[Beowulf] A couple of interesting comments

Dan.Kidger at quadrics.com Dan.Kidger at quadrics.com
Thu Jun 12 07:38:36 EDT 2008

Chris Samuel wrote:

>----- johnh at streamline-computing.com wrote:
>> All head nodes should have the BIOS set to localboot first.
>We set the interface on the internal cluster network to
>PXE and the external to not.

I agree.
but note that if you use ROCKS, it insists on the other way round:
  It wants to always reinstall a node on power up *unless* it has a working bootable partition, and it deliberately trashes the boot sector on a clean boot - only replacing it if the node is shut down cleanly.

The key point is that any machine that has state that should be kept (like a head node) should *never* PXE boot by default - possibly not even if the primary HDD won't boot properly - only PXE boot on human intervention.
PXE booting is concept of trust - that you trust the machine upstream of you to have full control of you, to delete and reinstall whatever it wants.


Dr. Daniel Kidger, Quadrics Ltd.   daniel.kidger at quadrics.com
One Bridewell St.,             Mobile:    +44 (0)779 209 1851
Bristol, BS1 2AA, UK           Office:    +44 (0)117 915 5519
----------------------- www.quadrics.com --------------------

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