Connecting to Spear

This page describes how to connect to the RCC Spear cluster and how to use the features available.

Choosing a Node

All RCC users are can connect to our General Access spear nodes. You can connect to these at any time by using the hostname, spear-login.rcc.fsu.edu.

If you are a member of a group that has purchased additional Spear servers, you also have access to those, and must login via the specific hostname of your server(s): e.g. spear-19.rcc.fsu.edu.

For a complete list of Spear servers that you have access to, refer to list on the Account Management of this website.

Connection Options

There are several ways to connect to the Spear Servers:

  • Standard SSH Connection - Use this when you do not need to run any graphical programs, and only need to interact with your jobs via the terminal.
  • XPRA - Use this if you want to remotely run graphical applications, such as MATLAB or VND.
  • SSH with X11 Forwarding - Use this if you want to remotely run graphical applications, and network latency is not an issue, or xpra will not work for you.
  • SFTP/Globus - Use this for transferring files to and from the Lustre filesystem.

Standard SSH Connection

For terminal-based sessions, login to spear-login.rcc.fsu.edu or your specific Spear server:

# General Access Spear Servers
ssh USERNAME@spear-login.rcc.fsu.edu

# Specific Spear Server (e.g. spear-17)
ssh USERNAME@spear-17.rcc.fsu.edu

Refer to our SSH Guide for more details. Remember, if you are off-campus, you must also connect to the VPN Service.

XPRA Connection

On May 8, 2017, we replaced NoMachine connectivity with XPRA.  If you previously used NoMachine to connect to Spear, you should now use xpra instead.

XPRA is an open-source, multi-platform persistent remote display protocol forwarding applications and desktop screens.  XPRA allows you to connect graphically to our Spear systems and interact with programs such as Matlab, VMD, and other graphical utilities.  This is the recommended way to connect to Spear.

To use it, refer to our Comprehensive Guide for connecting to Spear with XPRA.

SSH with X11 Forwarding

In the case that XPRA is not appropriate or does not work, you can use a slower graphical connection over SSH with X11 Forwarding:

X11 Forwarding from Linux

Most Linux distributions include all of the necessary software to connect graphically to a remote host over SSH. Simpy add the -Y option to SSH when you connect:

# General Access Spear Servers
$ ssh -Y USERNAME@spear-login.rcc.fsu.edu

# Specific Spear Server (e.g. spear-17)
$ ssh -Y USERNAME@spear-17.rcc.fsu.edu

# Once connected to the Spear server...
-bash-4.1$ matlab

X11 Forwarding from Mac

If you wish to connect with X11 forwarding from Mac, you must first install an X11 server on your client. We recommend you download and install XQuartz. Once you have done this, open the Terminal app and follow the instructions provided above in the section, X11 Forwarding from Linux.

Note: If you are seeing the following error message, there is a workaround.  Refer to this explanation and solution:

X Error of failed request:  BadValue (integer parameter out of range for operation)

X11 Forwading from Windows

Setting up X11 forwarding in Windows requires several more steps, since Windows does not contain any native SSH or X11 libraries. To set this up, we refer you to the excellent X11 on Windows Guide provided by MIT. This guide uses free software, XMing.

A commercial alternative to Xming is MobaXTerm. If you choose to purchase and use MobaXTerm, you can simply follow the instructions provided above in the section, X11 Forwarding from Linux.