This page explains how to get nodes set up and added to the testbed.
Step 1 - 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. The following items
are necessary, although you may wish to configure other options such as a
BIOS password, etc.
Booting from PXE - The node must be configured to 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 often times the BIOS provides no way of
distinguishing between them. In this case 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 on each other interface, though
whichever means provided by the card. On some Intel cards, for
example, you may press CTRL-S during the POST to enter a card's
configuration screen when prompted.
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 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...
Step 2 - Type information for the nodes
Unless you're adding some more nodes, identical to the ones you already
have, you will need to put some type information about them into the
database. You can do this through the web interface: log in and go into
'red dot' mode. Now, click on the 'Node Status' link in the
'Experimentation' menu, and then click on 'Node Type List'.
Click on the 'Create a PC type' link. The important items on this page to fill out
are: (you can leave defaults for the rest)
We typically name types 'pcXXX', where XXX is a short (a few characters) string describing something unique about the nodes, such as processor speed, chipset, etc. (e.g. 'pc3000' for 3GHz nodes)
Leave this as 'pc'
Select the FREEBSD-MFS image
Delay (in seconds) for the BIOS to initialize the system
If the node's disk is 'hdd' or 'ad4', then you would enter '4'
Control Network Interface
Name of the control network interface under Linux. Usually, just a concatenation of 'eth' and the Control Network number from 'Control Network' below (e.g. 'eth0')
Interface number (described above) of the control network interface
Select the image(s) you want to be loaded by default
Select the operating system from one of the images you selected above for the default ImageID
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. If your nodes are not especially "beefy" then you might not want to set this number to the maximum physical limit
Diskload MFS OSID
Select the FRISBEE-MFS image
Hard disk size in GB (e.g. '500')
FreeBSD-style disk name for the primary hard drive. Choices are 'ad' (IDE), 'sd' (SCSI), or 'ar' (IDE RAID)
CPU frequency in MHz (e.g. '2400')
Maximum number of NIC ports (dual-port cards count as 2). Include the Control network interface in this count
Amount of RAM in MB (e.g. '4096')
Class of processor, such as 'Core 2'
Step 3 - Bringing up the first node
We will start by bringing up the first node in the testbed, to make sure
that things are working, and so that you can set some initial values. You
should already have the newnode and other MFSes installed, as described
What is going to happen as we bring nodes up is that they should PXE boot
into the 'newnode' MFS, which is a stripped-down version of FreeBSD that
runs out of a memory filesystem. This MFS reports to boss, informing it of
its existence and key things such as its MAC addresses. Ensure that you
have configured the BIOS as previously described, 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
and go into 'red dot' mode. 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. Note that nothing on this page asks
for confirmation, so be careful where you click.
On this page, you should now see the first node booted up, which should
have received 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
address assigned to the node by DHCP on boss, from the dynamic range you
set up back in the definitions file. If you need to SSH into it to check
things out before it's really been 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' box.
Next, set the node name to your preferred naming scheme. We strongly
suggest leaving it as-is (i.e. 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. (I.e. 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 in what order the interface got
detected. 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 CD to determine the Linux order - use MAC addresses to map this to
the FreeBSD one).
If you somehow make a mistake and need to delete a node that has been created:
boss> wap deletenode pc1
Step 4 - 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
cannot bring up, because of bad hardware, etc., write these down, and we
will fix things up later.
Note: You defined the size of the dynamic range of IP addresses in the
definitions file. If you find that you do not have a large enough range to
bring up all of your nodes, continue on with the nodes you have up, and
repeat these steps later for 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 could not 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
The type for each node is supposed to get detected automatically, but this
can be a bit imprecise (i.e., processor speeds are never exactly as
advertised - a 3 GHz processor may really be 2.98 GHz.) So, if the nodes
did not get their types detected correctly, just select them all, and use
the 'set type' button.
Step 5 - 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 above the 'Re-number
interfaces' button 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 have got this sorted out, the 'Control MAC'
column should be correct.
Now, we are going to figure out where the interfaces are plugged in on your
switches. You should have already entered your switch information into the
database from previous instructions. If they are not already up, enable all
of the ports on your experimental network that have experimental interfaces
connected to them. Also, in order to work around some strange behavior
(possible a bug?), you'll need to place these ports into some VLAN other
than VLAN 1. 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 will
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.
If you did not enter your control network switch into the database, this is
okay, but this step will not find any control network interfaces. That's
acceptable, but make sure it doesn't complain about any experimental
Step 6 - Creating the nodes
You are finally ready to take these nodes and actually create them! (By
this point you should already have at least one disk image from
Utah). Select all the nodes, hit 'Create', and wait a while. This will
enter all of the nodes into their permanent locations 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
correctly. If so, free them from the hwdown experiment with:
boss> wap nfree emulab-ops hwdown pc1 pc2 pc3 ...
At this point, they should get a disk image loaded and end up in the free pool.