Cross Kickstarting

1.4. Cross Kickstarting

Rocks supports heterogeneous clusters that contain nodes of different hardware architectures with a process called cross-kickstarting. To support an architecture different than its own, a frontend needs to expand its local distribution with additional packages. This section describes how to install distributions for other architectures on your frontend.


While the cross-kickstarting process is identical for all architectures, problems exist when rebuilding an ia64 distribution on an x86 frontend. Therefore for the 3.2.0 release, cross-kickstarting is limited to x86 and x86_64 architectures.

Start with a frontend node, as described by Install Frontend, or upgrade frontend. Follow the instructions below for every desired architecture.

For this example, we assume the "x86_64" architecture, and the "3.2.0-0" Rocks version. The frontend is an x86.

  1. Retrieve the Rocks base CD and any desired rolls for x86_64 (see downloads).

    Mount the Rocks base CD on /mnt/cdrom. This can be done without actually burning the CD, using the command: mount -o loop rocks-base-3.2.0-0.x86_64.iso /mnt/cdrom. Then copy its contents into the local mirror:

    # rocks-dist --arch=x86_64 copycd

  2. Unmount the base CD image. For each x86_64 roll, mount it to /mnt/cdrom as above, then copy its contents to the appropriate location with:

    # rocks-dist copyroll

  3. Rebuild your distribution for the new architecture.

    # cd /home/install
    # rocks-dist --arch=x86_64 dist

    This requires that you have built the distribution for your native architecture first.

Now your frontend is prepared to cross-kickstart compute nodes and other cluster appliances of different architectures.


The Rocks 3.2.0 Shasta release does not support PXE cross-kickstart installs; you must boot non-native compute nodes from a native-architecture Rocks boot disk or Rocks base CD. Non-native means the compute node has a different architecture than its frontend.