diskless clients? beowulf-newbie seeks advice

Eray Ozkural (exa) erayo at cs.bilkent.edu.tr
Sun Jun 24 10:33:09 EDT 2001


On Sun, Jun 24, 2001 at 08:35:20AM -0500, Nelson Castillo wrote:
> We (a couple friends and me) need diskless clients because we'll use a 
> computer Lab that we don't own. It doesn't make sense to install software 
> on them if we will only use them once or twice. What's more, if we leave 
> the windows machines untouched the chances of using the same 
> machines some other day increases...

diskless clients are great if you're on a fast ethernet network. a
good workstation with a decent ibm disk will easily serve way more than
a couple of diskless clients. it's also best if you want to be able
to add or remove machines in a plug-in fashion. once you set up
net boot over the machines, it operates smoothly. 

for usual beowulf operation, it's better to have clients that have
their disks since we have a lot of parallel I/O applications nowadays.
However, for other purposes diskless is much easier to maintain than
using an installation utility, debugging disk problems, etc. I have
a second computer here at home that I use over 100baseTX. It's got
a disk but I only use it as scratch space. 

My feeling is that the best compromise would be to have a DFS
that works. (Would ideally allow mobile operation and optimizing
for locality)

Thanks,

-- 
Eray Ozkural (exa) <erayo at cs.bilkent.edu.tr>, 
Comp. Sci. Dept., Bilkent University, Ankara
www: http://www.cs.bilkent.edu.tr/~erayo
GPG public key fingerprint: 360C 852F 88B0 A745 F31B  EA0F 7C07 AE16 874D 539C

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