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Omni Tutorial


  1. Download and install VirtualBox on your machine, we have tested versions 4.1.12
    • If your computer runs Ubuntu 10.04 which comes with VirtualBox 3.1.6_OSE, please download the latest version of VirtualBox.
  2. Download the VM image
  3. Run VirtualBox and Import Appliance (File->Import Appliance), accept the default settings for the VM.
    • If you are using a FAT32 filesystem you will NOT be able to load the image.
  4. Start the VM and log in
  5. Change the default password, on the task bar on the top, click on the right on the user 'geni', and choose the Change Password button.
  6. Verify that the VM has connectivity. Start Firefox (shortcut on the top bar) and try to load Google. If you can't reach any website, restore VM's Network connection.
    • On the far right on the top bar, there is the network icon (two opposite facing arrows).
    • Click that icon and choose 'Auto eth0'.
    • Try loading the webpage again.

Useful Tips

  • You can copy-paste between the host and the guest VM.
  • In the terminal within the VM, use Ctrl-Shift-C to copy and Ctrl-Shift-V to paste.
  • vim and emacs editors are installed on the VM, so feel free to use them for editing your files.
  • To replace a pattern within the file:
    • If you are using vim, while in command mode, type:
      And press 'y' for the instances of the pattern you want replaced, 'n' otherwise.
    • If you are using emacs, press Alt-x and then type:
      and press ENTER. Enter the pattern to be replaced, press ENTER, enter the text you want to replace it with and press ENTER. Press 'y' for the instances of the pattern you want replaced, 'n' otherwise.
  • If you want to have a shared folder between your machine and the VM so that it's easier to transfer files during the tutorial, you have to do this before starting the VM. Follow these instructions
  • If you get an error running Omni, look at the troubleshoot page for help.
  • rspeclint

1. Using Omni

1a. Configure Omni

In order to configure Flack, you needed to login to your account in Emulab and instruct Flack to load your user information (certificate and public keys). For Omni we need to do something similar. Omni uses a configuration file, and there is a script that will automatically generate the file with some default options and place it in the default place of ~/.gcf/.

Go back to your browser, and go to the Emulan tab. On the left of your screen, there should be a link "Download your cert".

Click on that and select the option about downloading as a pem file. Save this page under ~/.ssl/geni_cert.pem. You will need to type the path, instead of navigating to the folder.

Open a terminal window and type :

This should configure your Omni, with your downloaded certificate and an ssh key pair for logging in to the nodes.

The output should look like:

{'framework': 'pg', 'configfile': '~/.gcf/omni_config', 'plkey': '~/.ssh/geni_pl_key', 'cert': '~/.ssl/geni_cert', 'verbose': False}
INFO:omniconfig:Using configfile: /home/geni/.gcf/omni_config
INFO:omniconfig:Using certfile /home/geni/.ssl/geni_cert.pem

INFO:omniconfig:Private key stored at: /home/geni/.ssh/geni_key
Enter passphrase: 
INFO:omniconfig:Public key stored at: /home/geni/.ssh/
INFO:omniconfig:Added to /home/geni/.ssh/config this line:
	'IdentityFile /home/geni/.ssh/geni_key
INFO:omniconfig:Wrote omni configuration file at: /home/geni/.gcf/omni_config

Open the file ~/.gcf/omni_config using either vim or emacs. Close to the top of the file you will see two parameters called default_cf and users. Your username should be at least listed in the user section. Look for the sections in the file that are named [pgeni] and [<username>]. In the pgeni section you configure Omni to use your personal information. The cert and the key attribute point to files that we have manually downloaded from This is equivalent to the Download action of Flack.

In the [<username>] section, the information need for logging-in to reserved compute resources are provided. It includes you unique URN and a public key that would be uploaded to the hosts that you will reserve during the tutorial.

Another interesting section to look at is the [aggregate-nicknames] sections. Flack already knows the URL for all the AMs and present you a list of AMs to choose from using a short, descriptive name. In Omni a user is required to pass the URL for each call to the GENI AM API. In this section the user get a chance to provide short descriptive names to the URLs that are easier to memorize and use.

1b. Clear the passphrase from your cert

When you first logged in to Flack, you had to type your passphrase (password). Flack cashes this information and re-uses it for the duration of the session. Omni will ask you for the phrase multiple times per command. To save time during the tutorial, we are going to remove the passphrase from your cert and your ssh key. There is a script to clear the passphrases. Run : 

Use the same password as in Flack.

The output should look like

Do you want to remove the passphrase from your cert (/home/geni/.ssl/geni_cert.pem) [Y,n]?y

INFO:clearcert:The encoded certificate file is backed up at /home/geni/.ssl/geni_cert_enc.pem
INFO:clearcert:Removing passphrase from cert...
Enter pass phrase for /home/geni/.ssl/geni_cert.pem:
writing RSA key
INFO:clearcert:Change permissions of /home/geni/.ssl/geni_cert.pem to 0600
Do you want to remove the passphrase from you ssh-key (/home/geni/.ssh/geni_key, key used to login to compute resources) [Y,n]?y
Enter PEM pass phrase:
Enter passphrase:

Verify that you have the necessary credential and key files

ls ~/.ssh ~/.ssl

The output looks like :

geni@geni-vm:~$ ls ~/.ssh ~/.ssl
config  geni_key

geni_cert_enc.pem  geni_cert.pem
geni_cert.pem Cleartext certificate, i.e. does not require any passphrase
geni_cert_enc.pem Encrypted certificate
geni_key The private key that you will use to login to the nodes The corresponding public key that will be uploaded to the nodes

1c. Test Omni setup

In order to test that our configuration is correct, you can issue a getversion command. For this step we have used PlanetLab's AM, but you can use any Aggregate Manager(AM). getversion -a

Or equivalently using the PlanetLab nickname: getversion -a plc

For the rest of the tutorial we are going to use aggregate nicknames.

1d. Omni Commands

Listresources in Omni

Flack goes behind the scenes and call listresources for the AMs that you chose, and draws the resources in a map. In Omni in order to see what is available in each AM you will have to manually invoke listresources. Invoke listresources on utah's ProtoGENI cluster listresources -a pg-utah -o

The -o option will save the output to a file. The filename is chosen by Omni and printed as part of the output. The output will look like :

geni@geni-vm:~$ listresources -a pg-utah -o
INFO:omni:Loading config file /home/geni/.gcf/omni_config
INFO:omni:Using control framework pg
INFO:omni:Saving output to a file.
INFO:omni:Substituting AM nickname pg-utah with URL, URN unspecified_AM_URN
INFO:omni:Listed resources on 1 out of 1 possible aggregates.
INFO:omni:Writing to 'rspec-www-emulab-net-protogeni.xml'
INFO:omni: ------------------------------------------------------------
INFO:omni: Completed listresources:

  Options as run:
		aggregate: pg-utah
		framework: pg
		native: True
		output: True

  Args: listresources

  Result Summary: Retrieved resources from 1 aggregates.
Wrote rspecs from 1 aggregates to 1 files
Saved listresources RSpec at 'unspecified_AM_URN' to file rspec-www-emulab-net-protogeni.xml; . 
INFO:omni: ============================================================

Open the file that Omni saved and just take a look to see how an advertisement RSpec looks like.

Listmyslices in Omni

Both Flack and Omni can see all the slices that are created by a user. In Flack there is a list of slices under the user on the left side of the window. In order to see your active slices with Omni, you will have to use the listmyslices command. listmyslices <username>

You should see the slice that you created through Flack.

Omni Scripting

After reserving the nodes, you are ready to login. The login name and port are listed as part of the sliverstatus call. For common functionality like this that is expected to be used often, omni gives you the capability of writing scripts and including omni as a library. Omni comes with a set of examples (under gcf/examples). One script that is available is the script that will return the exact command for logging-in to the nodes in your sliver.

readyToLogin -a pg-utah <slicename>

The script will return the actual command that you would need to use for logging in.

2. Sending IP traffic

We will start testing our setup by sending IP traffic between our hosts.

2a. Login to PCUT

First login to the PCUT host. To do that go the Flack page and press the (i) button on the PCUT box. On the screen that will come up press the 'SSH' button.

2b. Ping VMUT

After you login to the PCUT, try to ping VMUT. To figure out what is the IP address of VMUT, go back to Flack and press on the (i) of the link between VMUT and PCUT. The information on that page should tell you what is the IP of that node. Run :

ping <VMUT_IP>

An example output should look like :

[[inki@pcut ~]$ ping -c 5
PING ( 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from icmp_seq=1 ttl=64 time=1.95 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=2 ttl=64 time=2.27 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=3 ttl=64 time=2.04 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=4 ttl=64 time=1.95 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=5 ttl=64 time=1.72 ms

--- ping statistics ---
5 packets transmitted, 5 received, 0% packet loss, time 4005ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 1.728/1.992/2.278/0.179 ms

From PCUT you should also be able to ping PCRemote. The IP of PCRemote is "".

[inki@pcut ~]$ ping -c 5
PING ( 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from icmp_seq=1 ttl=64 time=2.39 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=2 ttl=64 time=0.218 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=3 ttl=64 time=2.32 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=4 ttl=64 time=0.253 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=5 ttl=64 time=2.33 ms

--- ping statistics ---
5 packets transmitted, 5 received, 0% packet loss, time 4004ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 0.218/1.504/2.398/1.037 ms

Now let's try and ping the PCRemote from VMUT. Login to VMUT and run:

ping -c 5 -w 5

The ping should timeout. The output should look like :

[inki@VMUT ~]$ ping -c 5 -w 5
PING ( 56(84) bytes of data.

--- ping statistics ---
6 packets transmitted, 0 received, 100% packet loss, time 4998ms

2c. Enable IP forwarding at PCUT

The ping fails because although PCRemote and VMUT are both connected to PCUT, the PCUT is not configured to route packets. Check the IP routing flag :

[inki@pcut ~]$ cat /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_forward                                

To enable IP forwarding run :

echo "1" | sudo tee /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_forward 

Now try to ping again from VMUT. The output should look like :

[inki@VMUT ~]$ ping -c 5 
PING ( 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from icmp_seq=1 ttl=63 time=4.02 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=2 ttl=63 time=3.48 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=3 ttl=63 time=3.44 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=4 ttl=63 time=3.46 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=5 ttl=63 time=3.44 ms

--- ping statistics ---
5 packets transmitted, 5 received, 0% packet loss, time 3998ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 3.444/3.574/4.028/0.233 ms

Congrats you were able to run a multihop IP experiment.

3. Sending Layer 2 traffic

GENI provides the capability of creating diverse, layer two topologies. The topology you have created includes connection at Layer 2. The layer two part of your topology looks like this; the actual info of your topology might be different.

In this exercise we are going to send layer 2 traffic between the hosts of our topology.

3a. Bring Down IP at PCUT

First of all lets bring down the IP configuration from our hosts. At the terminal of PCUT first run ifconfig to figure out which are the dataplane interfaces. Run :


The output should look like :

[inki@pcut ~/pingPlus]$ /sbin/ifconfig 
VLAN02    Link encap:UNSPEC  HWaddr 9B-62-24-9B-6F-00-F4-EF-00-00-00-00-00-00-00-00  
          inet addr:  P-t-P:  Mask:
          UP POINTOPOINT RUNNING NOARP  MTU:1476  Metric:1
          RX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:0 
          RX bytes:0 (0.0 b)  TX bytes:0 (0.0 b)

eth0      Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 00:02:B3:23:6D:12  
          inet addr:  Bcast:  Mask:
          inet6 addr: fe80::202:b3ff:fe23:6d12/64 Scope:Link
          RX packets:9593 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:1119 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000 
          RX bytes:1823255 (1.7 MiB)  TX bytes:118901 (116.1 KiB)

eth1      Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 00:02:B3:23:6D:13  
          inet addr:  Bcast:  Mask:
          inet6 addr: fe80::202:b3ff:fe23:6d13/64 Scope:Link
          RX packets:82 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:54 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000 
          RX bytes:7542 (7.3 KiB)  TX bytes:4632 (4.5 KiB)

eth2      Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 00:03:47:94:C5:7B  
          inet addr:  Bcast:  Mask:
          inet6 addr: fe80::203:47ff:fe94:c57b/64 Scope:Link
          RX packets:32 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:41 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000 
          RX bytes:2794 (2.7 KiB)  TX bytes:3338 (3.2 KiB)

lo        Link encap:Local Loopback  
          inet addr:  Mask:
          inet6 addr: ::1/128 Scope:Host
          UP LOOPBACK RUNNING  MTU:16436  Metric:1
          RX packets:57 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:57 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:0 
          RX bytes:4913 (4.7 KiB)  TX bytes:4913 (4.7 KiB)

The two interface that are connected to VMUT and PCRemote are eth1 and eth2 respectively. To bring them down run :

sudo /sbin/ifconfig eth1

sudo /sbin/ifconfig eth2

3b. Run Layer 2 Ping

From VMUT try to ping PCUT. First we will need to figure out the MAC address of PCUT. We can find the MAC address the same way as the IP addresses byt checking the information on the link. You will need to use the ethernet type that is given in your account slip. Run :

cd pingPlus

The result should look like :

[inki@VMUT ~/pingPlus]$ sudo ./pingPlus 00:24:E8:7A:97:DD eth419 10000
audit_log_user_command(): Connection refused
RQ:'9561+2063' to 0:24:e8:7a:97:dd.
RL:9561+2063=11624 from 0:24:e8:7a:97:dd.

3c. Enable Layer 2 forwarding at PCUT

If we try to ping PCRemote from VMUT, the packets will not get through, since there is no router running at PCUT that will forward the packets along. For this tutorial we have installed click router on PCUT, and we are going to run a simple learning switch module. However you can imagine that you can implement a more complicated routing algorithm. In order to start the click router, at PCUT run :

sudo /usr/local/bin/click

The MAC address of PCRemote is 00:24:E8:77:89:B6

Then from VMUT, try to ping PCRemote

[inki@VMUT ~/pingPlus]$ sudo ./pingPlus 00:24:E8:77:89:B6 <INTERFACE_NAME> <ETH_TYPE>

The output should look like :

[inki@VMUT ~/pingPlus]$ sudo ./pingPlus 00:24:E8:77:89:B6 eth419 10000
audit_log_user_command(): Connection refused
RQ:'7124+8793' to 0:24:e8:77:89:b6.
RL:7124+8793=15917 from 0:24:e8:77:89:b6

Congratulations you have run a Layer 2 experiment that spans across the United States!

4. Cleanup resources

Although all your reservations, have expiration times, its always good practice to release the resources after your experiment is over to make them available to other experimenters.

Deletesliver with Omni

We are going to use Omni to release our resources, For each AM that you have used you should delete your sliver. In the tutorial we used the AMs at Kentucky and at Utah.

From the terminal that you were using to run your Omni commands, run deletesliver -a  pg-utah sliceomni## deletesliver -a  pg-ky sliceomni## 

You can not delete your slice. Although this will be cleaned up when it expires, it should be an empty container and thus does not hold up any resources.

Congratulations, you have finished the tutorial! Now you are ready to design and run your own experiments. Don't hesitate to email us with any questions you might have.

5. Fill out the tutorial survey

We love to hear what you think so that we can improve the tutorials in the future. Please complete the online survey and get a temporary GENI tatoo!

6. Get Your Own Account

The accounts, that you used in the above steps will be deactivated after the tutorial. If you do not already have an account at GPO's ProtoGENI cluster, you should get your own account so that you can further experiment with GENI.

If you would like to run your own experiments in this infrastructure, please contact us at to get a permanent account. Look at the Omni Configuration page about how to configure your Omni with your personal info.

AM URL Table

AM Nickname URL
Utah's ProtoGENI pg-utah
Kentucky's ProtoGENI pg-ky
PlanetLab plc
GPO's ProtoGENI pg-gpo

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