Commit d639dbac authored by Robert Ricci's avatar Robert Ricci
Browse files

Turn this file from a simple desription of what we do to the BIOS into

a full-out explanation of the new way we add nodes to the testbed,
the new (well, not that new anymore) newnode MFS, web page, etc.
parent 9921de03
##### Configuration suggestions for testbed nodes
##### Setting up nodes for use in the testbed
This file contains tips we've found useful in setting up our nodes.
This file explains how to get nodes set up and added to the testbed.
##### Disable PXE on non-control interfaces
##### BIOS setup on the nodes
First, we need to get some things set up in the nodes' BIOS. For now, just do
this on one of the nodes, you'll do the rest later.
Booting from PXE -
The first thing we'll need to do is have the node boot from PXE on its control
network interface. This is how the testbed exercises control over what the
node will boot. In most BIOSes, this should be as simple as finding the boot
order options, and putting PXE on the top. Things can get a bit confusing if
you have more than one PXE-capable interface, because the BIOS often provides
no way of distinguishing between them - you'll have to do some trial-and error
to figure out which is which.
Disable PXE on experimental interfaces -
Nodes will boot much quicker if you disable PXE booting (through whatever means
provided by your card) on experimental net interfaces.
##### Set power-loss behavior
Set power-loss behavior -
Many BIOSes have an option about what to do after a power failure (which is
what it looks like to the node when it gets power cycled by a power
controller.) They're usally 'always off', 'always on', and 'last state'.
controller.) They're usually 'always off', 'always on', and 'last state'.
Always on is the best - last state is OK, but if someone does a 'shutdown -h'
on the node, you can't bring it back up with power cycling - you have to go
punch the power button. Just make sure they're not set to always off.
#### Type information for the nodes
Unless you're adding some more nodes, identical to the ones you already have,
you'll need to put some type information about them into the database. Add an
entry to the node_types table for each type of experimental node you're going
to be adding to the testbed. Most of the columns should be self-explanatory,
but here are some notes:
class: Should be 'pc'
type: Should be 'pcXXX', where XXX is a short (a few characters) string
describing the nodes (such as processor speed, chipset, etc.)
proc: Class of processor (ie. 'PIII')
speed: CPU speed in MHz
RAM: Amount of RAM in MB
HD: Hard disk size in GB
max_cards: Number of PCI (or ISA) slots
max_ports: Maximum number of NIC ports (eg. dual port cards count as 2)
osid: Default operating system to use. Should be one of the ones created in
Step 6
control_net: Interface number (described below) of the control network
power_time: Number of second between power cycles (to help save wear and tear
on the hardware). We recommend 60.
imageid: Default image to load (created in Step 6 of setup-db.txt)
imageable: Set to 1 if a disk image can be created/restored on this node type.
delay_capacity: How many delay nodes this node can be. For example, nodes with
2 experimental interfaces can be 1 delay node, nodes with 4 experimental
interfaces can be 2 delay nodes, etc.
virtnode_capacity: Number of virtual nodes that can be hosted on a single
physical node of this type.
control_iface: Linux-style interface name for the control network (ie. 'eth0')
disktype: FreeBSD-style disk name for the primary hard drive.
Choices are 'ad' (IDE), 'sd' (SCSI), or 'ar' (IDE RAID).
delay_osid: Which OS should be run when this node is being a delay node.
Should usually be 'FBSD-STD'
pxe_boot_path: Path (including hostname) to the mini-kernel that should be
loaded by PXE. Ask Utah for this kernel. For example,
isvirtnode: Should be 0.
isremotenode: Should be 0.
issubnode: Should be 0.
isplabdslice: Should be 0.
You'll also need to add entries to the interface_types table for each type of
network card you are using. Notes on the columns:
type: Name of the FreeBSD driver for the card (common ones are 'fxp' for Intel
EtherExpress Pro 100 and 'xl' for Tulip-based cards)
max_speed: The maximum speed of the interface, in Kbps
full_duplex: 1 if the card can operate in full duplex, 0 otherwise
##### Bringing up the first node
We'll start by bringing up the first node in the testbed, to make sure things
are working, and so that you can set some initial values.
Setting up dhcpd -
We use dhcpd to assign addresses to nodes when they boot. We don't normally do
this in a dynamic way (the D in dhcp) - we hardwire MAC addresses to IP
addresses. However, at this point, we don't know those MAC and IP addresses, so
we have to set up DHCP to actually do some dynamic stuff. Copy
dhcpd.conf.template from the dhcpd/ directory of the source tree into
/usr/local/etc . Edit it to get your actual boss IP, domain, control network
subnet and mask, etc. into it. Now, see that line that says 'range ...'?
Uncomment that line, and put in a range of IP addresses that is in the control
network, but is _not_ going to be used by nodes. Ideally, this range should be
large enough to fit all the nodes into it. If it's smaller, remember this for
later, when we get to bringing up the rest of the nodes. Make the config file
from the template with:
/usr/testbed/sbin/dhcpd.makeconf dhcpd.conf.template > dhcp.conf
... then (re) start dhcpd with:
/usr/local/etc/rc.d/ restart
If you have more than one interface in boss, dhcpd might complain that it has
nothing to do on some of them. That's fine - just make sure there are no other
Okay, now we're ready to try to boot the first node. What's going to happen as
we bring nodes up is that they should boot into the 'newnode' MFS, which is a
stripped down version of FreeBSD that runs out of a memory filesystem. This MFS
reports in to boss, informing it of it's existence and key things such as it's
MAC addresses. Do the BIOS setup detailed above on this node, and fire it up.
By the time it's got a FreeBSD login prompt on the console, it should have
reported in. This will send mail to the local testbed-ops list.
Now, let's take a look at the web page where nodes that have checked in, and
are awaiting creation as 'real' nodes, show up. Log into the web interface as
an admin (make sure to go 'red dot'). Now, go to the 'Add Testbed Nodes' link.
Clicking on the numeric ID next to a node will bring up a page with more
information about the node, which you can edit. You can select nodes with the
checkboxes along the left side - actions taken by the buttons below operate on
the selected nodes.
WARNING: Nothing on this page asks for confirmation, so be careful where you
On this page, you should now see the first node you booted up, which should
have gotten the name 'pc1'. Click on the ID number (which is probably '1') to
see more detail. Make sure that the number of interfaces reported is correct.
Note that the 'Temporary IP' shown on this page is the dynamic one assigned to
the node by DHCP, from the dynamic range you set up. If you need to SSH into to
it to check things out, until it's be really added to the testbed, use this IP.
Next, make sure that the 'Type' column is filled in with the one you entered
into the types table earlier. If it isn't, fix that now using the 'Set Type'
Next, set the node name to your preferred naming scheme. We strongly suggest
leaving it as-is (ie. using pcXXX to name the nodes), but if you must change
it, do so now - nodes you add later will get a name based on this one, with the
number and the end incremented. The code that does this guessing supports node
naming schemes that end in numbers, or end with '-a'.
Now, you'll need to set the IP address for this node. Subsequent nodes will
have their IP addresses computed from this one. (ie. if you set pc1 to an
address that ends in '.1', pc3 will get address '.3').
The other thing to check here is to see what order the interface got detected
in. Unfortunately, FreeBSD and Linux sometimes detect them in different orders.
If you will usually be running Linux on the nodes, you probably want to
re-order them to the Linux order so that the database state will make more
sense to you. At this point, figure out the mapping from the FreeBSD order to
the Linux one, and write that down. (If necessary, you could boot the node up
from Knoppix, or some distribution's install floppy/CD to determine the Linux
order - use MAC addresses to map this to the FreeBSD one.)
##### Bringing up the rest of the nodes
Okay, now that you've got the first node up, the rest should be easy. Bring the
second node (pc2) up, just like you did the first one. Check to make sure that
it got an appropriate name and IP address, extrapolated from the first one. If
that works, start bringing the others up in order. It's important to do them in
order, because identifying which is which if you do them out of order can be
very painful! If there are some nodes you simply can't bring up, because of bad
hardware, etc. write these down, and we'll fix things up later.
Important note: Remember the size of the dynamic range you picked for dhcp
above? Well, that will limit how many of these node you can bring up at a time.
If you run out of IP addresses, continue on with the nodes you have up, and
repeat these steps later with the remainder.
Okay, got all the nodes up? Good. At this point, you can fix things up for any
you had to skip, using the 'Add to Node ID suffix' box. If, for example, you
couldn't boot pc10 select all the nodes detected as pc10 and higher, and add 1
to their node numbers. You will then want to use the 'Recalculate IPs' button
on these nodes to get their IP addresses set appropriately.
The type for each node is supposed to get detected automatically, but this can
be a bit imprecise (ie. processor speeds are never exactly as advertised - a
2GHz processor may be 1.99 GHz.) So, if the nodes didn't get their types
detected correctly, just select them all, and use the 'set type' button.
##### Figuring out interfaces
If you found earlier that the FreeBSD and Linux ordering for interfaces was
different, we'll fix that up now. Use the boxes right about the 'Re-number
interfaces' to do this. Just leave blank any interface numbers your nodes don't
have. For example, if you have two interfaces, and what FreeBSD detects as eth0
is eth1 under Linux, and vice versa for eth1, you'd enter '1' and '0' in the
first two boxes. Select all nodes, and hit the 're-number' button. Once you've
got this sorted out, the 'Control MAC' column should be correct.
Now, we're going to figure out where the interfaces are plugged into your
switches - you should have entered your switches into the database as part of
setup-db.txt . If they're not already, enable all of the ports on your
experimental network that have experimental interfaces connected to them. Under
IOS, you'll also need to put them into a VLAN other than VLAN1. If you just now
enabled these interfaces, wait a few minutes to give the switches time to learn
the nodes' MAC addresses. Now, select all the nodes, and click the 'search
switch ports' button. This will grab the MAC tables from all switches you put
into the database, which we'll match up with the MACs that the nodes themselves
reported. This will take a little while, and it will report any interfaces it
failed to find. Note - if you didn't enter your control network switch into the
database, this is okay, but this step won't find any control network
interfaces. That's acceptable. But, make sure it doesn't complain about any
experimental-network interfaces.
##### Creating the nodes
You're finally ready to take these nodes and actually create them! (By this
point, you should have a disk image, etc. from Utah.) Select all the nodes, hit
'Create', and wait a while. This enter all of the nodes into their permanent
location in the database, and will reboot them into a 'full' FreeBSD MFS. It
also puts them into the emulab-ops/hwdown experiment, to make sure that no
experimenters get them in case something went wrong. Inspect a few to make sure
they booted right. If so, free them from the hwdown experiment with:
nfree emulab-ops hwdown pc1 pc2 pc3 ...
At this point, they should get a disk image loaded and end up in the free pool.
##### Serial lines and power controllers
This node creation process doesn't handle serial lines and power controllers
yet, unfortunately. These will need entries added to the tiplines and outlets
tables, respectively. Contact Utah if you need help with this.
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