Here is a PDF of this manual -> Word butchered it into HTML.


Quadrowulf Software and Network

Configuration Notes

By Justin Moore

August 8, 2008

Based on:

Microwulf Software and Network
Configuration Notes

By Tim Brom – 5.16.2008

On this page I will be recreating what was done by Mr. Tim Brom at Calvin College
with Professor Joel Adams at this web page.  I am going to try to be a bit more verbose in
my description of the creation of Quadrowulf.
That is not to say that Mr. Brom’s paper was not helpful, because it was
indeed helpful in the inspiration, creation, and implementation of this
project.  This project was not really class
work related – more, I was interested in implementing it and my professor, Dr.
Hayden S. Porter, of Furman University, gave me a chance to build it for him.  It should be noted that this project uses quad-core processors versus the
dual-core processors used in Microwulf.

Hardware Components

First, my hardware:

I have created a similar cluster to Tim’s, except that I have 2 layers
instead of four, and I’m using full ATX boards instead of m-ATX.  So, this isn’t really “Microwulf,” but it’s
still very manageable to move around with just two people.  Right now it resides on a cart, so it’s even
easier to move. See the Table 1.1 below for the part list that accompanies this

Table 1.1


Brand / Model



Abit IP35PRO Off Limits


Intel Core2Quad Q6600 Overclocked to 3.2 Ghz



Thermal Paste

Artic Silver 5

Video Card

Biostar GeForce Series 6200LE [V6202EL – 63 VER:7.0]

Network Switch

Netgear ProSafe 24-port Gigabit Switch

Memory (RAM)

Corsair XMS2 DDR2-800 4GB [2x2GB]

Power Supply

Corsair VX550W Power Supply

Network Cards

Linksys 10/100/1000 Gigabit EG1032 PCI Cards

Hard Drive

Seagate 500GB Barracuda 7200.11

CD/DVD Drive

Sony NEC Optiarc

Network Cable

I made them custom lengths

Mounting hardware



Two sheets 3/8” thick

I mention in the parts
list that I’ve overclocked the quad cores to run at 3.2 GHz in part because
some of the additional cost accrued is because we needed additional materials
to compensate the heat generated by the overclocked processors, e.g., the
snazzy Tuniq Tower heatsink and the Artic Silver
thermal paste.  I am going to use
pictures to walk you through the installation process of getting a new node to
work properly, after all the steps have been performed on the head node, e.g.
setting up the DHCP server, NFS server, and the TFTP server.

Tim’s instructions
for installing the head node are great; my only modification will be that I’m
now using 5 Ethernet cards on the head node instead of 3, and 4 on each
diskless node instead of 2.    I have
also partitioned 2x as many partitions on my drive because I wanted to make
sure that I can get 32bit version of everything working before I installed the
64bit versions.  (:  Professor Porter uses mpiJava, which somewhat
died as a project, so we have to make sure that still works.

It appears now that
I will have to leave it at the 32-bit version installed and let the next
contender work with the 64-bit OS.

changed the BIOS from hard drive recognition from IDE->AHCI because of a
hang problem with the Ubuntu installation disks.  If when you put the disk in, it just randomly
drops to BusyBox after a long time (failsafe) then you should either change the
BIOS like I did, or pass a boot parameter to the Linux install disk that is
‘noapic’ or something along those lines.
Then it will work.  

Diskless node installation

OK – now for the
installation of a headless node.  Again,
I am assuming that you’ve already assembled the cluster and installed the OS
[I’m using Ubuntu 8.04 Desktop] on the head node (with suitable partition tables).  Here we go.

Put the Ubuntu
Server 8.04 disk in the drive and reboot the head node.



The next image should have the “YES”
highlighted, but I snapped the picture and hit enter before I realized it.

This next part is *CRUCIAL*

— Do not install GRUB,
it will overwrite what you have already done in installing the Head Node! 

I just left the ‘how to update GRUB’
field blank and hit continue.

After the Install


I’m going to
outline the process for one node.  After
you do the first node, you can either repeat all the steps, including the
installation, replacing every instance of “node1” with “node2”.

*Commands for the
Head Node / Master Node*

sudo mkdir -p /nodes/nfs/node1

Next we need to
update the fstab.

Update the fstab to
reflect your new partition.

/dev/sda6         /nodes/nfs/node1        ext3      noatime             0             0

Here is my complete
fstab on the Head Node / Master Node

/etc/fstab: static file system information.


<file system> <mount point>
<type>  <options>       <dump>  <pass>

proc            /proc           proc    defaults        0       0


/               ext3    relatime,errors=remount-ro 0       1


/home           ext3    relatime        0       2


none            swap    sw              0       0

/dev/scd0       /media/cdrom0   udf,iso9660 user,noauto,exec,utf8 0       0

/dev/sda5       /nodes/nfs/node1        ext3    noatime 0       0

/dev/sda6       /nodes/nfs/node2        ext3    noatime 0       0

/dev/sda7       /nodes/nfs/node3        ext3    noatime 0       0

Mount everything in
fstab by typing

sudo mount -a

If your
/etc/exports file does not look like this:

/etc/exports: the access control list for filesystems which may be exported

#               to
NFS clients.  See exports(5).


Example for NFSv2 and NFSv3:

/srv/homes       hostname1(rw,sync)


Example for NFSv4:


/srv/nfs4/homes  gss/krb5i(rw,sync)








/home         ,no_root_squash,sync,no_subtree_check)

Fix it. (:

We now need to add
updates for the DHCP server so that it will find our new node when it boots.

For example:

host node1 {

ethernet 00:50:8D:BC:A2:32;


root-path “/nodes/nfs/node1”;


Here is my complete


Sample configuration file for ISC dhcpd for Debian


Attention: If /etc/ltsp/dhcpd.conf exists, that will be used as

configuration file instead of this file.


$Id: dhcpd.conf,v 2002/05/21 00:07:44 peloy Exp $



The ddns-updates-style parameter controls whether or not the server will

attempt to do a DNS update when a lease is
confirmed. We default to the

behavior of the version 2 packages (‘none’, since DHCP v2 didn’t

have support for DDNS.)




option definitions common to all supported

domain-name “furman.edu”;



next-server; #TFTP server



subnet netmask {


        option domain-name-servers;

        option broadcast-address;

        option routers;



node1 {

        hardware ethernet 00:50:8D:BC:A2:32;


        option root-path



node2 {

        hardware ethernet 00:50:8D:BC:9D:28;


        option root-path



node3 {

        hardware ethernet 00:50:8D:B7:71:22;


        option root-path


Restart the DHCP
server with:

sudo /etc/init.d/dhcp3-server restart

Now we have to make
some changes to the filesystem that was created with the server installation
cd, because there are certain settings that were put in that are not correct
with respect to that diskless node.  For
example, the hard drive and the CD/DVDROM drive are set to mount in the node’s
fstab, but the node does not have anything connected to it, so those mounts
will fail.

*Commands for the
Headless Node*

We now change root
over to that new partition (we can pretend like we’re loaded on Linux on that
partition and begin to make some changes to the disk, even before the diskless
node gets a chance to boot)

sudo chroot /nodes/nfs/node1

I get a weird situation when I try to
use tab completion, so I just type out the commands in full while chrooted.

Use your favorite
text editor to edit this file, I use vim – lots of people don’t like vim, but

sudo vim

Look for the line
that says:



And then change it



**Note: This next
section only needs to be done on the first node install.  The other nodes can use the same initrd and vmlinuz – e.g. filesystem and kernel, respectively**

To know your kernel
version run the command

uname –r

Now, just realize
that the generated files of the next command will use that kernel name in their

sudo update-initramfs –u

This outputs two
files to the default location of /boot/initrd-img-KERNEL and
/boot/vmlinuz-KERNEL.  Exit this by doing


Now copy over these
files with:

sudo cp
/nodes/nfs/node1/boot/initrd.img-KERNEL_VERSION /tftpboot/

sudo cp
/nodes/nfs/node1/boot/vmlinuz-KERNEL_VERSION /tftpboot/

**Finished this
part on the first node – connect back to the chroot now**

sudo chroot /nodes/nfs/node1

Please tell me you
made use of the up arrow and didn’t re-type that command. (:

Next I create
/etc/resolv.conf and put in the nameserver of the Internet connection on the
head node (so that I can have internet access through this chroot).

sudo vim /etc/resolv.conf

Place the following
in the file:

nameserver        ip.address.of.your.dns.server

Next, let’s make
the fstab look right.

Comment out the
lines that begin with UUID= and /dev/scd0 – Use the # character at the front of
the line to comment it out.  Add in the
following:            /usr      nfs         defaults                             0             0       /home nfs         defaults             0             0      /nodes                nfs         defaults             0             0


Here is my complete
fstab for node1:

/etc/fstab: static file system information.


<file system> <mount point>
<dump>  <pass>

proc            /proc           proc    defaults        0       0


/               ext3    relatime,errors=remount-ro 0       1

#/dev/scd0       /media/cdrom0   udf,iso9660 user,noauto,exec,utf8 0       0        /usr    nfs
defaults        0       0       /home
nfs     defaults        0       0      /nodes
nfs     defaults        0       0

Be sure to leave
the trailing white line.

You can edit your
/etc/hosts file now, or wait until you get the node up and running, whatever
you fancy.

sudo vim /etc/hosts


Here’s my hosts
file:       localhost       HeadOfCluster       pc0       pc1       pc2       pc3     pc4     pc5     pc6     pc7     pc8    pc9    pc10    pc11    pc12    pc13    pc14    pc15

We need to create
the nodes directory – (otherwise there won’t be a place to mount to)

sudo mkdir /nodes


Next we need to
update the /etc/network/interfaces file so that it will automatically set up
our additional Ethernet cards properly.

*NOTE* I am still
experiencing a weird instance where the 3rd NIC on the system takes
control on boot and tries to get the NFS mounts. This causes an error because
that NIC is not supposed to be third.

Here is my
/etc/network/interfaces for my node1:


This file describes the network interfaces available on your system

and how to activate them. For more information, see interfaces(5).


The loopback network interface


lo inet loopback


eth0 inet static





eth1 inet static






eth2 inet static






eth3 inet static







Finally, the Ubuntu
Server installation does not come with the NFS-common utilities, which includes
the binaries necessary to mount an nfs drive.
Imagine that! :\  Anyway, now that we’re using chroot on the
head node and we’ve created the /etc/resolv.conf
with the right nameserver, we can use the following:

sudo apt-get update

This will
essentially tell you whether your internet is working or not, but you should
see some stuff go by about getting package lists, now run the following:

sudo apt-get install nfs-common

Choose Y to install
– don’t worry about the fail portion of the “portmap” starting, after all –
we’re only on chroot, so the /proc directory is not mounted for this installer.

We are now finished
setting up the headless node.  Get out of
the chroot by typing:


Now we just need to
create the proper file in the pxelinux.cfg directory inside of /tftpboot with
the MAC address of the new node and I think we’re done!  Here is my file for my node1:





initrd=initrd.img-2.6.24-19-server \\



Let’s try it out!

There will be a couple bios changes before this will work – I’ll take some

Here some of the BIOS updates I made:

Here are some
pictures from after turning on the headless node.

There will probably
be an error here, that’s OK – we have now made it easier on ourselves to fix
the problem.

After the first
boot, when Ubuntu tries to set up the networking, we will easily be able to
modify instead of tying it all in manually.

Now we can fix the
network interface problem – Ubuntu automatically generates a list of udev rules
for networking cards based on the installation and MAC/hardware addresses.  The problem is that we have different MAC
addresses for each card on each node!! So when the server tries to map out the
ethernet cards with the MAC addresses that were stored there when we installed,
those Ethernet cards are not on node1.
They’re residing on the head node, and so we get a weird renaming error.
I was getting eth1 renamed to eth6, etc…

Here goes the fix:

We will have to
chroot over to node1 again from the Head Node.

We now change root
over to that new partition (we can pretend like we’re loaded on Linux on that
partition and begin to make some changes to the disk, even before the diskless
node gets a chance to boot)

sudo chroot /nodes/nfs/node1 /bin/bash

I get a weird situation when I try to
use tab completion, so I just type out the commands in full while chrooted.

The file is:

sudo vim /etc/udev/rules.d/70-persistent-net.rules

Remove the entries
that were there from the head node when we first installed and replace them
with the addresses of the cards that you know are in that machine.

We need to make
sure our network interfaces are set up properly, with the proper MAC addresses
and driver modules.

As an example, here
is my node1 70-persisten-net.rules:

This file was automatically generated by the /lib/udev/write_net_rules

program run by the persistent-net-generator.rules
rules file.


You can modify it, as long as you keep each rule on a single line.


PCI device 0x10ec:0x8167 (r8169)

ACTION==”add”, DRIVERS==”?*”,
ATTR{address}==”00:50:8d:bc:a2:32″, ATTR{type}==”1″,
KERNEL==”eth*”, NAME=”eth0″


realtek card.

ACTION==”add”, DRIVERS==”?*”,
ATTR{address}==”00:50:8d:bc:a2:33″, ATTR{type}==”1″,
KERNEL==”eth*”, NAME=”eth1″


PCI device 0x1737:0x1032 (skge)

ACTION==”add”, DRIVERS==”?*”,
ATTR{address}==”00:0c:41:e5:9e:5e”, ATTR{type}==”1″,
KERNEL==”eth*”, NAME=”eth2″


PCI device 0x1737:0x1032 (skge)

ACTION==”add”, DRIVERS==”?*”,
ATTR{address}==”00:0c:41:e5:9e:a8″, ATTR{type}==”1″,
KERNEL==”eth*”, NAME=”eth3″

Now to installing LAM-MPI, JAVA, and

I installed both of
these packages, but I don’t think they’re having any effect, especially not
mpich – – because I explicitly compiled mpiJava with the LAM option instead of
the default mpich.


sudo apt-get install mpich-bin

sudo apt-get install lam-runtime

Now here’s the
rub.  I’ve done most of the work already
in zipping up all the files I used, but here is how it goes.

First, I downloaded
mpiJava — http://www.hpjava.org/mpiJava.html

Then I downloaded
LAM-MPI — http://www.lam-mpi.org/

Then I got several
version of the JDK – 1.4.2 , Java5, and Java6

The configure
options for lam-mpi are in Jeff Larkin’s paper [page 16], though I didn’t use
the Fortran compiler option, so –without-fortran (or
something like that) was passed as a parameter.

Unzip the java jdk
and put it somewhere in /usr ( I chose /usr/lib/jvm/)

Then, make sure you
get these 3 things for building lam-mpi:

sudo apt-get install libc6-dev gcc

installing mpiJava only consists of passing in the
jvm location (/usr/lib/jvm/jdk1.6.0_07 for me.)

you have to:

 ./configure –with-mpi=lam

or something along those lines

then once the configure is done you have to

sudo make

then the mpiJava/src/scripts/prunjava file
(which actually runs the java MPI calls) has a parameter location for the jvm
(same as above).  Also, I added in the
–xms128 –xmx1024 command to increase the heap size though it didn’t seem to
matter for gsky tests.

To run gsky:

Edit StarMPI.java
to change any of the parameters to what you want – this is


There is a file in
there called machines which looks like this:





This has the
hostname / cpu count for the entire cluster

Kick off LAM by

lamboot –l machines

The –l parameter is
crucial because otherwise it will complain about localhost resolving, and if
you take localhost out it will complain that localhost is not in there.  Catch 22.

The –l says “hey
stop being a moron and just use the /etc/hosts file that I provided for you.”

That command should
come back without any errors, and probably only spit out one line of text

You can pass –v if
you want verbose or –d if you want debug

Then edit RunTests
script to make sure that the number of procs param nprocs is less than or equal
to the number of processors in the machines file. Ie, in this case if yours
looks like mine above then it should be 16.

Then execute the
runtests script by:



If you have
writeToFiles Boolean on then you should get some output in /tmp – if not, you’ll
just get visual cues that the software is running because …… will fill the
screen and you’ll see the timing analysis breakdown when the program is


If you have
problems booting the node just reboot it. Sounds cliché,
sure, but whatever.

The third or fourth
NIC occasionally decides that it wants to take control despite the fact that
the node had to boot from the first NIC and it also received DHCP on the first

Go figure.

Anyway, if you see

“SKGE” loading as a
driver right before the node tries to get the NFS scripts, then
just restart the node.

I call it skeegee,
and I hate skeegee.

Reboot and you
should get something like r#### — that is good.  The onboard NIC cards are RealTek or
something like that – so the r driver loading is what you want.

Reboot till that




<![if !supportLineBreakNewLine]>

use that.

If you’re adding
nodes or logging in for the first time, make sure that you do login via ssh once before you kick off lamboot. If any kind of message
comes back from the server then it will error and you will get pissed.

There’s an error
like “this mac address is new, are you sure you trust this source” or some shit
like that.

Just say yes and it
won’t happen again – and subsequently you can boot this node now with lamboot.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.