3. Introduction

The PowerUp suite of deployment software enables greatly simplified deployment and configuration of OpenPOWER servers running Linux and installation of software to groups of servers. It leverages widely used open source tools such as Cobbler, Ansible and Python. Because it relies solely on industry standard protocols such as IPMI and PXE boot, hybrid clusters of OpenPOWER and x86 nodes can readily be supported.

PowerUp currently has three primary functional capabilities;

  • Operating system installation (in beta)
  • Software installation
  • Bare metal deploy of openPOWER clusters
  • Basic configuration of groups of nodes (under development)

3.1. Operating System Installation Overview

PowerUp uses a windowed text based user interface (TUI) to provide a user friendly, easy to use facility for quickly deploying an OS to a group of similar nodes from a user provided ISO image file. Both Red Hat and Ubuntu are supported. After entering the subnet information for the BMC and PXE networks and selecting the installation ISO file, the PowerUp software scans the subnet for BMCs and displays a list of discovered nodes. Nodes are listed with serial number, model and BMC MAC address. The user can select nodes from the list by simply scrolling through the list, pressing the space bar to select the desired nodes and click on ‘OK’ to begin installation. A status screen shows installation status.

3.2. Software Installation Overview

PowerUp’s software installer provides a framework for ‘pluggable’ software install modules which can be user created. Python classes are provided to facilitate the creation of yum, conda and pypi simple repositories. The nginx web server is used to serve software binaries and packages to the nodes being installed.

3.3. Node Configuration

Basic configuration of groups of similar nodes is under development. A simple to use TUI will allow setting of hostnames, setup of network interfaces, basic firewall configuration and basic setup of network attached shared storage. Ansible is used to handle configuration tasks across a cluster.

3.4. Cluster Deploymment Overview

PowerUp’s bare metal cluster deployment deploys a heterogeneous cluster of compute nodes and Ethernet switches across one or more racks. PowerUp can configure simple flat networks for typical HPC environments or more advanced networks with VLANS and bridges for OpenStack environments. Complex heterogeneous clusters can be easily deployed using PowerUp’s interface and node templates. PowerUp configures the switches in the cluster with support for multiple switch vendors.

Cluster PowerUp is designed to be easy to use. If you are implementing one of the supported architectures with supported hardware, it eliminates the need for custom scripts or programming. It does this via a text configuration file (config.yml) which drives the cluster configuration. The configuration file is a YAML text file which the user edits. Several example config files are included docs directory. The configuration process is driven from a “deployer” node which can be removed from the cluster when finished. The PowerUp process is as follows;

  1. Rack and cable the hardware.
  2. Initialize hardware.
    • initialize switches with static IP address, userid and password.
    • insure that all cluster compute nodes are set to obtain a DHCP address on their BMC ports and they are configured to support PXE boot on one of their network adapters.
  3. Install the Cluster PowerUp software on the deployer node.
  4. Edit an existing config.yml file to drive the configuration.
  5. Run the PowerUp software

When finished, Cluster PowerUp generates a YAML formatted inventory file with detailed information about your cluster nodes. This file can be read by operational management software and used to seed configuration files needed for installing a solution software stack.

3.4.1. Hardware and Architecture Overview

The PowerUp software supports clusters of servers interconnected with Ethernet. The servers must support IPMI and PXE boot. Multiple racks can be configured with traditional two tier access-aggregation networking. PowerUp configures both a management and data network. In simple / cost sensitive setups, the management and data networks can be configured on the same physical switch. Power-Up can configure VLANs and bonded networks with as many ports as the hardware supports. Redundant data switches (ie MLAG) are also supported. (Currently only implemented on Mellanox switches.)

3.4.2. Networking

Cluster PowerUp provides basic layer 2 configuration of Cisco, Mellanox and Lenovo switches. Not all functionality is enabled on all switch types. Currently redundant networking (MLAG) is only implemented on Mellanox switches. Port channel support is only implemented on Cisco (NX-OS) and Mellanox switches. PowerUp can configure any number of node interfaces on cluster nodes. To facilitate installation of higher level software, network interfaces can be optionally renamed.

Interface templates are used to define network configurations in the config.yml file. These can be physical ports, bonded ports, Linux bridges or VLANS. Interface templates can be entered using Ubuntu or Red Hat network configuration syntax. Once defined, interface templates can be applied to any node template. Node interfaces can optionally be configured with static IP addresses. These can be assigned sequentially or from a list.

3.4.3. Compute Nodes

Cluster PowerUp supports clusters of heterogeneous compute nodes. Users can define any number of node types by creating templates in a config file. Node templates can include any network templates defined in the network templates section. The combination of node templates and network templates allows great flexibility in building heterogeneous clusters with nodes dedicated to specific purposes.

3.4.4. Supported Hardware

Compute Nodes

OpenPOWER Compute Nodes;

  • S812LC
  • S821LC
  • S822LC (Minsky)
  • SuperMicro OpenPOWER servers

x86 Compute Nodes;

  • Lenovo x3550
  • Lenovo x3650

Many other x86 nodes should work, but we have only tested with Lenovo and some Supermicro nodes.


For information on adding additional switch support using PowerUp’s switch class API, (see Developer Guide)

Supported Switches;

  • Mellanox SX1410
  • Mellanox SX1710
  • Cisco 5K (FEXes supported)
  • Lenovo G8052, G7028, G7052 (bonding not currently supported)

Note Other Mellanox switches may work but have not been tested Lenovo G8264 has not been tested Other Cisco NX-OS based switches may work but have not been tested