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How the IBIC workstations and Virtual Machines are produced and configured

Hardware overview

CPU cores4
CPU type64-bit Xeon E5530
Disk500Gb (RAID 1)


Each workstation runs both the native OS and VMWare server. Virtual Machine versions are produced internally at intervals of at least 2 weeks, exported on the Monday following a dig-it meeting. These are Milestone releases. A collection of Milestone releases consisting of a predetermined number of accomplishments compose a Minor release.
Minor number releases are produced on an indeterminate basis, but generally repair or add features to the previous minor version. These are alpha/beta releases for a Major version.
Major number releases are produced as full releases fairly independent from the previous release. They are intended for consumption for an unrestricted community.
A Virtual Machine release is identified as
IBIC_0.0.1 would be the first VM released for internal development.
IBIC_0.1.0 would be the first VM released for alpha/beta testing
IBIC_0.1.1 would be the first internal update to 0.1.0
IBIC_0.2.0 would contain a set of updates or related features ready for alpha/beta release
IBIC_1.0.0 would be the first version intended for public release
IBIC_1.0.1 would be for internal development following 1.0.0
IBIC_1.1.0 would be the first update package for 1.0.0 (bugfixes, minor changes) which can be for internal testing or release.
IBIC_2.0.0 would contain a sufficient number of changes to make it distinct from IBIC_1.x.x.
Developers obtain the most recent internal release, keeping development changes in their home directory, which is unaffected by OS upgrades. Changes to the VM for testing can be made and discarded.

OS environment overview

Each workstation is running RHEL 5.3 on the native hardware. Home directories are on the Sun model 7710 NAS, mounted as:
Authentication is (will be, as of 8/12/09) performed using Active Directory on Windows 2003 server. The host is, domain or IBIC. Home directories are (will be) shared between all linux installations, whether native or VM, and the Windows XP VM authenticated on the domain.
Exports are only allowed to stations on the DNS domain, or systems that are translated via NAT to an IP on that domain.
Each workstation is an execution and submission host on the IBIC Sun Grid Engine, requiring shared home directories and identical workstation configurations.
The VMWare server console is accessed vi secure http to port 8333, ie:

Software overview

Each workstation has a number of packages installed (see Installation and configuration) that can be used by the Sun Grid Engine. Installed packages can be found on the wiki under "IBIC Virtual Machine information".

Installation and configuration


Each workstation is running RHEL 5.3 on the native hardware. Each workstation has a kickstart file (automated installation over a network) in The kickstart for each workstation is the name of the workstation followed by .ks. For example, is installed using the kickstart file mehtas2.ks
Kickstart files are created using the script freenas:/mnt/home/stegbk/station_setup/
The RHEL 5.3 dvd install image must be exported on freenas for installation. See the script freenas:/mnt/home/, which is intended to provide the NFS image of the .iso over NFS.


* Configure the BIOS to Boot from Optical media -> disk -> USB -> Network

  • Set RAID configuration to 1 (mirrored)
  • Insert the 64 bit RHEL 5.3 installer media
  • Power on the system
  • At the installation prompt, type

The workstation must have a DHCP Ethernet connection.

When installation completes

* Log in as root

  • Mount to /mnt/home
  • Cd /mnt/home/stegbk/station_setup/setup_base_workstation
  • .

This command exports environment variables needed for the rest of the installation.


This script sets up usernames, passwords, /etc/hosts, /etc/fstab and access to the UW RHEL repository. It also installs and updates packages via yum. Finally it sets the system's runlevel to 3 (it's next boot will not start X windows) so the NVIDIA drivers can be installed.


Log in as root

Cd /mnt/home/stegbk/station_setup/setup_base_workstation/


This sets up environment variables.

Cd second_level


This script contains the variable INSTALLIST, a list of packages to install. The script will look for each package in $INSTALLERDIR. Each package is to be in a directory under $INSTALLERDIR containing a script named "". This script should:

Make a directory for the package in /mnt/home/stegbk/station_setup/installers

In that directory create a script called

Creating the configuration file in the and copy it to /etc/profile.d

Verify the value of $?, the last error returned.

At a future date the script will also iterate through the home directory of each user looking for a directory called "ibic_install". This directory will be expected to contain a script names "". The directory should contain installer subdirectories which will be called by "".


Create a virtual machine from the VMWare server console.

Follow the instructions after BIOS setup from "Workstation" above, except for:

Use the kickstart file "vm.ks"

Use ./ in the directory "second level"

Windows XP vm

The Windows XP VM is configured with general office applications (Microsoft Office, Irfan View, etc…) and authenticated from the IBIC domain. The drive Z:
is the home directory of the corresponding Linux account.