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.

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 frontend is an x86 (Pentium) and the compute nodes are x86_64 CPUs (Opteron).

  1. Retrieve the required Rocks rolls for x86_64 (and optional rolls as desired)

    Mount one of the new rolls on /mnt/cdrom. This can be done without actually burning the CD, using the command:

    # mount -o loop <roll-name>.iso /mnt/cdrom

    Then copy its contents into the local mirror with:

    # rocks-dist --install copyroll
  2. Unmount /mnt/cdrom, and repeat the process for each roll.

  3. Rebuild your distribution for the new architecture with the following flags.

    # 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.


Rocks does not currently support PXE cross-kickstart installs; you must boot non-native compute nodes from a native-architecture Rocks CD that contains the Kernel Roll. In the above example you must install a x86_64 compute node from an x86_64 boot media instead of PXE.