R2lab registration

Introduction

First of all, welcome to R2lab.

For the time being, R2lab’s operations rely on 2 separate websites:

  • Reservation Portal at https://r2lab.inria.fr : is the one used for daily operations, like getting a reservation, and live monitoring of nodes status. Since 2017 April, you can also manage your ssh keys from this site.

  • Register Portal at https://r2labapi.inria.fr : is the backend that manages accounts, so you will be requested to interact with this site only once, when requesting an account.

Both sites share the same email/password credentials.

Entry point

In order to register at r2lab:

  1. start from our Register Portal, and specifically the registration page (or click the Create an account link - fig 1, A - if you arrive from the home page).

  2. at that point just fill in the form, as shown below (fig 1, B).

  3. please pay special attention to the last field labeled Site, which should be selected as INRIA (fig 1, C), unless your organization appears in the list already.

  4. An email will be sent to confirm your subscription. At this point you are a limited user. To gain full access you must click the link present in the confirmation email, and wait for the manager in your organization to validate your request.

register
Fig. 1 - Register

From that point you can login into the Reservation Portal. However, you need a slice. Let's move to the next tab to create one.

You need a slice

A Slice is a set of testbed resources on which you can conduct an experiment. A slice is attached to one or several users who will all be granted access to the testbed during the reserved timeslot.

You can request a new slice by sending us an email to fit-r2lab-dev@inria.fr

Please make sure to mention

  • a desired slice name - the actual slicename will look like inria_thename_you_ask
  • a few lines of free text describing your experiment
  • a URL that points at that experiment - as far as possible - or at your research group if the experiment does not have a website.

While your slice is created, take that chance to upload your public SSH key so that we can grant you access. We explain how to do it in the next tab.

Uploading your SSH public key to R2lab

Before you can start using the R2lab testbed, you'll need to upload your SSH public key to R2lab. For this, let's follow 2 steps.

1 - Generating an RSA key pair

  • If you do not have a public key already, type in your terminal:

    $ ssh-keygen -t rsa

  • Once you have entered the ssh-keygen command, you will get a few more questions. To simplify, you can press enter and use the given default values.

  • The entire key generation process looks like this:

    register
    Fig. 2 - Generating a key pair

  • The public key is now located under your home directory in ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub

2 - Upload your public key

In order to send us your public key, point your browser at the r2lab website, then:

  • Log in your account using the email/password you already created;

  • Once inside your account, go to either the BOOK or RUN pages, and click the "slices & keys " link (fig 3, A), which will pop a dialog dedicated to managing your slices and keys. If your public key is not listed there, use the "Select public key file to add" button (fig 3, B) to choose the file that contains your public key, that will then be uploaded.

Please note:

  • if you are not familiar with ssh keys, please be careful to always select the public key; the private key, as its name clearly states, is not supposed to be uploaded anywhere;

  • in general, the key pair is located under a hide folder (../.ssh/). In the browser view, after click browse button , enable the hide file options view to find it;

  • under Windows, we have experienced issues when dealing with keys originating from the putty application; if this is your case we recommend that you generate another key pair with a more standard format.

    register
    Fig. 3 - Uploading your SSH key

Once this is done, you should see something like on fig. 4 below

register
Fig. 4 - An uploaded SSH key

You can then move to the next tab to book your slices in R2lab.

Make the reservation

In order to use R2lab, you must reserve the testbed. The right way to do this is using our Reservation Portal - UI. However, you must be logged in to see the reservation page.

Once in private area, just drag and drop the slice into the day calendar (fig. 5, A) - (fig. 5, B).

If you want dates in future, do the same action as described above but in the Reservation Portal - Calendar.

Other actions you can do in the calendar:

  • If you want to remove or cancel your booking, just use double click in the slice already booked;

  • if you want to move the slice booked, drag and move the slice;

  • if you want to increase or decrease in hours the duration of your slice, just click and drag in the tiny line placed on the botton of each slice.

    dashboard
    fig. 5 - Booking a slice in R2lab

When this is done, you can move to the next tab to access R2lab platform and run your tests.

The ssh agent

This step is optional, but worth reading for beginners.

When accessing R2lab, you will be authenticated through ssh. Your public key is installed and authorized on the R2lab end, and in order to establish that you are who you claim to be, you (i.e. your computer) will be challenged so as to prove that you can access the corresponding private key.

When multiple ssh connections are created, it is traditionally easier to run an ssh agent. The role of this software, that runs locally on your laptop, is to work as a cache of private keys, so that you only need enter the password for your private key once when you log in into your laptop, rather than each time an ssh session is created - which can happen a lot.

This is why, before you try to enter the R2lab gateway using your slice, we recommend that you add your ssh private key in your ssh agent, for example

# in order to list the keys currently loaded in the agent $ ssh-add -l # in order to add one $ ssh-add -K ~/.ssh/id_rsa

Your Unix account

The name that you need to use to enter the testbed using SSH is the name of the unix account that has been created for you. The name of this unix account is simply the slice name.

For example, in this tutorial we have used the following names:

  • slice name : inria_tutorial

  • unix account / full slice name: inria_tutorial

At this point you should reach R2lab platform typing in your terminal:

$ ssh inria_your_slice_name@faraday.inria.fr

if by any chance your public key is not at its standard location, and not known to your ssh agent, then place -i option in the command line to specify its path.

Once this command works for you, proceed to the next tutorial, where we see in more details the available tools for manipulating the nodes.

Problems?

Feel free to contact us on the R2lab users mailinglist fit-r2lab-users@inria.fr if you experience trouble with ssh-logging into the R2lab gateway at faraday.inria.fr, or with running your experiments, and/or none of those hints are helpful.