Installing BOINC on EC2

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BOINC can be fairly easily deployed on an instance of Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). You must sign up for an Amazon Web Services account with a credit card, and then you are charged monthly based on how much you use the EC2 service and what type of instance you're running. This article covers the information needed to install and run a BOINC client host on Amazon's EC2. I f you would like to run a BOINC Project Server, see the Cloud Server article.

Setting up an EC2 Instance

There are (basically) two ways to setup BOINC on EC2. The first is to use a pre-built Community AMI that comes with the BOINC client installed. All you need to do is attach to a project or account manager and crunch away. The disadvantages of this approach are that, at the time of this writing, the only Community AMI built for BOINC is based on BOINC version 5.4.11, and is only available in 32-bit mode.

Starting with a generic AMI would allow you to use a newer version of the BOINC client as well as run in 64-bit mode. The disadvantage of this apporoach would be that you need to install and configure BOINC in addition to setting up the EC2 instance.

Using a pre-built BOINC AMI

  • Amusing that you've already signed up for an Amazon Web Services account, go to the EC2 dashboard and click on "Launch Instances"
  • The first step is to choose an AMI. Click on the "Community AMIs" tab and search for BOINC
  • Select a suitable AMI (eg. "boinc-debian-etch/boinc-debian-etch.manifest.xml")
  • Now you may select the number of instances you would like to run (We'll keep things simple and just say "1")
  • Choose an instance type (as BOINC is quite CPU intensive, it would be wise to select "High-CPU Medium" even though it costs a little more.")
  • If you have not yet created a "Key Pair," you will need to create one now. Be sure to save your key, as you will need it to login.
  • Finally, you should be able to "Launch Instance"
  • It will take a while for your instance to set up (~5 minutes), so wait a few minutes before clicking the "Refresh" button in the upper right corner of the "My Instances" dashboard
  • Once the status reports "Running" select the instance and click the "Connect" button in the toolbar
  • Follow the instructions to SSH into your instance using your favorite terminal program. (You will need the key you generated earlier!)
  • Continue to "Controlling the BOINC Client"

Using a generic AMI

  • Assuming that you've already signed up for an Amazon Web Services account, go to the EC2 dashboard and click on "Launch Instances"
  • The first step is to choose an AMI. Click on the "Community AMIs" tab and search for BOINC
  • Select a suitable Linux AMI, preferably using a distribution that you are familiar with
  • Now you may select the number of instances you would like to run (We'll keep things simple and just say "1")
  • Choose an instance type (as BOINC is quite CPU intensive, it would be wise to select the highest avalible option (eg. "High-CPU Extra Large") even though it costs more.")
  • If you have not yet created a "Key Pair," you will need to create one now. Be sure to save your key, as you will need it to login.
  • Finally, you should be able to "Launch Instance"
  • It will take a while for your instance to set up (~5 minutes), so wait a few minutes before clicking the "Refresh" button in the upper right corner of the "My Instances" dashboard
  • Once the status reports "Running" select the instance and click the "Connect" button in the toolbar
  • Follow the instructions to SSH into your instance using your favorite terminal program. (You will need the key you generated earlier!)
  • Follow the instructions for installing on Linux to get BOINC up and running on your instance
  • Continue to "Controlling the BOINC Client"

Controlling the BOINC Client

  • Once you are logged in, you can attach to projects or an account manager, as well as control the BOINC client with the Boinccmd tool