Workflow Guide

If xCAT looks suitable for your requirement, following steps are recommended to set up an xCAT cluster.

  1. Find a server for xCAT management node

    The server can be a bare-metal server or a virtual machine. The major factor for selecting a server is the number of machines in your cluster. The bigger the cluster is, the performance of server need to be better.

    The architecture of xCAT management node is recommended to be same as the target compute node in the cluster.

  2. Install xCAT on your selected server

    The server where xCAT is installed will be the xCAT Management Node.

    Refer to the doc: xCAT Install Guide to learn how to install xCAT on a server.

    Refer to the doc: xCAT Admin Guide to learn how to manage xCAT Management server.

  3. Discover target compute nodes in the cluster

    Define the target nodes in the xCAT database before managing them.

    For a small cluster (less than 5), you can collect the information of target nodes one by one and then define them manually through mkdef command.

    For a bigger cluster, you can use the automatic method to discover the target nodes. The discovered nodes will be defined to xCAT database. You can use lsdef to display them.

    Refer to the doc: xCAT discovery Guide to learn how to discover and define compute nodes.

  4. Perform hardware control operations against the target compute nodes

    Verify the hardware control for defined nodes. e.g. rpower <node> stat.

    Refer to the doc: Hardware Management to learn how to perform the remote hardware control.

  5. Deploy OS on the target nodes

    • Prepare the OS images
    • Customize the OS images (Optional)
    • Perform the OS deployment

    Refer to the doc: Diskful Install, Diskless Install to learn how to deploy OS for a target node.

  6. Update the OS after the deployment

    You may require to update the OS of certain target nodes after the OS deployment, try the updatenode command. updatenode command can execute the following tasks for target nodes:

    • Install additional software/application for the target nodes
    • Sync some files to the target nodes
    • Run some postscript for the target nodes

    Refer to the doc: Updatenode to learn how to use updatenode command.

  7. Run parallel commands

    When managing a cluster with hundreds or thousands of nodes, operating on many nodes in parallel might be necessary. xCAT has some parallel commands for that.

    • Parallel shell
    • Parallel copy
    • Parallel ping

    Refer to the Parallel Commands to learn how to use parallel commands.

  8. Contribute to xCAT (Optional)

    While using xCAT, if you find something (code, documentation, …) that can be improved and you want to contribute that to xCAT, do that for your and other xCAT users benefit. And welcome to xCAT community!

    Refer to the Developers to learn how to contribute to xCAT community.