These instructions are meant to get users up and running quickly without going through all of the steps in detail. For more information please refer to the full user manual.

Install StarCluster using easy_install:

$ sudo easy_install StarCluster

or to install StarCluster manually:

$ (Download StarCluster from http://web.mit.edu/starcluster)
$ tar xvzf starcluster-X.X.X.tar.gz  (where x.x.x is a version number)
$ cd starcluster-X.X.X
$ sudo python setup.py install

After the software has been installed, the next step is to setup the configuration file:

$ starcluster help
StarCluster - (http://web.mit.edu/starcluster)
Software Tools for Academics and Researchers (STAR)
Please submit bug reports to starcluster@mit.edu

cli.py:87 - ERROR - config file /home/user/.starcluster/config does not exist

[1] Show the StarCluster config template
[2] Write config template to /home/user/.starcluster/config
[q] Quit

Please enter your selection:

Select the second option by typing 2 and pressing enter. This will give you a template to use to create a configuration file containing your AWS credentials, cluster settings, etc. The next step is to customize this file using your favorite text-editor:

$ vi ~/.starcluster/config

This file is commented with example “cluster templates”. A cluster template defines a set of configuration settings used to start a new cluster. The example config provides a smallcluster template that is ready to go out-of-the-box. However, first, you must fill in your AWS credentials and keypair info:

[aws info]
aws_access_key_id = #your aws access key id here
aws_secret_access_key = #your secret aws access key here
aws_user_id = #your 12-digit aws user id here

The next step is to fill in your keypair information. If you don’t already have a keypair you can create one from StarCluster using:

$ starcluster createkey mykey -o ~/.ssh/mykey.rsa

This will create a keypair called mykey on Amazon EC2 and save the private key to ~/.ssh/mykey.rsa. Once you have a key the next step is to fill-in your keypair info in the StarCluster config file:

[key key-name-here]
key_location = /path/to/your/keypair.rsa

For example, the section for the keypair created above using the createkey command would look like:

[key mykey]
key_location = ~/.ssh/mykey.rsa

After defining your keypair in the config, the next step is to update the default cluster template smallcluster with the name of your keypair on EC2:

[cluster smallcluster]
keyname = key-name-here

For example, the smallcluster template would be updated to look like:

[cluster smallcluster]
keyname = mykey

Now that the config file has been set up we’re ready to start using StarCluster. Next we start a cluster named “mycluster” using the default cluster template smallcluster in the example config:

$ starcluster start mycluster

The default_template setting in the [global] section of the config specifies the default cluster template and is automatically set to smallcluster in the example config.

After the start command completes you should now have a working cluster. You can login to the master node as root by running:

$ starcluster sshmaster mycluster

You can also copy files to/from the cluster using the put and get commands. To copy a file or entire directory from your local computer to the cluster:

$ starcluster put /path/to/local/file/or/dir /remote/path/

To copy a file or an entire directory from the cluster to your local computer:

$ starcluster get /path/to/remote/file/or/dir /local/path/

Once you’ve finished using the cluster and wish to stop paying for it:

$ starcluster terminate mycluster

Have a look at the rest of StarCluster’s available commands:

$ starcluster --help

Learn more...

Watch an ~8min screencast @ http://web.mit.edu/stardev/cluster

To learn more have a look at the rest of the documentation: http://web.mit.edu/stardev/cluster/docs

The docs explain the configuration file in detail, how to create/use EBS volumes with StarCluster, how to use the Sun Grid Engine queueing system to submit jobs on the cluster, using and creating plugins, and much more.

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