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Old 09-16-2008, 07:22 PM   #1
Registered: Feb 2008
Location: London
Distribution: FC8, FC9, Centos 4, Centos 5, Knoppix
Posts: 52

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PXE booting queries


I have recently aquired a number of diskless machines, all identical, 2*1.2Ghz P3s, 1 gigabyte ram each and all supporting PXE boot. In theory I could buy some hard drives for them but after the outlay of buying these things in the first place I want to avoid any additional costs for the time being.

I have read a bit about PXE booting and the idea behind it but i'm struggling to find a really good guide with examples, ideally I want to get FC8 or FC9 running on each box. Can anyone point me in the right direction?

Also, will the server that is the boot server be being hammered all the time by all the different machines or will it load mainly into their RAMs? I need to have a reasonable amount left on each box to play around with. Furthermore, will each machine have its own copy of the OS (albeit not locally stored), ie, if I log into one of the diskless machines and install some software is it lost on reboot, only stay on that box or can the other machines see it too? What if the machines do something to conflict with each other? Primarily I need MySQL client on each box along with PHP and Apache (these together form a wrapper and task getter/reporter for about 4TB of data that I need to do some analysis on).

It's tempting to roll my own live CDs for each box but this solution seems a bit ugly and the machines arent new, theres bound to be a few with faulty CD drives. That said, the idea does have its merits as the network is only 100mbit.

Kind regards,

Old 09-16-2008, 10:02 PM   #2
Registered: Apr 2008
Location: sydney
Distribution: centos5.2
Posts: 50

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have a look of k12LTSP, which is based on Centos5, install and work.
Old 10-01-2008, 01:26 PM   #3
Registered: Feb 2008
Location: London
Distribution: FC8, FC9, Centos 4, Centos 5, Knoppix
Posts: 52

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 17

Thanks for that. In the end I was able to remaster knoppix to suit my needs and use the fact that knoppix can allow other machines to PXE boot from it. The master server actually serves up knoppix from it's harddisk though so thankfully it isnt as slow as 24 machines trying to access the same CD at once. Now I just have to find a way to pay my electricity bill

I'm also looking at something called PelicanHPC which promises to set up MPI for me, I don't however need that currently.


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