Command line access using a terminal

Preface

Do not run your jobs or heavy applications such as MATLAB or Mathematica on the login server. Please use an interactive session or job for all applications and scripts beyond basic terminals, editors, etc. The login servers are a shared, multi-user resource. For graphical applications please use VDI.

Please note: If you did not request cluster access when signing up, you will not be able to log into the cluster or login node as you have no home directory. You will simply be asked for your password over and over. See this doc for how to add cluster access as well as additional groups.

A Note On Shells for Advanced Users: The FASRC cluster uses BASH for the global environment. If you wish to use an alternate shell, please be aware that many things will not work as expected and we do not support or troubleshoot shell issues. We strongly encourage you to stick with BASH as your cluster shell. The module system assumes you are using bash.

Connecting via SSH

For command line access to the cluster, connect to login.rc.fas.harvard.edu using SSH (Secure SHell). If you are running Linux or Mac OSX, simply open a terminal and type ssh USERNAME@login.rc.fas.harvard.edu, where USERNAME is the name you were assigned when you received your account (example: jharvard – but not jharvard@fasrc, that is only necessary for VPN). If you are on Windows, see below for SSH client options.

Once connected, enter the password you set after receiving your account confirmation email. When prompted for the Verification code, use the current 6-digit OpenAuth token code.

ssh jharvard@login.rc.fas.harvard.edu

An image showing a terminal window logging into login.rc.fas.harvard.edu. The user enters password and openauth code (java openauth token generator shown overlaid on terminal window)

To avoid login issues, always supply your username in the ssh connection as above, since omitting this will cause your local login name at your terminal to be passed to the login nodes.

SSH Clients

MAC/LINUX/UNIX

If you’re using a Mac, the built-in Terminal application (in Applications -> Utilities) is very good, though there are replacements available (e.g. iTerm2). On Linux distributions, a terminal application is provided by default. For Linux users looking for the iTerm2-like experience, Tilix is popular option.

WINDOWS

If you’re using Windows, you will need to decide what tool to use to SSH to the cluster. Each app behaves differently, but includes some way to enter the server (login.rc.fas.harvard.edu) and select a protocol (SSH). Since there’s no one app and many are used by our community, some suggestions follow:

Git BASH

For Windows 10 users Git BASH (part oif Git for Windows) has become very popular. It brings not aonly a Git interface, but BASH shell intergration to Windows. You can find more info and download it from gitforwindows.org

PuTTY

PuTTy is a commonly used terminal tool. After a very simple download and install process, just run PuTTY and enter login.rc.fas.harvard.edu in the Host Name box. Just click the Open button and you will get the familiar password and verification code prompts. PuTTY also supports basic X11 forwarding.

MobaXterm

MobaXterm is a newer and quite popular client that provides numerous remote connection types, including SSH and X11. You can find out more and download it from mobaxterm.mobatek.net There is a free and a paid version and MobaXterm supports X11 forwarding.

SecureCRT

If you are a member of the FAS, you can download SecureCRT from the FAS Downloads page. You  must use a new version of SecureCRT, Version 8.4.x or higher, you cannot use older versions as they do not work with SSH2.

XMing (standalone)

XMing is an X11/X Windows application and is a bit more complex. But it’s mentioned here as we do have users who use it for connecting to the cluster. You can find more info at www.straightrunning.com

Once you’ve logged in successfully, see below for instructions about how to run jobs.
While we recommend PuTTy, HUIT (Harvard IT) also provides newer versions of SecureCRT (SSH) and SecureFX (SFTP). If you are in FAS and would like to try them, go to the HUIT download page (uses HarvardKey). Older versions of these programs will not work with modern SSH.

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