SBGrid installation

The SBGrid software collection can be installed on Linux and macOS from laptops to compute clusters. Often, in a shared computing environment, it is desirable to install the entire collection as a managed, self-updating software stack. We refer to this installation mode as a site install. Site installations include all the software licensed by a site and can be updated automatically.


The SBGrid Software Suite can be installed on a single computer at your site and shared via a network filesystem (NFS) with the workstations or compute nodes on your network. We refer to this computer as the site "master" server.

The master server will require at least 2Tb of free disk space, case-sensitive file system strongly recommended. This machine and must run some variety of UNIX (Linux, macOS, FreeBSD, etc). The installation script will download the software branches you select, and install a cron job that will run regularly to check for updates.

Software installation and update are initiated from your local server at your site and downloaded from our servers. http is used to query our servers to check for update, and rsync is used to download the updates. Outbound HTTP, and RSYNC is necessary.

NOTE - for Linux and macOS, the sbgrid-cli utility should be used to install and manage an installation. This approach has a number of benefits over the script-based install below and is available for Linux and macOS only. See the sbgrid-cli recommened installation page for more information

NFS-based installation


Installation Requirements
Hard Drive Space ~2 Tb recommended for full installation (all titles and versions for mac & linux
Operating System Linux, macOS / OS X
Privileges Administrator account needed only to create install path (/programs)
Network Outbound https, rsync (ports 443 and 873 or 8080)

Approximate size per Branch

Branch size
i386-mac ~500 Gb
x86_64-linux ~1.4 Tb
shared files ~30 Gb

Size breakdown of titles in a typical installation

Email to request the installation script for the software. Be sure to include the following information in your email:

* Lab Name
* Types of computers on site: Linux, OS X Intel
* The names and email addresses of lab members that will use the software. One user may be designated to receive the majority of our correspondence if you would prefer not to hear from us too often.

Once the email has been received and your information has been entered into our system, we will email you a script you will run that will begin the remote installation process. Instructions for running the script will be included in that email, and are reproduced below for reference.


As state above, the sbgrid-cli utility should be used to install and manage an installation. This approach has a number of benefits over the script-based install. See the sbgrid-cli recommened installation page for more information. A site installation can also be performed using the sbgrid-admin script : sbgrid-admin utility. This approach is currently supported but will be deprecated in the future.

  1. Create an 'sbgrid' user on the machine that will host your software installation. This should be a normal, unprivileged user account.
  2. Log in as this 'sbgrid' user.
  3. Download the installation script from the URL provided in the account creation email.
  4. Make it executable: chmod +x sbgrid-admin
  5. Run the script: ./sbgrid-admin -i
  6. The script will walk you through configuring your installation, downloading the software and installing a cron job that will keep the software updated at your site. You will need the site name and install key provided in the account creation email. The installation may take anywhere from several hours to a day, depending on your network and the number of applications available to your site.

Post-Installation Steps

  1. Add a symlink in the root directory of each machine that wants to use the software. The installation script will print the suggested syntax for the command.ln -s /path/to/sbgrid/installation /programs
  2. Any user that wishes to use the software needs to configure their shell to initialize the SBGrid shell environment. For bash and other sh-compliant shells, add the following line to your ~/.bash_profile or ~/.bashrc: . /programs/sbgrid.shrc For csh and tcsh, add the following line to your ~/.cshrc: source /programs/sbgrid.cshrc
  3. For some linux distributions, the shipped version of tcsh does not support shell variables longer than 4096 characters. Since the current PATH in our default shell initialization is larger than that, you will need to update tcsh. RPMs for Red Hat 4/5 and CentOS 4/5 are provided at /programs/i386-linux/system/RPMS.

SGI IRIX Software Branch

Since the IRIX software branch is frozen and no longer receiving updates, it is not installed and updated in the same manner as the active software branches. If you would like access to SGI IRIX softare, please let us know at Also note that the IRIX branch is only compatible with tcsh; there is no sh-compatible configuration for this branch.