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Thread: How To: run multiple BIONC clients on one machine - not an app_info method

  1. #1
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    How To: run multiple BIONC clients on one machine - not an app_info method

    Whilst searching for a way to use app_info.xml, I came across how to run multiple boinc clients on one machine and manage the RPC connection. I'd thought I'd share what I found and how it's working out for me. The app_info method would not work for me, because the jobs keep changing and clearing out my WU queue. This method gets around that problem. Hope this helps someone out there!

    BOINC version I'm using for this: 7.0.26 x64 on Windows 7 Pro x64.


    Step 1.
    BOINC needs a place to keep its config for each running instance. So make a new BOINC directory for this new instance. The default BOINC data directory is C:\ProgramData\BOINC so something similar to that would be good. (EG: C:\ProgramData\BOINC_2). PS: the C:\ProgramData folder is a hidden folder. You can do this now by opening a cmd prompt and just copy/pasta this into it:
    Code:
    mkdir c:\programdata\boinc_2

    Step 2.
    Next is to get the new client's data directory populated with the configs.
    Hit Win+R and type CMD, a command prompt opens. Type (with the quotes, adjust your path if needed), or just copy/paste if your path's are default like mine:
    Code:
    "C:\Program Files"\BOINC\boinc.exe --allow_multiple_clients -dir c:\programdata\boinc_2
    Once it loads up you'll see a bunch of stuff happening, the data dir is now ready so hit Control C to break out.


    Step 3.
    Change the password in the gui_rpc_auth.cfg file which now resides in the new BOINC data directory.
    Code:
    notepad c:\ProgramData\boinc_2\gui_rpc_auth.cfg
    erase the temporary password, type in something easy to remember -> save the file.


    Step 4.
    Now to load up the second BOINC client and have it listen for a connection. From a command prompt open the new BOIC client and let it run. If you close it (by typing CTRL C) the client will shut down. Here is the command using the paths from above:
    Code:
    "C:\Program Files"\BOINC\boinc.exe --allow_multiple_clients -dir c:\programdata\boinc_2 -gui_rpc_port 9999
    The port above ^ can be whatever you want, but I recommend 9999 because it works for me!


    Step 5.
    Connecting to the new client with BOINC Manager.
    Just open your normal BOINC manager. I just double clicked mine in the task bar. Next, go to Advanced -> Launch another BOINC Manager. In the box for host name type
    Code:
    127.0.0.1:9999
    and in the password box, type in the password you chose in step 3.



    After all that work you should now have multiple BOINC clients running on one machine, and be able to manage them with separate GUI's. You can add a project to the new BOINC just the same way you normally would, and throttle CPU/GPU settings accordingly. Once again, I hope this helps you guys and saves some time. It took me a while to figure this all out and get it working, but now that I have it going I just invoke the multiple clients using a batch file that looks like this:
    Code:
    REM This starts the second instance of BOICN for multi GPU processing
    
    "C:\Program Files"\BOINC\boinc.exe --allow_multiple_clients -dir c:\programdata\boinc_2 -gui_rpc_port 9999
    
    pause
    Good luck and happy folding!
    Last edited by Vinas; 10-21-2012 at 05:50 AM.
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  2. #2
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    Thanks! This could come in handy if the app_files are going to give me problems.

    I have a few question though:

    1) How does BOINC split the work. Does each manager get half the CPU, or is that variable?
    I ask because you can not set BOINC to use cores anymore, but just percentages which does not work the same (I liked the old way the manager worked...). Also, if you want to run 3 GPU WU's at the same time, this could get difficult.
    Could you for example let 1 manager only run 1 GPU and several CPU WU's and the others managers just GPU?

    2) If you restart your machine, will the 2nd and 3rd etc manager start automatically?

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  3. #3
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    Some really good questions, unfortunately I don't know how BOINC decides to split up the work. What I do is set my CPU percentage according to how many gpu's I want to use. In this rig I have 2 gpu's so in each additional BOINC client I set them to use 25% CPU. I use 25% because I can do 8 threads, and I just want 2 to go towards the two GPU tasks for that BOINC client. The task time goes up a little bit, but now I'm doing three times the work (running three clients I do 6 GPU WU's).

    If you restart your machine you would need to automate the last step, which is to start the additional BOINC executables. I use batch files for that placed in my start menu. It's quick and dirty but the extra tasks won't start unless the machine is logged on. I'm sure there are better ways but that method works for me. I use auto logon (you can enable auto logon by opening the run box (WIN+R) and then typing control userpasswords2).
    Last edited by Vinas; 10-21-2012 at 06:54 AM.
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  4. #4
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    This is interesting. May have to try this out.

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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinas View Post
    Some really good questions, unfortunately I don't know how BOINC decides to split up the work. What I do is set my CPU percentage according to how many gpu's I want to use. In this rig I have 2 gpu's so in each additional BOINC client I set them to use 25% CPU. I use 25% because I can do 8 threads, and I just want 2 to go towards the two GPU tasks for that BOINC client. The task time goes up a little bit, but now I'm doing three times the work (running three clients I do 6 GPU WU's).

    If you restart your machine you would need to automate the last step, which is to start the additional BOINC executables. I use batch files for that placed in my start menu. It's quick and dirty but the extra tasks won't start unless the machine is logged on. I'm sure there are better ways but that method works for me. I use auto logon (you can enable auto logon by opening the run box (WIN+R) and then typing control userpasswords2).
    Thanks!

    For my own computer and dedicated crunching rigs this looks good, but for computer that I don't have excess to for weeks or are used by other people I would still like to see a more bulletproof way to set how much GPU/CPU you want to run. I hope BOINC will integrate those options in the manager at some time.

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  6. #6
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    The only issue I can see with this is the benchmark it performs. One client is going to perform its benchmark while the other is crunching which will hurt the scores.

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  7. #7
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    Scores are no longer based on benchmarks ... the "Credit New" system (I think it was part of server 7.x) moves all points stuff to the server based on prior rig ratings, other crunchers averages ... lots of stuff that I'm not so sure actually does a better job than the old methods. For example I have GPU and CPU Wus claiming anywhere from 26 to 54 points ... and there just isn't that much variation in HCC WUs, its the points that are screwy.

  8. #8
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    Oh ok. Well I got it up and running on my main rig like this and it seems to work well. Instead of setting CPU time I set the number of processors for it to use to 50% (I am running two clients). HCC GPU times are actually a little be less on average now which is odd but yay!

    Each instance gets its on ID though so you cant have one host ID with all those points accumulated.

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  9. #9
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    I had to do this to manage 2 GPU projects on one machine. For some reason a single BOINC client just cannot manage to time share properly with multiple GPU projects. I think in a future update it should be fixed (newest alpha seems to work but I won't try it yet).

    For anybody trying, you need to use 127.0.0.1:port instead of localhost:port, it took me couple hours to figure out why I couldn't connect to the second BOINC client that way! Very frustrating to say the least. Any questions I might be able to help answer but I didn't run this setup very long, but I had it running 2 clients on 3 different machines each.

    edit:

    to start the second boinc client I created a shortcut in my startup folder in the start menu with this command line:

    Code:
    "C:\Program Files\BOINC\boinc.exe" --allow_multiple_clients --dir F:\BOINC2 --gui_rpc_port 9876 --detach_console --redirectio
    if you make a shortcut instead of using a batch or cmd file you won't get the command line box, and the detach_console will get rid of the cmd box and allow you to use the second boinc mgr icon in the system tray. you would need to change the port used and the directory of the boinc client AND the second boinc directory! Yes it can get confusing
    Last edited by werdwerdus; 10-21-2012 at 06:58 PM.
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  10. #10
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    After having this work perfect on my main rig I set it up on my dedicated cruncher.

    However the second instance of boinc just got computation error on every WU it downloaded. :/

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  11. #11
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    This could be very useful for when someone asks for help getting a badge or something. Just throttle down BOINC on your account rather than aborting WUs.

    I'm almost always available on Steam to chat. Same username.

  12. #12
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    For anyone that can be forgetful, like me, I would like to suggest a simple way of keeping on top of BOINC itself.


    When installing BOINC create a new folder, for example on the C drive, called BOINC now open that folder and create another new folder BOINCDATA now install BOINC as usual except point the install at these two folders.

    I am thinking that this great method as described by Vinas would work very well using this method and just numerically incrementing the new folders for each instance, ie BOINC2, BOINCDATA2 etc.

    Doing things this way sure makes life a lot easier when looking for a particular file within any individual instance in future..... especially when you have a memory like mine.


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    OldChap, there is only 1 Boinc program folder installed. You run the same boinc.exe for all additional clients but the command line parameters start it in the other Data folders. So you only need multiple BOINCDATA folders.

    edit: you can't install boinc twice, if it's already installed and you try to install again it gives you the uninstall option
    Last edited by werdwerdus; 10-23-2012 at 10:46 AM.
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    Just tried this method and it's running on my Work PC doing 1 WU per client for 2 WU total on my 7770.

    I did the shortcut in the Startup folder, but I don't get a 2nd BOINC Mgr icon in the system tray.
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  15. #15
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    Yeah would be nice to figure out how to invoke another manager in the tray on startup

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  16. #16
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    Code:
    boincmgr.exe /s /n 127.0.0.1 /g 9999 /p boinc2 /m
    or

    Code:
    boincmgr.exe --systray --namehost=127.0.0.1 --gui_rpc_port=9999 --password=boinc2 --multiple
    replace 9999 with the port you used, and boinc2 with the password you used

    edit: just tested both and they both work
    Last edited by werdwerdus; 10-23-2012 at 12:17 PM.
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  17. #17
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    I just set that up and it worked! Thanks

    But the manager is still not linked in that when I close the manager it shuts down the service. How do I shut down extra boinc instances if I need to?

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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by werdwerdus View Post
    OldChap, there is only 1 Boinc program folder installed. You run the same boinc.exe for all additional clients but the command line parameters start it in the other Data folders. So you only need multiple BOINCDATA folders.

    edit: you can't install boinc twice, if it's already installed and you try to install again it gives you the uninstall option
    Thanks, missed that during my catching up a couple of days worth of posts


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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bun-Bun View Post
    I just set that up and it worked! Thanks

    But the manager is still not linked in that when I close the manager it shuts down the service. How do I shut down extra boinc instances if I need to?
    In the Boinc Manager: Advanced > Shut Down Connected Client
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  20. #20
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    Fancy that. It was right there all along.

    Now using boincmgr.exe /s /n 127.0.0.1 /g 9999 /p boinc2 /m as a startup shortcut the original instance barks

    boincmng.png

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  21. #21
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    Probably the startup shortcut is starting before the original boinc mgr is gettings started. I would try to disable the automatic starting boincmgr and just add a shortcut to start the original boincmgr in the same way as the 2nd one. Or use a batch file instead of a shortcut and add 10-15 seconds before starting the 2nd boinc mgr.

    you can add this to the top of a batch file to "pause" it for X seconds

    Code:
    @ECHO OFF
    ping localhost -n X >NUL
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  22. #22
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    I was thinking the same that it was the second one was starting before the first. Totally didn't think to bat it (and normally I am all over bat and startup scripts lol).

    Thanks again! I think I am just getting lazy and letting you figure it all out lol

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  23. #23
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    Except! Batch file creates a cmd window on execution. Here is my solution.

    Code:
    'Wait to start in ms
    WScript.sleep 5000
    
    'Variables
    Dim WshShell, oExec, cmd_1, cmd_2 
    Set WshShell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell") 
    
    'Boincmgr 
    cmd_1 =  "C:\Program Files\BOINC\boincmgr.exe" 
    cmd_2 = "/a /s /n 127.0.0.1 /g 9999 /p password /m" 
    boincmgr_cmd =  cmd_1 & " " & cmd_2
    
    'Execute
    Set oExec = WshShell.Exec(boincmgr_cmd)
    Save that as a vbs file in startup folder.

    But while I am at it we can launch everything from a single script!

    Code:
    'Variables
    Dim WshShell, oExec, boinc2_cmd, boincmgr2_cmd, cmd_a, cmd_b, cmd_1, cmd_2 
    Set WshShell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell") 
    
    'boinc2
    cmd_a = "C:\Program Files\BOINC\boinc.exe"
    cmd_b = "--allow_multiple_clients --dir C:\programdata\Boinc_2 --gui_rpc_port 9999 --detach_console --redirectio"
    boinc2_cmd = cmd_a & " " & cmd_b
    
    'boincmgr2 
    cmd_1 = "C:\Program Files\BOINC\boincmgr.exe" 
    cmd_2 = "/a /s /n 127.0.0.1 /g 9999 /p password /m" 
    boincmgr2_cmd =  cmd_1 & " " & cmd_2
    
    'Execute boinc
    Set oExec = WshShell.Exec(boinc2_cmd)
    
    'Wait to start in ms
    WScript.sleep 5000
    
    'Execute boincmgr
    Set oExec = WshShell.Exec(boincmgr2_cmd)
    And this scales with multiple instances way easier. Setting up 8 instances doesn't seem so bad now for movieman's LWG
    Last edited by Bun-Bun; 10-24-2012 at 08:33 AM.

    Yin|Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD5-B3|Swiftech XT -> GTX240 -> DDC+ w/ Petra's|2600K @ 5.0GHz @1.368V |4 x 4 GB G.Skill Eco DDR3-1600-8-8-8-24|Asus DirectCUII GTX670|120 GB Crucial M4|2 x 2 TB Seagate LP(Raid-0)|Plextor 755-SA|Auzentech Prelude 7.1|Seasonic M12-700|Lian-Li PC-6077B (Heavily Modded)

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  24. #24
    Xtreme Cruncher
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    NE Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,541
    How do get rid if this and go back to the app_info way? On the 2nd client I stopped new WU from coming, finished up WU I had, shut sown the client and closed the manager. What else needs to be done to undo this other than eventually deleting the 2nd BOINC folder?
    Home PC -- 24/7 Cruncher #1
    GA-P67A-UD4-B3 BIOS F8 mod, 2600k (L051B138) @ 4.5 GHz, 1.260v full load, Corsair H70 (Boots into Windows @ 5.6 GHz per Massman binning)
    Samsung Green 2x4GB @2133 C10, Gigabyte 7950 @1200/1250, Vertex 4 128GB, 4x3TB WD Red RAID10, BR Burner, Win7 Ult x64, CM690, HX750

    Work PC -- 24/7 Cruncher #2 ... Crucial M225 64GB SSD Donated to Endurance Testing (Died at 968 TB of writes...no that is not a typo!)
    GA-EP45T-UD3LR BIOS F10 modded, Q6600 G0 VID 1.212 (L731B536), 3.6 GHz 9x400 @ 1.312v full load, Zerotherm Zen FZ120
    OCZ 2x2GB DDR3-1600MHz C7, Sapphire 7870 @1100/1275, Crucial MX100 128GB, 2x500GB Hitachi RAID1, Win7 Ent x64, Centurion 590, XFX PRO650W

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    SB Server->SB Touch w/Android Tablet as a remote->S/PDIF->Denon AVR-X3300W->JBL Studio Series Floorstanding Speakers


  25. #25
    Xtreme Cruncher
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Saskatoon (Canada)
    Posts
    1,568
    Quote Originally Posted by bluestang View Post
    How do get rid if this and go back to the app_info way? On the 2nd client I stopped new WU from coming, finished up WU I had, shut sown the client and closed the manager. What else needs to be done to undo this other than eventually deleting the 2nd BOINC folder?
    That's it. But why would you ever want to do that?

    Yin|Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD5-B3|Swiftech XT -> GTX240 -> DDC+ w/ Petra's|2600K @ 5.0GHz @1.368V |4 x 4 GB G.Skill Eco DDR3-1600-8-8-8-24|Asus DirectCUII GTX670|120 GB Crucial M4|2 x 2 TB Seagate LP(Raid-0)|Plextor 755-SA|Auzentech Prelude 7.1|Seasonic M12-700|Lian-Li PC-6077B (Heavily Modded)

    Squire|Shuttle SD36G5M| R.I.P.

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