ROCKS 4.3 Install From Scratch

Install log of ROCKS 4.3 and SLC45 on a Dell Poweredge 2950 server and 1950 client. The client will be installed over the network from the server (instead of doing a DVD based install on the client).


The hardware is a Dell Poweredge 2950 and PE1950 purchased Fall '07.

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The basics are:

Item 2950 1950
CPUs dual 2.0 GHz Quadcore dual 2.66 GHz Quadcore
System Disk 2 250GB SATA on PERC5/i 2 750GB SATA no PERC
Other Disk 4 750GB SATA on PERC5/i None
Optical drive DVD None
Ethernet 2 BNX2 2 BNX2
IPMI2 Yes Yes

ROCKS Prerequisites

You must have an IP address and hostname for the server that can be reverse DNS looked-up to do this install.

The client and server must have their first Ethernet ports connected over a network. DHCP/PXE requests from the client must be answered by the server, make sure that they will go through the network properly and also that a third machine won't respond to them. Here, the server and client are simply connected with a cross-over cable.

Server port 2 (Eth1) is connected to campus network.

You must have monitor, keyboard and mouse connected to server.

Have the ROCKS and OS distros on DVD. This saves a lot of disk swapping during the server install.

Hardware Setup

The server and client have been configured through BIOS settings step given in DellPowerEdgeXNineFifty. For purposes here, server and client are setup as delivered from Dell.

Rocks Install

Boot the ROCKS DVD on server.

At prompt type "frontend". You'll see a kernel boot and then be in the beginning of Redhat Anaconda installer, this should progress automatically to the "Welcome to Rocks" page.

Click button under "Local Rolls" labeled "CD/DVD-based Roll".

Select base roll and others desired, but not OS roll. Did minimum of: base, hpc, kernel, web-server from ROCKS jumbo roll and OS from SCL45 distro.

As before, click button under "Local Rolls" labeled "CD/DVD-based Roll", this time the DVD drive opens and you should insert the OS distro DVD and then click continue. (You'd use this same procedure for installing other rolls from DVD as well.) If all goes well, your SLC45 disk will be recognized as "LTS" (old Long Term Support name for Scientific Linux at Fermilab), select is and click submit button.

If all rolls are set, click Next button.

You now enter information about cluster. (N42.72 W84.48).

Enter IP/Netmask for private Ethernet port (

Enter IP/Netmask for public Ethernet port, if not using one from DHCP (

Enter gateway and DNS server (,

Timezone America/Detroit.

Select Manual partitioning. The installer restarts using the info you've supplied, then you go into disk partitioning.

On the pe2950, with DRAC media disabled, first array is sda and second array is sdb.


  • 250MB /boot ext3
  • 20GB / ext3
  • 8 GB swap
  • remainder LVM PV

LVM: volume group is vg_sys, one logical volume lv_export, mounted at /export with filesystem ext3. Didn't experience any issues using LVM, despite warning in ROCKS manual.

Once partitioning information is entered, it seems that anaconda is restarted and the install progresses automatically. Machine reboots automatically (remove DVD).

SLC45 first boot, is doing a YUM update (there is a 5 sec prompt to skip it). There were many updates and this took probably 20 minutes on a 100mb network link. frown, sad smile

ROCKS first boot, asks for pass-phrase for root's ssh key.


Run insert-ethers on the server and PXE boot client. It should install as a default compute node.

-- TomRockwell - 31 Oct 2007
Topic revision: r10 - 02 Nov 2007, TomRockwell
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