Building a Linux-Based High-Performance Compute Cluster

The Rocks clustering package from the University of California at San Diego makes it easy to build and maintain a high-performance compute cluster with off-the-shelf hardware.
Step 7. Configure the Cluster

As you enter data on these screens, the installation routine is building a small MySQL database that details all of the component configurations in your cluster. The various tables Linux needs to run (like /etc/hosts) will be generated as an SQL report from this database. If you want to make changes in the system's configuration, the tools that Rocks provides actually change the database first, then run the appropriate reports to regenerate the system configuration files. This significantly reduces the chance for errors to creep into these files. It still is possible to edit the automatically generated system files manually, but remember that the next time you use the Rocks tools to reconfigure the cluster, your manual changes will be overwritten by the automatically generated SQL report versions.

The next screen (Figure 6) allows you to enter information about your cluster. If the cluster will be connected to your enterprise network, you should enter a fully qualified hostname to be consistent with your domain. The cluster name you enter in the Cluster Name field will appear in the management screens during cluster operation. Once you are satisfied with your entries, click Next to go to the configuration of the head node network connection to the private network (eth0).

Figure 6. Cluster Information

Step 8. Configure the Cluster's Network

The next screen (Figure 7) lets you configure the cluster's network. The installation routine automatically selects as the IP address for eth0 on the head node. Because this is a private network, you probably won't need to change this setting. If your public network also happens to be in the 10.1.X.X configuration, change this to something that doesn't conflict with your existing network. Clicking Next brings up the head node public network connection configuration screen.

Figure 7. Network Configuration

Step 9. Configure the Public Network

Figure 8 shows configuring the “public” connection of the head node, its connection to the rest of your systems. The public connection for the head node must be configured with a fixed IP address. The public network for this example is configured as 192.168.0.X with a netmask of Make sure the head node does not conflict with other servers and workstations on the public network. On the following screen (Figure 9), configure the local Gateway and DNS Server IP addresses for the head node to use.

Figure 8. Head Node Public Network Configuration

Figure 9. Head Node Gateway and DNS Configuration

Step 10. Configure the Root Password and Time Zone

On the next two screens (Figures 10 and 11), enter the root password and configure the time zone and NTP server for the head node.

Figure 10. Root Password

Figure 11. Time Zone and NTP Server