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Understanding iSCSI Deployment

Updated: January 13, 2014

Applies To: Microsoft HPC Pack 2008 R2, Microsoft HPC Pack 2012, Microsoft HPC Pack 2012 R2, Windows HPC Server 2008 R2

You can deploy iSCSI boot nodes on your HPC cluster. iSCSI boot nodes are compute nodes that boot the operating system over the network, by using an iSCSI connection. iSCSI boot nodes do not require a local hard disk drive to serve as a system disk, and instead use the storage resources on an iSCSI storage array. An iSCSI storage array is a computer, storage system, or appliance that provides storage resources over a network connection, using the iSCSI protocol.

noteNote

noteNote
For detailed information about iSCSI deployment and step-by-step procedures for deploying iSCSI boot nodes, see the Deploying iSCSI Boot Nodes Step-by-Step Guide.

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There are three main steps for deploying iSCSI boot nodes in your HPC cluster:

  1. Configure the head node for iSCSI deployment.

  2. Create a base node and then create an image of that base node.

  3. Deploy the iSCSI boot nodes by deploying the base node image.

The following list describes the three main steps in more detail:

  1. Configure the head node for iSCSI deployment:

    1. Install and connect one or more network-attached storage arrays to the private HPC network of your cluster, and then install on the head node the iSCSI provider for the storage arrays.

    2. If the iSCSI provider for your iSCSI storage arrays needs to be configured after installation, configure it by following the instructions provided by the vendor of your storage arrays.

    3. Add the iSCSI storage arrays to the head node by providing their management IP address.

  2. Create a base node and then create an image of that base node:

    1. Add to your cluster the nodes that you want to deploy over iSCSI. One of these nodes is used as the base node.

    2. Deploy the base node over iSCSI.

    3. If necessary, configure the base node. For example, you can install available updates or install a program that you want to run on all the iSCSI boot nodes.

    4. Create an image of the base node. This image is used to deploy the iSCSI boot nodes.

    5. Create a node template for deploying your iSCSI boot nodes. This template references the base node image and the iSCSI storage arrays where the nodes are deployed.

  3. Deploy the iSCSI boot nodes by deploying the base node image:

    1. Add iSCSI boot nodes to your HPC cluster by deploying them using the base node image and the node template that you created.

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To deploy iSCSI boot nodes, you need the following:

  • One or more network-attached storage arrays. The number of storage arrays that you require depends on the number of iSCSI boot nodes that you want to deploy and the storage requirements that these nodes will have (for example, if you will be generating large files on the nodes or loading large files for the nodes to process).

  • The installation software for the iSCSI provider of your storage arrays. This software is available from the vendor of your storage arrays.

    ImportantImportant
    You can only install one iSCSI provider on the head node of your cluster. For this reason, all your storage arrays must use the same iSCSI provider.

  • A network connection between the nodes in your cluster and your storage arrays. The storage arrays must be connected to the same private HPC network that connects the computers that you want to deploy as iSCSI boot nodes.

    noteNote
    • For more information about the private HPC network and the different network topologies for your HPC cluster, see HPC Cluster Networking in the Design and Deployment Guide.

    • Because a private HPC network is required for iSCSI deployment, you cannot deploy iSCSI boot nodes if your HPC cluster is connected in topology 5 (all nodes on an enterprise network).

  • A head node computer where Microsoft® HPC Pack is installed and configured (that is, all the steps required in the Deployment To-do List have been completed).

  • One of the computers that you want to deploy as iSCSI boot nodes must not have a local hard disk drive, or the hard disk drive must be disabled in the system BIOS. This computer will be used to create a base node for iSCSI deployment.

  • If the network adapters that are installed on the computers that you want to deploy as iSCSI boot nodes cannot boot directly from iSCSI, you need a network boot program (NBP) file to enable the Pre-Boot Execution Environment (PXE) in the network adapters to boot from iSCSI. If the network adapters can boot directly from iSCSI, the use of a NBP file to enable PXE is optional.

  • If the network adapters that are installed on the computers that you want to deploy as iSCSI boot nodes can boot directly from iSCSI and you will not be using an NBP file to enable PXE, you need a node XML file that includes all the computers that you want to deploy as iSCSI boot nodes. This node XML file must adhere to the following rules:

    • List for each node only the name and the Media Access Control (MAC) address of the network adapter that is connected to the HPC private network. If the nodes have additional network adapters, do not include the MAC addresses for those adapters in the node XML file.

    • Not specify IP addresses for the nodes. IP addresses are assigned dynamically during the iSCSI deployment process.

    • Not specify a node template for the nodes. You apply a node template that you create for iSCSI deployment.

    If you do not have a node XML file, you can create one by following the steps in Creating a Node XML File Step-by-Step Guide.

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