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Re: Does this exist : netboot with local storage ?


On Fri, Apr 24, 2009 at 3:47 AM, Peter Van Biesen
<peter.vanbiesen@vaph.be> wrote:
> Hi,
> I'm preparing a live image for a thin client installation. The thin client has 1Gb of local storage and we have about 20 running in 'the field' at the moment. I'd like to have a way to automatically update them. I currently use a netboot and the standard nfs mount. However, when the nfs server goes down, all thin clients go down.

Well without knowing the layout I would say make a redundant nfs
setup. I run a setup with  several hundred units and I have a
proximity nfs server and a failsafe nfs server in case the proximity
fails. The user selects the boot server via pxe boot menu. You could
also have the proximity nfs also double as a dhcp.

fwiw: I like to call netboot clients Not So Thin (NST) clients.

> If the dhcp/tftp server goes down, the clients continue running but starting new ones failes ( this is not a problem as this affects only few clients ).
> What I'd like to do is
>  - pxe boot
>  - get kernel and initrd from tftp server
>  - get the id of the latest filesystem.squashfs from a webserver
>   If the id is newer than the one on local storage ( /dev/hda1 ), download it from the webserver
>   If not, keep the one on local storage
>  - mount and use the filesystem from local storage

As I recall seems like http://www.ulteo.com/home/en/home?autolang=en
used to do something similar to what you describe.

On systems I want to upgrade that use local storage I keep them in
groups in my dhcp.conf file and I move them to the new location when I
am ready. I like keeping all the images on the server and not the
clients. Also I like a plain fs type so I can just chroot in for fleet

ymmv: The only reason I ever looked at a local storage was for offline
clients or low bandwidth (and I always come back to usb stick for
that). So with this model I expect users who want to upgrade to plug
in to the network with pxe boot set at a higher boot priority and then
I give them a pxe boot menu with a test for update option that boots a
basic netboot with a custom rc.local designed to check versions then
upgrade if need be and then reboot.

> Is this possible with the current installation or should I write my own scipts ?

Well even in the above example you would need to craft your own
rc.local for testing what you want. So there will most likely be some
custom scripting needed.

> Thanks in advance,

Hope this reply helps.

> Peter.
> --
> Peter Van Biesen
> Sysadmin VAPH
> tel: +32 (0) 2 225 85 70
> fax: +32 (0) 2 225 85 88
> e-mail: peter.vanbiesen@vaph.be
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