Configuring Service Nodes and Cluster Controllers

Once service processing or cluster controlling is enabled on a computer, the computer is advertised on the network as available to be used in a cluster.

Important: There can be only one cluster controller in a cluster. However, a computer can be designated as both a cluster controller and a service node (see Using One Computer to Serve Two Distributed Processing Roles).

Configuring Service Node Processing

Use the Apple Qmaster pane of System Preferences or Apple Qadministrator to set processing services on a computer.

To turn on processing services
  1. Open the Apple Qmaster pane of System Preferences.

  2. Optionally, you can configure a number of settings before you turn on the processing services. (See Scheduling Service Availability.)

    Note: It’s easiest to do this now because you can’t configure these settings when processing services are enabled. To configure these settings after services have been enabled, you need to turn off the services, configure the settings, and then turn the services on again.

  3. In the “Share this computer as” section, select one of the following buttons:

    • QuickCluster with services: Select this option to create an “instant” cluster with unmanaged services. (See About QuickClusters for more information.)
    • Services and cluster controller: Select this option to build a cluster in Apple Qadministrator. (See Creating Clusters with Apple Qadministrator for more information.)
    • Services only: Select this option to make this computer a service node only. Service nodes perform the processing of batches. They can be included in QuickClusters or in managed clusters. (See Managed vs. Unmanaged Services for more information.)
  4. In the Services section, do one of the following:

    • For Compressor services: In the Share column, select the checkbox for Compressor Processing.
    • For Apple Qmaster services: In the Share column, select the checkbox for Rendering.
  5. Click Start Sharing.

The processing service is enabled, making this computer a service node that can process batches.

Figure. Apple Qmaster pane of System Preferences with the processing service enabled.

Options in the Apple Qmaster Pane of System Preferences

You can configure any of the following settings before you turn on processing services. (Changing any of the following settings requires that processing services be turned off.) For a complete list of the options and settings in the Apple Qmaster pane of System Preferences, see About Basic Settings in the Apple Qmaster Preferences Pane and About Advanced Settings in the Apple Qmaster Preferences Pane.

Setting the Name

By default, a computer is identified on the network by its computer name (as it is entered in the Sharing pane in System Preferences). You can change this name to something more meaningful if you like, since it is the name used to identify this computer in the Apple Qmaster distributed processing system. If you are setting up a QuickCluster, this is the name that will appear in the Compressor Cluster pop-up menu or the Apple Qmaster Submit To pop-up menu. If you are setting up a managed cluster controller, this is the name that will appear in the Apple Qadministrator Controller pop-up menu.

To enter a name for a QuickCluster
  • Enter the new name for the cluster in the “Identify this QuickCluster as” field.

To enter a name for a cluster controller for use with Apple Qadministrator
  1. Click Advanced to open the Advanced pane.

  2. Enter the new name in the “Identify this computer to Apple Qadministrator as” field.

Unmanaged Services

You can enable unmanaged services for a QuickCluster. For more information, see Managed vs. Unmanaged Services.

Setting the Password

To add a password requirement, select the “Require password” checkbox.

  • If you are setting up a QuickCluster: Other users will be required to enter this password before being allowed to submit requests to this computer.
  • If you are setting up a cluster to use with Apple Qadministrator: An administrator will be required to enter this password before being allowed to add this computer to a cluster.

For more information, see Setting Passwords. (If you configure the computer as both a cluster controller and a service node, this password is used for both.)

Setting Cluster Storage

You can change the default scratch storage location for processing that occurs on this computer in the Advanced pane. For more information, see Using Cluster Storage.

Service Node Status Indicator in the Menu Bar

By default, once a service node is enabled, an Apple Qmaster icon appears in the computer’s menu bar. The icon now changes color based on the service node’s current status:

  • Gray: Idle
  • Green: Processing
  • Red: Connection failure
    Figure. Menu bar with service node status indicator.

Click the icon to reveal additional information, including the service node’s IP address, port number, and capture status, as well as a link to the Apple Qmaster pane of System Preferences.

Figure. Service node status pull-down menu.
To show the service node status indicator in the menu bar
  1. Open the Apple Qmaster pane of System Preferences.

  2. Click Advanced to open the Advanced pane.

  3. Select the “Show Qmaster service status in menu bar” checkbox.

Managed vs. Unmanaged Services

You have flexibility in how you build clusters for distributed processing with Compressor or Apple Qmaster. When you turn on processing services (see Turning Cluster Controller Services On or Off), you can choose to make them either managed services or unmanaged services (the default).

Figure. Services section in the Apple Qmaster pane of System Preferences.

Managed Services

Managed services can be assigned to serve one particular cluster controller. Once assigned, managed services remain exclusively dedicated to that cluster until they are removed with the Apple Qadministrator application. QuickClusters cannot use managed services from other nodes, except in the case of extended node clusters. For more information, see Modifying and Deleting Clusters with Apple Qadministrator. See the Apple Qmaster User Manual for more information on extended node clusters.

Unmanaged Services

Unmanaged services automatically assign themselves to the first available QuickCluster with enabled unmanaged service support. QuickClusters listen for unmanaged service advertisements and may mark or remember any of them for later use. A QuickCluster can use any available unmanaged service on the same local network (subnet). An unmanaged service remains dedicated to its QuickCluster only long enough to finish the current job. Once the current job is complete, an unmanaged service is once again a “free agent” and advertises its availability to all QuickClusters.

Note: Managed clusters (those created with Apple Qadministrator) can also use unmanaged services. When unmanaged service support is enabled on a managed cluster, the cluster automatically adds any available unmanaged services in addition to its managed services (that were explicitly added using Apple Qadministrator).

Enabling Unmanaged Services on QuickClusters

Follow these steps to enable unmanaged services on QuickClusters.

To enable unmanaged services on QuickClusters
  1. Open the Apple Qmaster pane of System Preferences.

  2. Select the “QuickCluster with services” button to create a QuickCluster.

  3. Select “Include unmanaged services from other computers.”

    Figure. QuickCluster section in the Apple Qmaster pane of System Preferences.
  4. Click Start Sharing.

For more information on creating QuickClusters, see Getting Started Quickly and About QuickClusters.

Enabling Unmanaged Services on Managed Clusters

Follow these steps to enable unmanaged services on managed clusters.

To enable unmanaged services on managed clusters
  1. In Apple Qadministrator, select a cluster in the Cluster list, or click the Add (+) button to add a new cluster.

  2. Select “Allow use of unmanaged services.”

For more information on creating managed clusters, see Creating Clusters with Apple Qadministrator.

Managing Processing Services

Follow the instructions below to manage the processing services on a computer in a cluster.

Note: If processing services are enabled, you must turn them off before you can adjust the processing service type.

To set managed processing services
  1. Open the Apple Qmaster pane of System Preferences.

  2. Select the checkbox in the Managed column.

To set unmanaged processing services
  1. Open the Apple Qmaster pane of System Preferences.

  2. Deselect the checkbox in the Managed column.

To turn off processing services
  1. In the Apple Qmaster pane of System Preferences, click Stop Sharing.

  2. In the dialog that appears, enter the number of minutes you want processing services to continue before shutting down, then click OK.

    Figure. Dialog stating "There may be users connected to this machine. How many minutes until service is turned off?"

    The default is 0 minutes, but you can enter a different number in the field. If you enter any number greater than 0, a countdown appears next to the Cancel button. The shutdown delay is provided as a way to allow computers to complete the processing of active batches without interruption.

  3. In the Services section, do one of the following:

    • To turn off Compressor services: Deselect the On checkbox for Compressor Processing.
    • To turn off Apple Qmaster services: Deselect the On checkbox for Rendering.

Turning Cluster Controller Services On or Off

Use the Services pane in the Apple Qmaster pane of System Preferences to turn the cluster controller on or off on a specific computer.

To turn on cluster controller services
  1. Open the Apple Qmaster pane of System Preferences.

  2. Optionally, you can configure a number of settings before you turn on the processing services. (See Scheduling Service Availability.)

    Note: It’s easiest to do this now because you can’t configure these settings when processing services are enabled. To configure these settings after services have been enabled, you need to turn off the services, configure the settings, and then turn the services on again.

  3. In the “Share this computer as” section, select one of the following buttons:

    • QuickCluster with services: Select this option to create an “instant” cluster with unmanaged services.
    • Services and cluster controller: Select this option to build a cluster in Apple Qadministrator. (See Creating Clusters with Apple Qadministrator for more information.)

    Also see Managed vs. Unmanaged Services for more information.

  4. In the Share column, select the checkbox.

  5. Click Start Sharing.

    The cluster is enabled, making this computer a cluster controller.

To turn off cluster controller services
  1. Open the Apple Qmaster pane of System Preferences.

  2. Click Stop Sharing.

  3. In the dialog that appears, enter the number of minutes you want controller services to continue before shutting down, then click OK.

    The default is 0 minutes, but you can enter a different number in the field. If you enter any number greater than 0, a countdown appears next to the Cancel button. The shutdown delay is provided as a way to allow computers to complete the processing of active batches without interruption. No new cluster connections are allowed to occur as the cluster controller is shutting down.

    Note: Optionally, you can turn off the controller and just make the node a service node. To do this, select “Services only” in the “Share this computer as” section.

Using Virtual Clusters to Make the Most of Multiprocessor Computers

If any of the service node computers in your network have multiple processors, you can adjust the number of instances of a processing service, essentially creating virtual clusters on individual computers. For processor-intensive work, having many instances may increase speed and efficiency, depending on the processing application.

Note: By default, the Apple Qmaster system creates one Rendering service instance for each processor. Rendering services are for Shake (with Apple Qmaster), Autodesk Maya, and other UNIX command-line programs, as opposed to Compressor services, which are solely for Compressor distributed processing. Consult the documentation that came with the application to see if using each processor individually is ideal.

To change the number of instances of processing services on a computer
  1. Open the Apple Qmaster pane of System Preferences.

  2. Select the Compressor or Rendering service in the Services section.

  3. Select “Options for selected service.”

  4. In the dialog that appears, choose the number of instances from the pop-up menu.

    Figure. "Number of Instances" pop-up menu.
  5. Click OK.

  6. In the Services section, select the Share checkbox for the service.

    Note: The Service Options dialog is also used to add extended nodes to a cluster, as described in the Apple Qmaster User Manual.