The Lustre filesystem software is build on-top of the Linux kernel. Because Lustre is designed for the most demanding high performance environments, modifications must be made to a stock Linux kernel to create Lustre servers. On a client, a Lustre filesystem is mounted with a Linux kernel module – and this does not need a modified kernel.
The fastest way to begin provisioning your machines into a Lustre filesystem is to use a pre-built Linux kernel with the Lustre patches applied. A Linux kernel with the Lustre patches applied is can be configured at run time to become a MGS, MDT, MDS, OSS, and OST server. An overview of these different server roles can be found in the Components of a Lustre filesystem document.
Pre-build Lustre patched Linux kernel
Whamcloud provide per-build Lustre patched Linux kernels based on the CentOS stock kernel. Two builds are available, 1.8 and Master. Master includes some features that will make it into the 2.1 release. These kernels are simple to install and have completed the Whamcloud test suites. LINK TO WHAMCLOUD TEST STUFF
A separate page provides further information on working with pre-build images.