Qlustar edit

What is Qlustar? edit

Qlustar is a public HPC cluster operating system. It is based on Debian/Ubuntu. It is easy to you and highly customizable and do not need further packages to work. The installation of Qlustar has all necessary software to run a cluster.

Requirements edit

The requirements for the Qlustar OS are:

  • A DVD or a USB flash-drive (minimum size 2GB) loaded with the Qlustar installer
  • A 64bit x86 server/PC (or virtual machine) with
    • at least two network adapters
    • at least one disk with a minimum size of 160GB
    • optionally a second (or more) disk(s) with a minimum size of 160GB
    • CPU supporting virtualization (for virtual front-end and demo nodes)
    • Working Internet connection

Installation process edit

Qlustar 9 provides an ISO install image that can be burned onto a DVD or be loaded onto an USB flash-drive. With that you can boot your machine from that DVD or drive. Choose “Qlustar installation” from the menu that will be presented when the server boots from you drive.


The kernel will be loaded and finally you can see a Qlustar welcome screen at which you can start the configuration process by pressen enter. In the first configuration screen select the desired localization settings. It's important to set the right keyboard layout otherwise it will not function properly in the later setup process.


Select in the next screen the disk or disks to install Qlustar on. Make sure you have at least 160GB available space. The chosen disk will be used as a LVM physical volume to create a volume group.


For the home directories a separate file-system is used. When you have additional unused disks in the machine you can choose them. To have the home file-system on the same volume group choose the previously configured one. The option “Other” let’s you later setup a home file-system manually which is needed to add cluster users.


In the following screen you setup the network configuration. The number of compute nodes does not need to be exact and can be an approximate value. It determines the suggested cluster network address and other parameters. Also specify the mail relay and a root mail alias.


On the second network settings screen you can configure optional Infiniband and/or IPMI network parameters. The corresponding hardware wasn't present in my particular cluster, so I chose accordingly.


To boost the stability and performance it is common practice to separate user from system activities as much as possible and so have a virtual front-end node for user access/activity. You can choose to setup this front-end node. To get all the necessary network pre-configurations it's recommended to create a virtual demo-cluster. Lastly create a password for the root user.


In the next screen you can select the preferred edge platforms. Multiple are possible and one is required. Choosing an edge platform will cause Qlustar images be based on it. Here you can also choose to install package bundles like Slurm (a popular workload manager/scheduler).


Before the actual installation process will start, you can review the installation settings. It shows a summary of the settings from the previous screens. Go back if there are any changes you want to make.


The completion of the installation can take up to a few minutes. Press enter at the end and reboot your machine after removing the installation DVD or USB.


First boot of the OS edit

Boot the newly installed Qlustar OS


and login as root with the password entered in the installation configuration. At the first start Qlustar isn't configured completely yet. To start the post-install configuration process and complete the installation run the following command:



The last steps require you to name you cluster, setup NIS and configure ssh, QluMan and Slurm. Naming the cluster is easy, type any string you’d like. In the NIS setup and ssh configuration, just confirm the suggested settings to proceed. Qlustars management framework (QluMan) requires a mysql database. Here enter the password for the QluMan DB user. The whole initialization process can take some time. When the optional Slurm package was selected in the installation process, you need to generate a munge key and the specification of a password for the Slurm mysql account. When all the mentioned steps are completed make a final reboot.

With the command:

demo-system-start you start the virtual demo-cluster (if chosen in to configure it at the installation). The configuration file “/etc/qlustar/vm-configs/demo-system.conf.” is used. Start a screen session by attaching to the console session of the virtual demo cluster nodes:



Now you have a base configuration of Qlustar with following services running: Nagios3, Ganglia, DHCP/ATFTP, NTP, (Slurm, if selected in the installation), NIS server, Mail service, MariaDB and QluMan. This is a powerful foundation for every cluster. If desired you can add more software at any time, create new users or get down to business by running QluMan, compiling MPI programs and run them.