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Old 01-02-2007, 10:10 AM   #1
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Network Booting with diffrent hardware

I want to perform a network boot. Untill now I have only had the idea and I have never tried. I have several computers without an OS and I want to boot them from a server. My question is, will I be able to do that even if the computers have different hardware. For example if I have a computer with a P4 processor and a computer with a Xeon processer, will it still be possible to boot both of them from the same server? And second, if it works will I be able to write on the harddrives of the computers or will I be forced to store my data on the server? I want to use only the OS from there. I just want to know if network boot is a solution in my case or not. I will be thankfull if you can help.
Old 01-03-2007, 02:56 AM   #2
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there's certainly potential there. p4's and Xeon's are still both i386 derived processors so as long as you can live with a potentially lower than possible binary optimization you'll really be fine. and certainly you can write to a local drive, if you can build them in a consistent manner, e.g. /home as /dev/hda1 then that will be consistent in /etc/fstab on the server.
Old 01-03-2007, 03:43 AM   #3
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Network booting on different platforms is fine, as long as you configure the right kind of netboot for the hardware you have. i386 and amd64 architectures use PXE for network booting (and DHCP to determine the boot server). Most other architectures use BOOTP. Sun systems use RARP and TFTP. As long as you have the right kernel for the OS you're booting, and you're running the correct daemon, it will work fine. Sun boxen can boot from i386 servers, Macs can boot from Suns, amd64s can boot from i386s (with a 64bit kernel), etc.

It sounds like all your hardware is PC clone, so a mix of i386 and amd64. In that case they'll all use DHCP and PXE. Just specify the right kernel image for each MAC address and you can boot each one with it's best kernel, even if the OS you're hosting the boot images on isn't that architecture.


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