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Rocks Cluster Distribution

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Rocks Cluster Distribution
DeveloperNational Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure, SDSC, UCSD
OS familyLinux (Unix-like)
Working stateActive
Source modelOpen source
Latest release7.0[1] Edit this on Wikidata (Manzanita) / 1 December 2017; 6 years ago (1 December 2017)
Available inEnglish
Kernel typeMonolithic (Linux)
Official websitewww.rocksclusters.org

Rocks Cluster Distribution (originally NPACI Rocks) is a Linux distribution intended for high-performance computing (HPC) clusters. It was started by National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure and the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) in 2000.[2] It was initially funded in part by an NSF grant (2000–07),[3] but was funded by the follow-up NSF grant through 2011.[4]


Rocks was initially based on the Red Hat Linux (RHL) distribution, however modern versions of Rocks were based on CentOS, with a modified Anaconda installer that simplifies mass installation onto many computers. Rocks includes many tools (such as Message Passing Interface (MPI)) which are not part of CentOS but are integral components that make a group of computers into a cluster.

Installations can be customized with additional software packages at install-time by using special user-supplied CDs (called "Roll CDs"). The "Rolls" extend the system by integrating seamlessly and automatically into the management and packaging mechanisms used by base software, greatly simplifying installation and configuration of large numbers of computers.[5] Over a dozen Rolls have been created, including the Sun Grid Engine (SGE) roll, the Condor roll, the Lustre roll, the Java roll, and the Ganglia roll.

By October 2010, Rocks was used for academic, government, and commercial organizations, employed in 1,376 clusters, on every continent except Antarctica.[6] The largest registered academic cluster, having 8632 CPUs, is GridKa,[7] operated by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Karlsruhe, Germany. There are also a number of clusters ranging down to fewer than 10 CPUs, representing the early stages in the construction of larger systems, as well as being used for courses in cluster design. This easy scalability was a major goal in the development of Rocks, both for the researchers involved,[2] and for the NSF:

Broader impact mirrors intellectual merit, and specifically lies in Rocks' new capabilities enabling management of very large clusters such as those emerging from the NSF Track 2 program, the ease of configuration of clusters supporting virtualization capabilities and generally the continuing effect of Rocks on installation and use of Linux clusters across NSF communities.

— SDCI: NMI: Improvement: The Rocks Cluster Toolkit and Extensions to Build User-Defined Cyberenvironments[4]

Release history[edit]

Release Date Rocks version CentOS version
Dec 2017 Rocks 7.0 CentOS 7.4
May 2015 Rocks 6.2 CentOS 6.6
Apr 2014 Rocks 6.1.1 CentOS 6.5
Nov 2012 Rocks 6.1 CentOS 6.3

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Rocks 7.0 is Released". 1 December 2017. Retrieved 17 November 2022.
  2. ^ a b "About Rocks Cluster". Rocks Cluster Distribution. Archived from the original on 2012-04-13. Retrieved 2010-10-10.
  3. ^ "Award Abstract #0438741 SCI: Delivering Cyberinfrastructure: From Vision to Reality". National Science Foundation. July 1, 2005. Retrieved 2007-08-05.
  4. ^ a b "Award Abstract #0721623 SDCI: NMI: Improvement: The Rocks Cluster Toolkit and Extensions to Build User-Defined Cyberenvironments". August 31, 2007. Retrieved June 6, 2013.
  5. ^ "SDSC Enhances Rocks Cluster Management Toolkit". Grid Today. February 16, 2004. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-08-05.
  6. ^ "Rocks Cluster Register". October 10, 2010. Archived from the original on October 24, 2014. Retrieved October 10, 2010.
  7. ^ "GridKa - Grid Computing Centre Karlsruhe". Archived from the original on 2011-07-19. Retrieved 2010-10-10.

External links[edit]