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Re: Building a NOW with Debian

On Sat, 10 Jul 1999, eg wrote:

> I too am exploring a very similar project.  I am a senior in Physics
> with delusions/dreams of Computational Science as a Phd.  I see the
> Physics computers running NT and think...I need a Masters project, and
> my advisor and the Physics Chairperson both agree that building a
> working beowulf would do fine.  It doesn't need to do grand challenges,
> just demonstrate principles.  The CIS department has offered me old slow
> network cards.  I am a year away from starting, but would appreciate
> being pointed at good reference materials. 

OK, I'll keep you informed on my progress.

I'm not doing diskless clients at the moment, but this might interest
you and everybody on the list. There's a thread called "diskless" in
the general beowulf list (beowulf@beowulf.gsfc.nasa.gov), and there's
a post by R. Brown (14 July) where he has some interesting things to
say. He's asking for some way to create, on a server, a root directory
structure (except /usr) for the diskless nodes to mount (a la SunOS).
And to do it of course in a way that upgrades through the package
manager are easy. He asks for RH support, but Debian needs the same
thing, I would think.

Here's an excerpt:

> What I don't have (but think that we need for RH) is a nice tool for
> building a diskless client root FS from the base system RPM's on the
> running server.  This would probably be a variant of their existing
> install tool or possibly just a script that unpacked the essential
> RPM's in a particular way.  I've been cloning the server root, but
> that has many undesirable and hard to pin down side effects.  I'm
> really not a RH/RPM expert, and will have to learn more before I can
> accomplish this, but it is obviously doable.  I expect that a
> "transparent" set of init scripts that support diskless operation will
> require modifications to rc.sysinit (as already discussed; there are
> two or three places where things need to be wrapped),
> /etc/rc.d/init.d/network (obviously!) and probably places like
> /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/* for eth0 at least as well -- one
> doesn't really want to permit diskless clients to run ifdown eth0,
> since it will be the last thing they ever do if they do...;-).

Should we send some of this over to the devel list?


Jose L Marin                                jose@ma.hw.ac.uk
Dept of Mathematics                          marin@wanda.unizar.es
Heriot-Watt University
Edinburgh EH14 4AS, U.K.
Phone: +44 131 451 3893
Fax: +44 131 451 3249

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