[Beowulf] portable clusters
James.P.Lux at jpl.nasa.gov
Mon Nov 28 00:32:45 EST 2005
Has anyone done a diskless cluster (i.e. boot the nodes off the network)
where the nodes run Linux but the headnode/server is a WinXP/Win2K box?
Think in terms of booting off the drive in a laptop.
The application is one where the raw data that's being processed is
collected by peculiar hardware for which only windows drivers are available.
I suppose one can run some form of Windows server that does the DHCP and
PXE stuff (after all, it must get done in a "pure windows" environment
somehow), but is it sufficiently generalized that I can take a Linux
bootable image to shove out to the nodes. I did find some stuff on booting
XP(embedded) via PXE, and some stuff on what MS calls Remote Installation
Service using PXE.
There's "Services for Unix" but I dont' see a dhcpd in there anywhere. SFU
does provide a NFS server and client, so at least the nodes could
conceivably mount the laptop disk.
Perhaps one "hack" would be to have something like one of those network
firewall appliances that does DHCP, but able to spit out the right stuff to
respond to the PXE sequence. Obviously, the run of the mill
Linksys/D-Link/etc widgets may not do this, but maybe there is one?
Or, don't rely on PXE, but use a flash RAM (USB stick/Compact Flash/etc)
image to get things going and then use the laptop for NFS?
James Lux, P.E.
Spacecraft Radio Frequency Subsystems Group
Flight Communications Systems Section
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Mail Stop 161-213
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena CA 91109
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