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Re: looking for diskless advice

From: Matthew Dillon <dillon@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 2004 16:12:38 -0800 (PST)

:> If you have normal machines e.g. with hard disk and all, I would
:> use a small alternative root filesystem, which automatically fetches or
:> rsyncs the real root + usr filesystem. I'd configure loader or
:> boot0 to switch the default config on demand and restart.
:> Joerg
:Yup, these are normal machines. What is an example of an "alternative root"?

     That would be like e.g. creating two slices and putting a mini-system
     on one slice and the real system on another slice.

     I personally think that's overkill.  If the boxes have CD drives then
     it is just as easy to stick a live CD in if a machine becomes unbootable.

     For normal machines I would recommend using diskless booting to automate
     or semi-automate the initial install, but to then have a normal 
     installed system running on each box with scripts to keep them up
     to date.  For updates, one master machine with the latest built world
     on it can export /usr/src and /usr/obj via NFS and the cluster of boxes
     can be updated basically just with a make installworld.

     Note that you can setup a server to export the ISO release image with 
     NFS, and machines diskless-booted with that will operate just as if you
     had booted from CD.   What I would do is cpdup an ISO into a directory
     on your NFS server, set up a DHCP server if you don't already have one,
     and then modify the image so diskless-booted machines come up with a
     working network, sshd, and key so you can access them remotely from the
     server without any manual work on their consoles.  Then automate the 
     installation using ssh/scp/scripts from the server.

					Matthew Dillon 

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