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Requirements for Creating a Node XML File in Windows HPC Server 2008

Updated: December 18, 2008

Applies To: Windows HPC Server 2008

By importing a node XML file, you can add compute nodes to your HPC cluster in two ways:

  • By deploying compute nodes from bare metal. In this case, an operating system and Microsoft® HPC Pack 2008 are installed on the compute nodes during the process of adding them to the cluster.

  • By adding compute nodes that have already been configured. In this case, the operating system has already been installed on the compute nodes. Also, HPC Pack 2008 has been installed on the compute nodes and the name of the head node in your HPC cluster was specified during installation.

The basic requirements for each of these two ways of adding compute nodes to your HPC cluster are the same, but there are some additional requirements to add compute nodes from bare metal. This topic lists the general requirements, as well as the specific requirements for adding compute nodes from bare metal.

noteNote
While you are gathering information to prepare to create a node XML file, you might want to review Appendix 2: Creating a Node XML File in the Windows HPC Server 2008 Design and Deployment Guide (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=124145). It contains detailed information about node XML files, including a description of the elements and attributes in the node XML schema, and is referenced by this step-by-step guide.

General requirements

Regardless of the way that you choose to add compute nodes to your HPC cluster, you will need the following:

  • A head node that is running Windows® HPC Server 2008. The head node must be fully configured (that is, all of the required steps on the configuration to-do list must be completed). For detailed information about deploying and configuring a head node, see the Windows HPC Server 2008 Design and Deployment Guide (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=117921).

  • One or more of the computers that you want to add as compute nodes to your cluster. All of these computers must be connected to the cluster networks according to the network topology that you selected when you configured the head node of your HPC cluster. For detailed information about each network topology, see Appendix 1: HPC Cluster Networking in the Windows HPC Server 2008 Design and Deployment Guide (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=124377).

  • If there are computers that you will add later to your HPC cluster, or if you do not wish to use all of the computers to generate the base node XML file, then you need to create a list that contains:

    • The Media Access Control address (MAC) of each network adapter on each computer

      —OR—

    • The System Management BIOS (SMBIOS) GUID of each computer

    noteNote
    • The MAC address of a network adapter card is usually available on the adapter itself (for example, on a sticker that is attached to the adapter card), or on the product package of the adapter card. If the network adapter is integrated with the main board of the computer, the MAC address should be listed in the system BIOS of that computer. The MAC address is comprised of 12 hexadecimal characters, and can be listed with colons (“:”), dashes (“-”), or blank spaces. For example: 00:B1:5A:C6:8F:CA. It is important to note that only the hexadecimal characters of the MAC address are used in the node XML file. For example, if the MAC address in the previous example is added to a node XML file, the colons need to be removed: 00B15AC68FCA.

    • The SMBIOS GUID of a computer is listed in the system BIOS. The GUID is comprised of 32 hexadecimal characters, and can include dashes (“-”). For example: 355310b5-75e6-10dd-bbda-5ac28fca0021. Unlike the MAC address, when you add the SMBIOS GUID to the node XML file, you must include all dashes that are listed with it.

  • If you want to add to the node XML file information about the location of each computer, then you need to create a list that contains the following information for each computer:

    • The data center where the computer is located

    • The name or number of the rack where the computer is located

    • The name or number of the chassis that is used for the computer

    noteNote
    All of the three location parameters listed above are optional. You can include in the node XML file only those location parameters that will be useful to you when determining the exact location of a compute node in your HPC cluster.

  • A software tool to edit node XML files. For example, XML Notepad 2007, which can be downloaded from the Microsoft Download Center (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=139128).

Additional requirements for adding compute nodes from bare metal

If you will be adding compute nodes to your cluster by deploying them from bare metal, you will also need the following:

  • An HPC cluster network that is not configured in topology 5 (all nodes on an enterprise network).

  • For each compute node that you will be adding to your cluster, you must verify in the configuration of the BIOS of each computer that the computer will boot from the network adapter that is connected to the private network, instead of booting from the local hard drive or another device, and that Pre-boot Execution Environment (PXE) boot is enabled for that network adapter.

  • A node template that includes a step to deploy an operating system image. This node template has to be available on the head node, and must be configured to deploy the operating system image that you want to install on the compute nodes that you are adding to your HPC cluster.

    noteNote
    You can add nodes to the cluster without specifying a node template, but they will be listed in the Unknown state after they are deployed, and you will have to manually add them using HPC Cluster Manager.

  • If you are using an operating system image of a retail version of Windows Server® 2008, or the evaluation version of Windows Server 2008 HPC Edition, you must include a Windows product key.

  • If you are using an operating system image for a volume license version of Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server® 2008 HPC Edition, you can include a Windows product key in the node XML file to activate the operating system on each compute node after it is added to your HPC cluster. You can include a specific product key for each compute node, or the same Volume License Key for all compute nodes. The product key that you specify must match the edition of the operating system that will be used to deploy the compute nodes.

    noteNote
    If you include a Windows product key in the node XML file, that product key will be used instead of the product key that is specified in the node template that you use to deploy the compute nodes (if a product key has been specified in the node template).

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