What is Rocks, and how do I use it to build an XSEDE-Compatible Basic Cluster (XCBC)?
On this page:
- About Rocks core and optional rolls
- Building an XCBC system with Rocks and the XSEDE Rocks roll
- Documentation and support
About Rocks core and optional rolls
Rocks is an open source cluster distribution solution that simplifies the processes of deploying, managing, upgrading, and scaling high-performance parallel computing clusters. Rocks is designed to help scientists with little or no cluster experience build Linux-based supercomputers that are compatible with systems used by national computing centers and international grids.
The current release, Rocks 6.2 (Sidewinder), is based on CentOS 6.6 and is available for x86_64 architectures only. Past releases are available for x86_64 and i386 systems; see the Rocks Downloads page.
Each Rocks release includes several core bundles, or rolls, that provide the operating system and other applications integral to Linux-based cluster computing. The
os rolls are required to build a "bare-bones" Rocks cluster. Depending on the release, installation of a
service-pack roll (if supplied) also may be required.
Each Rocks release also includes several Rocks-developed rolls that extend the feature set of the "bare-bones" Rocks cluster. You can install these optional rolls during the initial Rocks installation procedure or add them later onto an existing, pre-configured Rocks cluster.
Optional rolls for Rocks 6.2 include:
| ||Security-related packages for analyzing the integrity of files and the kernel|
| ||Bioinformatics utilities|
| ||FingerPrint application dependencies|
| ||HTCondor high-throughput computing workload management system|
| ||Ganglia cluster monitoring system|
| ||Tools for running parallel applications|
| ||Support for building Kernel-Based Virtual Machine (KVM) virtual machines on cluster nodes|
| ||perfSONAR network performance monitoring|
| ||Perl RPM, Comprehensive Perl Archive Network (CPAN) support utilities, and various CPAN modules|
| ||Python 2.7 and Python 3.x|
| ||Sun Grid Engine (Open Grid Scheduler) job queuing system|
| ||TORQUE resource manager and Maui job scheduler|
| ||Rocks web server roll|
| ||ZFS device drivers for Linux|
You can download and install the individual
.iso images for the core and optional rolls, or download and install a single
jumbo roll DVD image that includes the core rolls and several of the optional rolls listed above.
Additional community-developed rolls (e.g., the XSEDE Rocks roll) also are available to simplify the uniform installation of custom configurations across large numbers of computers.
As part of its Campus Bridging effort, the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) distributes a custom Rocks roll designed to minimize the complexity of building XSEDE-compatible Linux clusters for use by the US open science community. The XSEDE Rocks roll provides the widely used open source scientific, mathematical, and visualization packages needed to convert a "bare-bones" Rocks cluster into an XSEDE-Compatible Basic Cluster (XCBC), a high-performance parallel computing cluster that's compatible with XSEDE digital services.
Administrators operating existing "bare-bones" Rocks clusters also can use the XSEDE Rocks roll, or the XSEDE National Integration Toolkit (XNIT), to reconfigure their systems as XSEDE-Compatible Basic Cluster (XCBC) systems.
Building an XCBC system with Rocks and the XSEDE Rocks roll
Installing the XSEDE Rocks roll expands the feature set of a "bare-bones" Rocks cluster to include several widely used open source scientific packages. Packages included in the XSEDE Rocks roll vary by release, according to demand. To see which packages are included in the latest XSEDE Rocks roll, see the
README.0.0.10 file. The RPMs in the XSEDE Rocks roll also are included in the XSEDE National Integration Toolkit (XNIT; formerly known as the XSEDE Yum Repository). For more on XNIT, see About the XSEDE National Integration Toolkit (XNIT)
Note: The packages included in the XSEDE Rocks roll are for x86_64 clusters only. To ensure compatibility, make sure all the computers in your cluster have x86_64 CPUs.
To build an XCBC system using the latest Rocks release and the current XSEDE Rocks roll:
- Go to Download Rocks 6.2 (Sidewinder), and then, under "x86_64", download
.isoimages for the
osroll CDs (for the
.isoimages for disks 1, 2, and 3 are required).
Alternatively, download the
.isoimage for the
- Under "Individual Rolls", download the
.isoimages for any optional rolls you want to install.
- Download the
.isoimage for version 0.0.10 of the XSEDE Rocks roll (
xsede-0.0.10-0.x86_64.disk1.iso) from this page. The
.isoimage supports the standard Rocks CentOS 6.6 distribution for x86_64 systems.
- Boot your system's front end with the
jumboroll, and then supply the
- When prompted to install rolls, use the
.isoimages you downloaded in steps 2 and 3 to install any Rocks-developed optional rolls and the XSEDE Rocks roll.
Note: The XSEDE Rocks roll and the XSEDE National Integration Toolkit (XNIT) include open source applications developed and released by organizations that are not affiliated with the XSEDE project. Each application has its own specific disclaimers of risk. XSEDE distributes these applications as a service to the open science research community, and does not accept any liability, or make any claims about the suitability of these packages for any particular use. By choosing to install or use any of the applications included in the XSEDE Rocks roll or the XNIT repository, you take full responsibility for the consequences.
Documentation and support
For a guide to installing and managing a Rocks cluster, see the Base Users Guide.
User guides for the optional Rocks-developed rolls are available from the Rocks Support and Docs page, as are links to technical papers and other Rocks resources.
If you have a question about the XSEDE Rocks roll, or need help, contact the XSEDE Help Desk.