[Beowulf] Contents of Compute Nodes Images vs. Login Node Images

Jörg Saßmannshausen sassy-work at sassy.formativ.net
Sun Oct 28 06:33:02 PDT 2018

Hi Prentice,

that sounds somehow similar of what I have done back at my days at UCL:
- login node with development packages
- compute node only what is really needed in terms of software and services

However, if you are removing packages from the compx.xml file manually, how can 
you be sure you are not breaking dependencies?

As I was using Debian, I simply did bare installation and then installed what 
I needed. Once I got a running OS, I rsynced that to a folder on the headnode 
which was the 'image' of the compute nodes. Depending on the cluster, I build 
the software on the login node and copied it to the folder where the image 
was. So during installation, that image folder was copied to the compute nodes 
and I only had to install the boot-loader (I never really looking into how to 
script that as well) using PXE boot. It worked quite well.
Upgrading a software package simply means installing it inside the image 
foldeer (either chroot if it was a .deb package or just copie the files over) 
and rsynced it to the compute nodes. 

It was a robust system and I managed to handle th 112 compute nodes quite well 
I had. I even could take care of older and newer nodes and can install highly 
optimised packages on them as well. So nodes which only got avx got only the 
avx enabled software and the ones which had avx2 got these ones. 

It might not be the most flashy solution but it was KIS: Kepp It Simple!

All the best from a rainy London


Am Dienstag, 23. Oktober 2018, 13:43:43 GMT schrieb Prentice Bisbal via 
> Ryan,
> When I was at IAS, I pared down what was on the compute nodes
> tremendously. I went through the comps.xml file practically line-by-line
> and reduced the number of packages installed on the compute nodes to
> only about 500 RPMs. I can't remember all the details, but I remember
> omitting the following groups of packages:
> 1. Anything related to desktop environments, graphics, etc.
> 2. -devel packages
> 3. Any RPMS for wireless or bluetooth support.
> 4. Any kind of service that wasn't strictly needed by the compute nodes.
> In this case, the user's desktops mounted the same home and project
> directories and shared application directory (/usr/local), so the user's
> had all the the GUI, post-processing, and devel packages they needed 
> right on their desktop, so the cluster was used purely for running
> non-interactive batch jobs. In fact, there was no way for a user to even
> get an interactive session on the cluster.  IAS  was a small environment
> where I had complete control over the desktops and the cluster, so I was
> able to this. I would do it all again just like that, given as similar
> environment.
> I'm currently managing a cluster with PU, and PU only puts the -devel
> packages, etc. on the the login nodes so users can compile there apps
> there.
> So yes, this is still being done.
> There are definitely benefits to providing specialized packages lists
> like this:
> 1. On the IAS cluster, a kickstart installation, including configuration
> with the post-install script, was very quick - I think it was 5 minutes
> at most.
> 2. You generally want as few services running on your compute nodes as
> possible. The easiest way to keep services from running on your cluster
> nodes is to not install those services in the first place.
> 3. Less software installed = smaller attack surface for security exploits.
> Does this mean you are moving away from Warewulf, or are you creating
> different Warewulf images for login vs. compute nodes?
> Prentice
> On 10/23/2018 12:15 PM, Ryan Novosielski wrote:
> > Hi there,
> > 
> > I realize this may not apply to all cluster setups, but I’m curious what
> > other sites do with regard to software (specifically distribution
> > packages, not a shared software tree that might be remote mounted) for
> > their login nodes vs. their compute nodes. From what I knew/conventional
> > wisdom, sites generally place pared down node images on compute nodes,
> > only containing the runtime. I’m curious to see if that’s still true, or
> > if there are people doing something else entirely, etc.
> > 
> > Thanks.
> > 
> > --
> > ____
> > 
> > || \\UTGERS,  	 |---------------------------
> > ||
> > ||_// the State	 |         Ryan Novosielski - novosirj at rutgers.edu
> > ||
> > || \\ University | Sr. Technologist - 973/972.0922 (2x0922) ~*~ RBHS
> > || Campus
> > || 
> > ||  \\    of NJ	 | Office of Advanced Research Computing - MSB C630,
> > ||  Newark
> > ||  
> >       `'
> > 
> > _______________________________________________
> > Beowulf mailing list, Beowulf at beowulf.org sponsored by Penguin Computing
> > To change your subscription (digest mode or unsubscribe) visit
> > http://www.beowulf.org/mailman/listinfo/beowulf
> _______________________________________________
> Beowulf mailing list, Beowulf at beowulf.org sponsored by Penguin Computing
> To change your subscription (digest mode or unsubscribe) visit
> http://www.beowulf.org/mailman/listinfo/beowulf

More information about the Beowulf mailing list