Getting started as quickly as possibleΒΆ

This documentation is already designed to provide a quick-start guide, but if you’ve used clusters before then you might just need a super-quick guide to getting started with your Alces Flight Compute cluster. Here are just the basics, along with things you should probably look at in more detail when you have time. Useful commands are included with each step - please refer to the full documentation for further details.

  1. Launch your personal Alces Flight Compute cluster on AWS or a compatible OpenStack private cloud. To use the AWS platform, use the Personal HPC compute cluster launch option from the Alces Flight Marketplace product page to start a personal cluster in a new VPC. You will be asked various questions about how you want your cluster to look - most options are explained, with sensible defaults included.
  2. Login to your cluster via SSH using your chosen username, and the SSH key registered with your cloud provider. Your cloud service should report the access IP address to login to once your cluster is launched. If you enabled cluster auto-scaling, compute nodes are automatically added/removed based on the status of your job-scheduler queue. Use alces configure autoscaling disable to turn off scaling if you’ll be running jobs manually.
  3. Start a graphical desktop session with the command alces session start gnome. Connect using a VNC client, with the password provided when you started the session. Multiple users can connect to the same session for collaborative projects. Use the xrandr command to change the screen resolution of a running session.
  4. Your user has full sudo access, and yum is configured to install Linux packages. Use the nodeattr -n nodes command to see your list of compute node hostnames, and pdsh -g nodes <command> to run commands across all nodes in your cluster.
  5. Your cluster has an NFS shared filesystem mounted across all nodes, which your home-directory is part of. Copy data to and from the cluster using SCP/SFTP. The alces storage commands provide access to object storage services including S3 and Dropbox.
  6. Use the alces gridware command to view and install software. The main repository lists stable packages, with a larger list of applications available as part of the volatile repository.
  7. Your cluster comes with an installation of the SGE job-scheduler; use the alces template command for a list of template job-scripts to get you started.
  8. Terminate the cluster stack via your cloud provider when you’ve finished working. Remember to copy any data you want to keep off the cluster to secure storage before terminating it.