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Emulab FAQ: PlanetLab: Building binaries for PlanetLab

Emulab FAQ: PlanetLab: Building binaries for PlanetLab

As a service to the PlanetLab community, Emulab offers a disk image, which is suitable for building binaries to run on PlanetLab. This means that you can get a devbox (or more than one) whenever you want, set up within a few minutes. This image can also be used to help you run your PlanetLab app inside Emulab. If you do not already have an Emulab account, you can apply for one. We approve accounts for almost all academic researchers - if you have a PlanetLab account, you can almost certainly get an Emulab one.

As you've probably noticed, the PlanetLab nodes do not have a compiler installed on them. This is intentional - PlanetLab is intended for experimentation and deployment, not development. You need to compile your binaries somewhere else, and copy the binaries to PlanetLab. You could try to build binaries on your desktop Linux box, but unless you're running the same distribution as the PlanetLab nodes, you run the risk of shared library problems, and even potentially kernel ABI incompatabilities.

To assist in creating binaries we have created an image "PLAB-DEVBOX-v42" image which contains close to the same version RPMs that the production PlanetLab (as of October, 2008) is using and the same kernel. In addition it contains PlanetLab's Linux-Vserver RPMs so that you can create a slice. It also has all of the standard Emulab test node configuration, so you'll get your account, home directory, etc. In addition we provide two older images PLAB-DEVBOX-v40 which is based on PlanetLab 4.0. It has all of the PlanetLab software, a kernel based on the PlanetLab kernel, plus gcc and Java. And a legacy DevBox via the PLAB-DEVBOX-v3 image, which runs PlanetLab version 3.x software. Both these older images are based on the now disconnected official PlanetLab DevBox

If you're comfortable with NS, you can just create an NS file yourself that requests this image. Or, you can use our tool to automatically create an NS file for you.

Disclaimer for PLAB-DEVBOX-v40: The PlanetLab RESMAN tools for changing resource limits currently do not work. We are working with the PlanetLab support staff to get them up and running.

This image is considered "non-standard", meaning that our level of support for it is lower than what we provide for the "standard" Emulab images. Still, if you have any problems with it, let us know.