etc/yum.repos.d with content similar to:

[local-rhels6.2-x86_64]
name=xCAT local rhels 6.2
baseurl=file:/install/rhels6.2/x86_64
enabled=1
gpgcheck=0

This way, if you need some additional RPMs on your MN at a later, you can simply install them using yum. Or if you are installing other software on your MN that requires some additional RPMs from the disto, they will automatically be found and installed.

Using an osimage Definition

Note: To use an osimage as your provisioning method, you need to be running xCAT 2.6.6 or later.

The provmethod attribute of your nodes should contain the name of the osimage object definition that is being used for those nodes. The osimage object contains paths for pkgs, templates, kernels, etc. If you haven't already, run copycds to copy the distro rpms to /install. Default osimage objects are also defined when copycds is run. To view the osimages:

    lsdef -t osimage          # see the list of osimages
    lsdef -t osimage <osimage-name>
          # see the attributes of a particular osimage

Select or Create an osimage Definition

From the list found above, select the osimage for your distro, architecture, provisioning method (install, netboot, statelite), and profile (compute, service, etc.). Although it is optional, we recommend you make a copy of the osimage, changing its name to a simpler name. For example:

    lsdef -t osimage -z rhels6.3-x86_64-netboot-compute | sed 's/^[^ ]\+:/mycomputeimage:/' | mkdef -z

This displays the osimage "rhels6.3-x86_64-netboot-compute" in a format that can be used as input to mkdef, but on the way there it uses sed to modify the name of the object to "mycomputeimage".

Initially, this osimage object points to templates, pkglists, etc. that are shipped by default with xCAT. And some attributes, for example otherpkglist and synclists, won't have any value at all because xCAT doesn't ship a default file for that. You can now change/fill in any osimage attributes that you want. A general convention is that if you are modifying one of the default files that an osimage attribute points to, copy it into /install/custom and have your osimage point to it there. (If you modify the copy under /opt/xcat directly, it will be over-written the next time you upgrade xCAT.) An important attribute to change is the rootimgdir which will contain the generated osimage files so that you don't over-write an image built with the shipped definitions. To continue the previous example:

      chdef -t osimage -o mycomputeimage rootimgdir=/install/netboot/rhels6.3/x86_64/mycomputeimage

Set up pkglists

You likely want to customize the main pkglist for the image. This is the list of rpms or groups that will be installed from the distro. (Other rpms that they depend on will be installed automatically.) For example:

    mkdir -p /install/custom/netboot/rh
    cp -p /opt/xcat/share/xcat/netboot/rh/compute.rhels6.x86_64.pkglist /install/custom/netboot/rh
    vi /install/custom/netboot/rh/compute.rhels6.x86_64.pkglist
    chdef -t osimage mycomputeimage pkglist=/install/custom/netboot/rh/compute.rhels6.x86_64.pkglist

The goal is to install the fewest number of rpms that still provides the function and applications that you need, because the resulting ramdisk will use real memory in your nodes.

Also, check to see if the default exclude list excludes all files and directories you do not want in the image. The exclude list enables you to trim the image after the rpms are installed into the image, so that you can make the image as small as possible.

    cp /opt/xcat/share/xcat/netboot/rh/compute.exlist /install/custom/netboot/rh
    vi /install/custom/netboot/rh/compute.exlist 
    chdef -t osimage mycomputeimage exlist=/install/custom/netboot/rh/compute.exlist

Make sure nothing is excluded in the exclude list that you need on the node. For example, if you require perl on your nodes, remove the line "./usr/lib/perl5*".

Installing OS Updates By Setting linuximage.pkgdir(only support for rhels and sles)

The linuximage.pkgdir is the name of the directory where the distro packages are stored. It can be set to multiple paths. The multiple paths must be separated by ",". The first path is the value of osimage.pkgdir and must be the OS base pkg directory path, such as pkgdir=/install/rhels6.5/x86_64,/install/updates/rhels6.5/x86_64 . In the os base pkg path, there is default repository data. In the other pkg path(s), the users should make sure there is repository data. If not, use "createrepo" command to create them.

If you have additional os update rpms (rpms may be come directly the os website, or from one of the os supplemental/SDK DVDs) that you also want installed, make a directory to hold them, create a list of the rpms you want installed, and add that information to the osimage definition:

  • Create a directory to hold the additional rpms:
    mkdir -p /install/updates/rhels6.5/x86_64 
    cd /install/updates/rhels6.5/x86_64 
    cp /myrpms/* .

OR, if you have a supplemental or SDK iso image that came with your OS distro, you can use copycds:

    copycds RHEL6.5-Supplementary-DVD1.iso -n rhels6.5-supp

If there is no repository data in the directory, you can run "createrepo" to create it:

    createrepo .

The createrepo command is in the createrepo rpm, which for RHEL is in the 1st DVD, but for SLES is in the SDK DVD.

NOTE: when the management node is rhels6.x, and the otherpkgs repository data is for rhels5.x, we should run createrepo with "-s md5". Such as:

    createrepo -s md5 .
  • Append the additional packages to install into the corresponding pkglist. For example, in /install/custom/install/rh/compute.rhels6.x86_64.pkglist, append:
    ...
    myrpm1
    myrpm2
    myrpm3

Remember, if you add more rpms at a later time, you must run createrepo again.

  • If not already specified, set the custom pkglist file in your osimage definition:
    chdef -t osimage mycomputeimage pkglist=/install/custom/install/rh/compute.rhels6.x86_64.pkglist
  • Add the new directory to the list of package directories in your osimage definition:
    chdef -t osimage mycomputeimage -p pkgdir=/install/updates/rhels6.5/x86_64

OR, if you used copycds:

    chdef -t osimage mycomputeimage -p pkgdir=/install/rhels6.5-supp/x86_64

Note: After making the above changes,

  • For diskfull install, run "nodeset <noderange> mycomputeimage" to pick up the changes, and then boot up the nodes
  • For diskless or statelite, run genimage to install the packages into the image, and then packimage or liteimg and boot up the nodes.
  • If the nodes are up, run "updatenode <noderange> ospkgs" to update the packages.
  • These functions are only supported for rhels6.x and sles11.x

Installing Additional Packages Using an Otherpkgs Pkglist

If you have additional rpms (rpms not in the distro) that you also want installed, make a directory to hold them, create a list of the rpms you want installed, and add that information to the osimage definition:

  • Create a directory to hold the additional rpms:

    mkdir -p /install/post/otherpkgs/rh/x86_64
    cd /install/post/otherpkgs/rh/x86_64
    cp /myrpms/* .
    createrepo .

NOTE: when the management node is rhels6.x, and the otherpkgs repository data is for rhels5.x, we should run createrepo with "-s md5". Such as:

createrepo -s md5 .
  • Create a file that lists the additional rpms that should be installed. For example, in /install/custom/netboot/rh/compute.otherpkgs.pkglist put:

    myrpm1
    myrpm2
    myrpm3

  • Add both the directory and the file to the osimage definition:

    chdef -t osimage mycomputeimage otherpkgdir=/install/post/otherpkgs/rh/x86_64 otherpkglist=/install/custom/netboot/rh/compute.otherpkgs.pkglist

If you add more rpms at a later time, you must run createrepo again. The createrepo command is in the createrepo rpm, which for RHEL is in the 1st DVD, but for SLES is in the SDK DVD.

If you have multiple sets of rpms that you want to keep separate to keep them organized, you can put them in separate sub-directories in the otherpkgdir. If you do this, you need to do the following extra things, in addition to the steps above:

  • Run createrepo in each sub-directory
  • In your otherpkgs.pkglist, list at least 1 file from each sub-directory. (During installation, xCAT will define a yum or zypper repository for each directory you reference in your otherpkgs.pkglist.) For example:

    xcat/xcat-core/xCATsn
    xcat/xcat-dep/rh6/x86_64/conserver-xcat

There are some examples of otherpkgs.pkglist in /opt/xcat/share/xcat/netboot/<distro>/service.*.otherpkgs.pkglist that show the format.

Note: the otherpkgs postbootscript should by default be associated with every node. Use lsdef to check:

lsdef node1 -i postbootscripts

If it is not, you need to add it. For example, add it for all of the nodes in the "compute" group:

chdef -p -t group compute postbootscripts=otherpkgs

Set up a postinstall script (optional)

Postinstall scripts for diskless images are analogous to postscripts for diskfull installation. The postinstall script is run by genimage near the end of its processing. You can use it to do anything to your image that you want done every time you generate this kind of image. In the script you can install rpms that need special flags, or tweak the image in some way. There are some examples shipped in /opt/xcat/share/xcat/netboot/<distro>. If you create a postinstall script to be used by genimage, then point to it in your osimage definition. For example:

    chdef -t osimage mycomputeimage postinstall=/install/custom/netboot/rh/compute.postinstall

Set up Files to be synchronized on the nodes

Note: This is only supported for stateless nodes in xCAT 2.7 and above.

Sync lists contain a list of files that should be sync'd from the management node to the image and to the running nodes. This allows you to have 1 copy of config files for a particular type of node and make sure that all those nodes are running with those config files. The sync list should contain a line for each file you want sync'd, specifying the path it has on the MN and the path it should be given on the node. For example:

    /install/custom/syncfiles/compute/etc/motd -> /etc/motd
    /etc/hosts -> /etc/hosts

If you put the above contents in /install/custom/netboot/rh/compute.synclist, then:

    chdef -t osimage mycomputeimage synclists=/install/custom/netboot/rh/compute.synclist

For more details, see Sync-ing_Config_Files_to_Nodes.

Configure the nodes to use your osimage

You can configure any noderange to use this osimage. In this example, we define that the whole compute group should use the image:

     chdef -t group compute provmethod=mycomputeimage

Now that you have associated an osimage with nodes, if you want to list a node's attributes, including the osimage attributes all in one command:

    lsdef node1 --osimage

Generate and pack your image

There are other attributes that can be set in your osimage definition. See the osimage man page for details.

Building an Image for a Different OS or Architecture

If you are building an image for a different OS/architecture than is on the Management node, you need to follow this process: [Building_a_Stateless_Image_of_a_Different_Architecture_or_OS]. Note: different OS in this case means, for example, RHEL 5 vs. RHEL 6. If the difference is just an update level/service pack (e.g. RHEL 6.0 vs. RHEL 6.3), then you can build it on the MN.

Building an Image for the Same OS and Architecture as the MN

If the image you are building is for nodes that are the same OS and architecture as the management node (the most common case), then you can follow the instructions here to run genimage on the management node.

Run genimage to generate the image based on the mycomputeimage definition:

    genimage mycomputeimage

Before you pack the image, you have the opportunity to change any files in the image that you want to, by cd'ing to the rootimgdir (e.g. /install/netboot/rhels6/x86_64/compute/rootimg). Although, instead, we recommend that you make all changes to the image via your postinstall script, so that it is repeatable.

The genimage command creates /etc/fstab in the image. If you want to, for example, limit the amount of space that can be used in /tmp and /var/tmp, you can add lines like the following to it (either by editing it by hand or via the postinstall script):

    tmpfs   /tmp     tmpfs    defaults,size=50m             0 2
    tmpfs   /var/tmp     tmpfs    defaults,size=50m       0 2

But probably an easier way to accomplish this is to create a postscript to be run when the node boots up with the following lines:

    logger -t xcat "$0: BEGIN"
    mount -o remount,size=50m /tmp/
    mount -o remount,size=50m /var/tmp/
    logger -t xcat "$0: END"

Assuming you call this postscript settmpsize, you can add this to the list of postscripts that should be run for your compute nodes by:

    chdef -t group compute -p postbootscripts=settmpsize

Now pack the image to create the ramdisk:

    packimage mycomputeimage

Installing a New Kernel in the Stateless Image

Note: This procedure assumes you are using xCAT 2.6.1 or later.

The kerneldir attribute in linuximage table can be used to assign a directory containing kernel RPMs that can be installed into stateless/statelite images. The default for kernerdir is /install/kernels. To add a new kernel, create a directory named <kernelver> under the kerneldir, and genimage will pick them up from there.

The following examples assume you have the kernel RPM in /tmp and is using the default value for kerneldir (/install/kernels).

The RPM names below are only examples, substitute your specific level and architecture.

[RHEL]:

The RPM kernel package is usually named: kernel-<kernelver>.rpm.
For example, kernel-2.6.32.10-0.5.x86_64.rpm means kernelver=2.6.32.10-0.5.x86_64.

    mkdir -p /install/kernels/2.6.32.10-0.5.x86_64
    cp /tmp/kernel-2.6.32.10-0.5.x86_64.rpm /install/kernels/2.6.32.10-0.5.x86_64/
    createrepo /install/kernels/2.6.32.10-0.5.x86_64/

 

Run genimage/packimage to update the image with the new kernel.
Note: If downgrading the kernel, you may need to first remove the rootimg directory.

    genimage <imagename> -k 2.6.32.10-0.5.x86_64
    packimage <imagename>

 

[SLES]:

The RPM kernel package is usually separated into two parts: kernel-<arch>-base and kernel<arch>.
For example, /tmp contains the following two RPMs:

    kernel-ppc64-base-2.6.27.19-5.1.x86_64.rpm
    kernel-ppc64-2.6.27.19-5.1.x86_64.rpm

 

2.6.27.19-5.1.x86_64 is NOT the kernel version, 2.6.27.19-5-x86_64 is the kernel version.
The "5.1.x86_64" is replaced with "5-x86_64".

    mkdir -p /install/kernels/2.6.27.19-5-x86_64/
    cp /tmp/kernel-ppc64-base-2.6.27.19-5.1.x86_64.rpm /install/kernels/2.6.27.19-5-x86_64/
    cp /tmp/kernel-ppc64-2.6.27.19-5.1.x86_64.rpm /install/kernels/2.6.27.19-5-x86_64/

 

Run genimage/packimage to update the image with the new kernel.
Note: If downgrading the kernel, you may need to first remove the rootimg directory.

Since the kernel version name is different from the kernel rpm package name, the -g flag MUST to be specified on the genimage command.

    genimage <imagename> -k 2.6.27.19-5-x86_64 -g 2.6.27.19-5.1
    packimage <imagename>

 

Installing New Kernel Drivers to Stateless Initrd

The kernel drivers in the stateless initrd are used for the devices during the netboot. If you are missing one or more kernel drivers for specific devices (especially for the network device), the netboot process will fail. xCAT offers two approaches to add additional drivers to the stateless initrd during the running of genimage.

  • Use the '-n' flag to add new drivers to the stateless initrd
    genimage <imagename> -n <new driver list>

Generally, the genimage command has a default driver list which will be added to the initrd. But if you specify the '-n' flag, the default driver list will be replaced with your <new driver list>. That means you need to include any drivers that you need from the default driver list into your <new driver list>.

The default driver list:

    rh-x86:   tg3 bnx2 bnx2x e1000 e1000e igb mlx_en virtio_net be2net
    rh-ppc:   e1000 e1000e igb ibmveth ehea
    sles-x86: tg3 bnx2 bnx2x e1000 e1000e igb mlx_en be2net
    sels-ppc: tg3 e1000 e1000e igb ibmveth ehea be2net

Note: With this approach, xCAT will search for the drivers in the rootimage. You need to make sure the drivers have been included in the rootimage before generating the initrd. You can install the drivers manually in an existing rootimage (using chroot) and run genimage again, or you can use a postinstall script to install drivers to the rootimage during your initial genimage run.

  • Use the driver rpm package to add new drivers from rpm packages to the stateless initrd

Refer to the doc Using_Linux_Driver_Update_Disk#Driver_RPM_Package.

Boot the nodes

    nodeset compute osimage=mycomputeimage

(If you need to update your diskless image sometime later, change your osimage attributes and the files they point to accordingly, and then rerun genimage, packimage, nodeset, and boot the nodes.)

Now boot your nodes...

    rsetboot compute net
    rpower compute boot

Useful Applications of xCAT commands

This section gives some examples of using key commands and command combinations in useful ways. For any xCAT command, typing 'man <command>' will give details about using that command. For a list of xCAT commands grouped by category, see [XCAT_Commands]. For all the xCAT man pages, see http://xcat.sourceforge.net/man1/xcat.1.html .

Adding groups to a set of nodes

In this configuration, a handy convenience group would be the lower systems in the chassis, the ones able to read temperature and fanspeed. In this case, the odd systems would be on the bottom, so to do this with a regular expression:

        nodech '/n.*[13579]$' groups,=bottom

or explicitly

    chdef -p n1-n9,n11-n19,n21-n29,n31-n39,n41-n49,n51-n59,n61-n69,n71-79,n81-n89,
    n91-n99,n101-n109,n111-119,n121-n129,n131-139,n141-n149,n151-n159,n161-n167 groups="bottom"

Listing attributes

We can list discovered and expanded versions of attributes (Actual vpd should appear instead of *) :

    # nodels n97 nodepos.rack nodepos.u vpd.serial vpd.mtm 
    n97: nodepos.u: A-13
    n97: nodepos.rack: 2
    n97: vpd.serial: ********
    n97: vpd.mtm: *******

You can also list all the attributes:

    #lsdef n97 
    Object name: n97
       arch=x86_64
            .
       groups=bottom,ipmi,idataplex,42perswitch,compute,all
            .
            .
            .
       rack=1    
       unit=A1

Verifying consistency and version of firmware

xCAT provides parallel commands and the sinv (inventory) command, to analyze the consistency of the cluster. See (parallel-commands-and-inventory)

Combining the use of in-band and out-of-band utilities with the xcoll utility, it is possible to quickly analyze the level and consistency of firmware across the servers:

    mgt# rinv n1-n3 mprom|xcoll 
    ==================================== 
    n1,n2,n3
    ==================================== 
    BMC Firmware: 1.18

The BMC does not have the BIOS version, so to do the same for that, use psh:

    mgt# psh n1-n3 dmidecode|grep "BIOS Information" -A4|grep Version|xcoll 
    ==================================== 
    n1,n2,n3
    ==================================== 
    Version: I1E123A

To update the firmware on your nodes, see XCAT_iDataPlex_Advanced_Setup#Updating_Node_Firmware.

Verifying or Setting ASU Settings

To do this, see XCAT_iDataPlex_Advanced_Setup#Using_ASU_to_Update_CMOS,_uEFI,_or_BIOS_Settings_on_the_Nodes.

Managing the IB Network

xCAT has several utilities to help manage and monitor the Mellanox IB network. See [Managing_the_Mellanox_Infiniband_Network].

Reading and interpreting sensor readings

If the configuration is louder than expected (iDataplex chassis should nominally have a fairly modest noise impact), find the nodes with elevated fanspeed:

    # rvitals bottom fanspeed|sort -k 4|tail -n 3
    n3: PSU FAN3: 2160 RPM
    n3: PSU FAN4: 2240 RPM
    n3: PSU FAN1: 2320 RPM

In this example, the fanspeeds are pretty typical. If fan speeds are elevated, there may be a thermal issue. In a dx340 system, if near 10,000 RPM, there is probably either a defective sensor or misprogrammed power supply.

To find the warmest detected temperatures in a configuration:

    # rvitals bottom temp|grep Domain|sort -t: -k 3|tail -n 3
    n3: Domain B Therm 1: 46 C (115 F)
    n7: Domain A Therm 1: 47 C (117 F)
    n3: Domain A Therm 1: 49 C (120 F)

Change tail to head in the above examples to seek the slowest fans/lowest temperatures. Currently, an iDataplex chassis without a planar tray in the top position will report '0 C' for Domain B temperatures.

For more options, see rvitals manpage: http://xcat.sourceforge.net/man1/rvitals.1.html

Where Do I Go From Here?

Now that your basic cluster is set up, here are suggestions for additional reading:


Related

Wiki: Basic_Install_DHCP
Wiki: CSM_to_xCAT_Migration
Wiki: Cluster_Name_Resolution
Wiki: Convert_Non-osimage_Based_System_To_Osimage_Based_System
Wiki: Getting_Started_with_xCAT2_2.4.2_on_SUSE_SLES_11.1
Wiki: IBM_HPC_Stack_in_an_xCAT_Cluster
Wiki: Main_Page
Wiki: Managing_Ethernet_Switches
Wiki: Managing_the_Mellanox_Infiniband_Network
Wiki: Mixed_Cluster_Support_for_SLES
Wiki: Monitoring_an_xCAT_Cluster
Wiki: Node_Discovery
Wiki: SLES10.1
Wiki: SLES11.0
Wiki: Setting_Up_a_Linux_Hierarchical_Cluster
Wiki: Setting_Up_a_Linux_xCAT_Mgmt_Node
Wiki: Setup_HA_Mgmt_Node_With_Shared_Data
Wiki: Using_Updatenode
Wiki: Using_xCAT_in_SoftLayer
Wiki: XCAT_Commands
Wiki: XCAT_Documentation
Wiki: XCAT_Linux_Cluster_on_Generic_Hardware
Wiki: XCAT_Linux_Cluster_on_HP_Hardware
Wiki: XCAT_Linux_Statelite
Wiki: XCAT_Overview,_Architecture,_and_Planning
Wiki: XCAT_REST_API_enhancements
Wiki: XCAT_Virtualization_with_KVM
Wiki: XCAT_Virtualization_with_RHEV
Wiki: XCAT_Virtualization_with_VMWare
Wiki: XCAT_iDataPlex_Advanced_Setup