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Old May 12, 2010, 08:24 PM
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Default How To: VMware & Bigadv Folding

VMware 3.0 && bigadv folding

Credits in this guide belongs to linuxrouter from the EVGA Folding@Home team. I have asked linuxrouter in the past whether I could copy and paste his guide and he was fine, so I'm doing this again.

I decided to create this thread because there seems to be lots of people asking how to do -bigadv folding. Plus a quick didn't show a guide here so here it is. If there is a thread that already exists, mods please merge them or delete this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by linuxrouter

This thread is dedicated to folding bigadv in VMware. Below are screenshots of bigadv folding in VMware using an i7 920 @ 3.8 GHz and XP x64.

7-core bigadv folding
8-core bigadv folding (v1.0)

There are examples of systems, PPD, and bonus points at this forum thread:

Folding Forum • View topic - Top -bigadv systems

To calculate bonus points and PPD based on TPF, go here:

Bigadv Bonus Point Calculator
SMP2 Bonus Point Calculator

Leaving one core unused is probably not the worst idea if GPU folding at the same time. This leaves a virtual core over for the GPU clients and other system resources.

Image and instructions

As requested, I have compressed a copy of my Linux image consisting of the necessary fah client. This image is for bigadv units and the bigadv folding requires an i7 or dual socket setup consisting of 8 or more cores. At least 6GB total memory is necessary. The bigadv Windows VMware folding is experimental and stability is unknown. Make sure your system, CPU, and memory are completely stable and all temps under load are normal before trying out these bigadv units. Also make sure your operating system has enough available resources including memory. This can be checked in Windows task manager. This image can also be used to run the regular 1920 pt Core A2 work units.

VMware Images


Torrent files (Thanks to leexgx @ foldingforum for creating these torrent files and to tear @ foldingforum for seeding)

Native and VMware IMG files for FOlding@home SMP folding

Linux FAH Image v1.2 - Includes folding client 6.29
Mirror 1 (7z)
Mirror 1 (Zip)

Linux FAH Image v1.1 - Includes folding client 6.29
Mirror 1
Mirror 2

Thanks to wb488641 and braindancer for providing file mirror locations. Thanks to gotspeed for making the torrent. Thank you to CBT over at foldingforum.org for mirroring the v1.1 image file.

Development VMware Image

Linux FAH Image - Dev (Last Updated 04-22-10)

VMWare Player Download

VMWare Player 3.0

Backup scripts
Folding backup scripts provided by TheCrazyCanuck (see further down the thread for more info)

Folding Backup Scripts
Folding Backup Questions Link

Thanks to Shane @ EVGA for hosting the file and thanks to TheCrazyCanuck for spending the time writing the backup scripts and instructions.

Utilities

Qfix - Linux 64-bit build - Source (Link 1 - Link 2)

7-Zip offers much better compression options than using Zip. The compression program can be found here:

7-zip

Linux FAH Image ChangeLog

Native Linux Disk Image

I have been working on a beta raw disk image for folding in a native Linux environment. The image can be written to a hard disk. The link below has more information and consists of a bootable install CD that includes the raw disk image and the raw disk image by itself in several compressed formats.

Native Folding

Installation

SimC33 put together a guide with images of the setup configuration including command line configuration. His guide can be found here:

Guide to DLing/Installing/Running the -BIGADV on Windows *Pics Included*



1) Enabled VT in BIOS and install VMWare Player 3.0 with the default options. Version 3.0.1 is limited to 4-cores. Make sure to use version 3.0 for 8-core support.

2) Download and uncompress the image. Put the file anywhere you like as long as there is at least 8GB free storage.

3) Startup VMWare Player.

4) Click Open a Virtual Machine on the right-side of the VMware window. Here is a screenshot:



5) Go to the location where you put the image and double click on the Linux64_FAH.vmx file. In you decide to edit the vmx file, make sure to leave the number of CPUs at 8 otherwise you will not be able to get bigadv work. Double click on the name "Linux64_FAH" to start the virtual machine.

6) The following screenshot shows where to grab the web address from the virtual machine console highlighted in white.



Enter that web address to setup the client. The following screenshot shows a base set of options to select to get up and running with bigadv. Enter your Username and team. Enter your passkey if you plan to run bigadv. Set either 7 or 8 cores depending on your preference. The number of penguins on the top of the window indicates how many CPU processors the virtual machine has detected.

Get a passkey here




Click the Help button to review what the other options do. The rest of the options are optional. Click Submit and the system will reboot automatically if you have the Reboot on Submit option checked. After reboot, the folding client will be up and running and will begin to download a new work unit.

7) To setup folding progress monitoring via HFM.net, follow the instructions provided by the virtual machine. The instructions are highlighted in blue. Here is a screenshot as an example based on those instructions:



Notes:

If you plan to start the client via the console and plan not to use the web configuration, you can disable the web service with this command:

web disable

To login via console 3-6:

Login: fah
Password: fah1234

Additional Information and Configuration Options


Bonus point requirements

1) At least 10 Core A3 or Bigadv A2 work units must be completed before qualifying for bonus points.
2) At least 80% of Core A2/A3 work units must be completed by the preferred deadline.
3) A passkey must be used.
4) One other requirements are met, the bigadv work units must be completed by the preferred deadline.


GNU License

The Linux image software is covered under the GNU General Public License Version 2

Folding backup scripts and instructions provided by TheCrazyCanuck

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheCrazyCanuck


These files will allow you to backup your FAH contents to your Windows machine every hour. Those of you who have real servers to backup files just tweak the username, password, and location accordingly. These files also take care of backing up the ramdrive if you happen to use it. The reason why you would want to backup every hour is because if the FAH client restarts early then you might loose days worth of work that is either not backed up or has been backed up and replaced by another backup.

The hourly backups also resync the clock just in case it was drifting over time. I give you the option of starting up the client with a RAM disk using what Linuxrouter has provided and I give you instructions on how you can retain those contents since they are volatile.

*Disclaimer: I expect anyone who uses this to read the instructions and not complain to me if they loose a WU because they were too lazy to follow instructions. I also take no responsibility for anything you manage to bugger up on the host or VM.*
View original IP configuration information

If you missed the original configuration information including the IP address, FahMon setup, and web configuration address, then you can run this command to see that information again:

info

Shutting down or restarting

To shutdown the virtual machine, run this command:

shutdown -h now

To reboot the virtual machine, run this command:

reboot

Multiple Consoles

The image supports opening multiple consoles at once (max 6). Simply hit ALT+F2 through F6 and login. Then you can run other commands while folding at the same time.


Troubleshooting

Solution for client error "Could not connect to Primary Assignment Server for ID" (Credit to pgmoney for solution)

The virtual machine needs an IP on the network in order to access the Internet and the folding servers. If on startup the IP is missing in the notification, then this configuration change may give the virtual machine access to the network.

1) Open VMWare and select Linux64_FAH but do not start the virtual machine
2) Click "Edit virtual machine settings"
3) Click on Network Adapter
4) Change Network Connection from Bridged to NAT
5) Click OK and start the virtual machine

Moving the Virtual Machine

If you move the virtual machine and find that you cannot get the network connection to come up again, this should fix the issue:

rm /etc/udev/rules.d/70-persistent-net.rules
reboot

Advanced Options


SSH / Screen Session Setup (Optional)

For those familiar with SSH, there is also the option to access the virtual machine and FAH client remotely.

Only do this if you are familiar with SSH and feel that your network is adequately secure.

To enable SSH:

chmod 755 /etc/rc.d/rc.sshd; /etc/rc.d/rc.sshd start

You can now SSH into the virtual machine using the fah login. Make sure your network is secure first. I would highly recommend setting a new password for the fah account to something more secure using the command: passwd fah. Alternatively, setup a key pair. Use your favorite SSH client. I use Putty in Windows and OpenSSH in Linux.

Setup a screen session:

screen -R -D -S fah

Startup FAH:

./fah6 -bigadv -smp 7

Detach from screen session:

CTRL A + D

Reconnect to the screen session at a later time:

screen -rx fah

Using this method you can login to your virtual machine from another system on the same network or from another site if your network is configured for remote access (VPN) and then join into the screen session again to monitor your FAH client.

Ramdisk (v0.4 or greater)

v0.4 has support for setting up a Ramdisk. There is a script called buildramfs that you can run to set up the Ramdisk. This script creates a Ramdisk with a default size of 750000K to accommodate the bigadv work files. It also automatically copies the files from the work folder and mounts the Ramdisk to the work folder. You will need at least 500MB of available memory and allocated to the virtual machine for these files. The Ramdisk does grow and uses in memory what it needs up to the file system size. The script takes one argument of size where you can specify another size instead of the default 750000K.

Only do this if you have the available memory, have an adequate backup plan, and feel comfortable working with Linux. You will want to backup your files somewhere. These are several options you might consider:

1) Setup a batch file in Windows that copies the work folder and queue.dat file to the host OS on a scheduled time interval using scheduled tasks.
2) Mount a Windows shared folder in Linux using CIFS and copy the files to the Windows shared folder using a Cronjob.
3) Copy the files to a location on the Linux file system of your choosing using a Cronjob.
4) Copy the files manually.

Change the resolution for the virtual machine

The default resolution is 1024x768x16 for the virtual machine. To change the resolution, on first boot when the red LILO bootloader shows up, hit the tab key. You only have 3-seconds to hit the tab key. The following is an example how to change the resolution:

2.6.33-intel vga=0x340

Other options to enter after vga=: normal - lowest resolution
0x340 - 800x600x32
0x344 - 1280x1024x32
0x346 - 1600x1200x32
0x355 - 2048x1536x32
ask - show all available resolutions

Old Forum Thread

Link to old forum thread
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Last edited by geokilla; May 27, 2010 at 06:01 PM.
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Old May 12, 2010, 08:26 PM
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FAQ - Work In Progress

Lately, there seems to be a problem where -bigadv folders are getting on SMP2 (A3) WUs. Forum member 10e found a fix so here it is. I have no way to verify whether this works or not as I don't run VMware folding. However it seems that this does indeed work. I suggest you backup your folding image first before you make any changes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 10e View Post
I've just gone into the VM and hit CTRL-C to stop the client, waited a few minutes and then restarted it with the -oneunit flag.

Haven't had an issue with losing a work unit that way.

I switched back my 3.9Ghz machine (now at 4.1Ghz) to Bigadv because it's gonna finish in less than two days, so it should hit under the time period for us to be done. I have two more coming today (hopefully), and two other boxes that are doing SMP2 right now...


I found out why my BigAdv machine was getting all A3s though. Apparently, if you get an A3 due to some assignment server issues recently, it will continue to get A3s for that particular machine ID.

This shouldn't happen because, as 7im, the horny self-loving folding forum guy said "The Bigadv flag takes precedence over -advmethods". I then found another post by a user P5-133XL where he mentioned you need to change the machine ID if that particular Machine ID has been receiving A3 SMP units, even if you've deleted the FahCore_A3.exe core file, work directory and queue.dat file.

So what I did was restarted the BigAdv VM with the -oneunit flag to finish the A3. I then removed the queue.dat, work directory, and FahCore_A3.exe file. I then restarted the BigAdv client with the -config flag by typing

./fah6 -config

Once this started I went into Advanced options by hitting return 5 or 6 times and answered "yes" to changing Advanced options, and then changed the Machine ID to 2, and it then went and got a BigAdv unit.

Hopefully they won't have assignment server issues like this in the near future. How nice this happened during the CC.

Go Beavers!
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Last edited by geokilla; May 13, 2010 at 02:08 PM.
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Old May 13, 2010, 09:42 AM
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im running this since 2 months and work great. But i read that very soon, we will able fold bigunit without using the VMplayer,
we could Bigadv with the smp client only (6.29).
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Old May 13, 2010, 02:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpine View Post
im running this since 2 months and work great. But i read that very soon, we will able fold bigunit without using the VMplayer,
we could Bigadv with the smp client only (6.29).
Really? Where do you see that? I know we can run SMP2 WU without the -advmethods flag soon.
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Old May 13, 2010, 04:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpine View Post
im running this since 2 months and work great. But i read that very soon, we will able fold bigunit without using the VMplayer,
we could Bigadv with the smp client only (6.29).
-bigadv has required 6.29 since 6.29 was first released. linuxrouter's VM was updated with 6.29 quite some time ago, so there's nothing to worry about there.
Quote:
Originally Posted by geokilla View Post
Really? Where do you see that? I know we can run SMP2 WU without the -advmethods flag soon.
The -advmethods flag hasn't been necessary for running A3 units in a while.
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Old May 25, 2010, 09:09 PM
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Sorry guys. Haven't been able to update this. Won't be able to either, so I request that the folders here help me keep this up to date.

It is possible to run -bigadv folding on SMP2 (A3) clients. However, it has been reported that they run considerably slower than their SMP (A2 core) counterparts.
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Old August 6, 2012, 08:36 AM
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As promised in August 2011, there will be no Big Advantage wu's for machines with less than 16 cores. That wu designation shift happened last week so now we be slammin down the regular smp wus.
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Old October 3, 2012, 03:16 PM
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but will this method for my opteron folding machine?
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Old November 30, 2012, 11:24 AM
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Is there anyone folding bigadv in a VM at the moment? How well would 16+ threads scale in vbox? I've got an E5-2660 xeon build that I'm getting together in a couple weeks and hope to get it crunching big wu's as well as a 660Ti.
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Old December 1, 2012, 09:26 PM
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I am not even sure a E5-2660 will finish the bigger bigadv units before the deadline. I know I couldn't w/ a 2.5GHz 8-core LGA2011 Xeon. This was w/ VirtualBox.
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