xCAT – Extreme Cluster/Cloud Administration Toolkit

xCAT (Extreme Cluster Administration Toolkit) is open-source distributed computing management software used for hardware control, discovery, and the deployment and administration of clusters.

xCAT software can create and manage diskless clusters. It can also install and manage many Linux cluster machines in parallel. Additionally, xCAT is particularly strong in establishing a high-performance computing software stack, including software for batch job submission, parallel libraries, and other software that is useful on a cluster. It is also useful in cloning and imaging Linux and Windows machines.

Features include:

  • Client/server architecture. Clients can run on any Perl compliant system. All communications are SSL encrypted.
  • Role-based administration. Different users can be assigned various administrative roles for different resources.
  • New stateless and iSCSI support. Stateless can be RAM-root, compressed RAM-root, or stacked NFS-root. Linux software initiator iSCSI support for RH and SLES included. Systems without hardware-based initiators can still be iSCSI installed and booted.
  • Xen full virtualized support, including the rmigrate command to request live migration of a virtualized guest from one host to another.
  • Scalability. xCAT 2.x was designed to scale beyond your budget. 100,000 nodes? No problem with xCAT’s Hierarchical Management Cloud (HMC). A single management node may have any number of stateless service nodes to increase the provisioning throughput and management of the largest clusters. All cluster services such as LDAP, DNS, DHCP, NTP, Syslog, etc… are configured to use the Hierarchical Management Cloud. Outbound cluster management commands (e.g. rpower, xdsh, xdcp, etc…) utilize this hierarchy for scalable systems management.
  • Automagic discovery. Single power button press, physical location based, discovery and configuration capability.
  • Choice of database backend: SQLite, PostgreSQL, and MySQL.
  • Plug-in architecture for compartmental development. Add your own xCAT functionally to do what ever you want. New plug-ins extend the xCAT vocabulary available to xCAT clients
  • Monitoring plug-in infrastructure to easily integrate 3rd party monitoring software into xCAT cluster. Plug-ins provided with xCAT: SNMP, RMC, Ganglia, Performance Copilot
  • Notification infrastructure to be able to watch for xCAT DB table changes
  • SNMP monitoring. Trap handler handles all SNMP traps
  • Node status update (nodelist.status is updated during the node deployment, node power on/off process)
  • Centralized console and systems logs
  • Software/firmware inventory command to nodes. Software inventory to images
  • Automatic installation of any additional rpms requested by the user during node deployment phase and after the nodes are up and running
  • Supports a large number of operating systems

Support: GitHub Code Repository
Developer: Egan Ford, Jarrod Johnson, Andy Wray, Bruce Potter
License: Eclipse Public License

xCAT is written in Perl. Learn Perl with our recommended free books and free tutorials.

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