[Beowulf] Re: cluster fails to boot with managed switch, but 5-port switch works OK

Bill Broadley bill at cse.ucdavis.edu
Wed Dec 2 12:36:17 PST 2009

Art Poon wrote:
> I've tried resetting the SMC switch to factory defaults (with
> auto-negotiate on).  I've checked the /etc/beowulf/modprobe.conf and it
> doesn't seem to be demanding anything exotic.  We've tried swapping out to
> another SMC switch but that didn't change anything.

I had a very unpleasant experience with an SMC switch awhile back.  I was
having problems trying to bootstrap a rocks cluster.  Turns out the SMC (and
Dell relabel) was so evil that it warranted a mention in the Rocks FAQ.

I believe the solution was to manually turn on edge node routing or similar on
each port.  Unfortunately there was a bug and you could only turn on the first
16 ports.  There was a fix with new firmware, but there were 2 firmware images
and you couldn't tell which from looking at the switch.  Said firmware upgrade
caused other problems.

Eventually it worked well enough.

I've used quite a variety of switches without problem, I was shocked that a
default switch config wouldn't work with DHCP and PXEboot.

> I'm grateful if you could weigh in with your expertise.
> Thank you,
> - Art.
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