If you install Debian Stable on each machine, you will NEVER have to mess with them after the install and initial configuration of nfs shares. Better yet, just do one Debian Stable install, and simply copy the OS partition for the other systems. Then, the only post-configuration you have to deal with is manually changing the static IP address in /etc/network/interfaces. This assumes you want the same basic partition structure for each machine. If not, then you'll have to manually edit the /etc/fstab and /etc/exports also.
Originally Posted by andykryst
I really don't see how you can make things easier with net-booting. The biggest problem with net-booting is the headache of figuring out a way to give each machine its own static IP. Also, if there's any sort of configuration which needs to be done differently on any machine, then you've got some more big headaches.
Net-booting multiple machines really only works well when you don't care which one is which. For example, in a cluster computing solution, the individual nodes are completely interchangeable. For your application, though, the identity of each node does matter because you want to be able to locate your files in the same place every time.
A Debian install will cost you less than half a gig.
i am thinking the avg space each machine has is about 360gigs.
Linux can be relatively insensitive to differences in hardware, for some things. Fortunately for you, this includes IDE drives, a basic console interface, and usually the ethernet card--as long as all the necessary modules are loaded. Unfortunately, the size of these modules are such that you have to manually pick and choose exactly which ethernet modules you want to load out if you're net-booting. This isn't a problem if all of the ethernet cards are identical.
they all can boot from the eth cards. i would ad more drives to each one, but they are at their limit now. the machines are all AMD athlon xp between 900mhz and 1.5ghz i have 4 of them(and if i do not utilize them i will go insane) i actually think the motherboards are exactly the same in atleast two of them and all of the motherboards are from the same manufacture. so hardware shouldnt be issue here.
However, I can't see any advantages to net-booting. It's more of a headache to set up and maintain, with only the most puny of disk space savings.
With individual installs, when a machine acts up, just hit reboot--and then the machine actually reboots with the same static IP address as before. Thus the same nfs share location. Thus its files end up in the same location as before.
i mean it just seems silly to waste all of that space on things i just dont need, the kernel could just be loaded at boot time into memory. if the machine acts up, hit reboot.
If you want minimum hassle, with less than a dozen computers, then avoid net-booting.
i feel like there has to be a simple solution besides cluster suits and cluster distros. they are way overkill for what i want. i want to just add it to my already working set up with out to much hassel and adding minmal things to run it.
Just install Debian Stable on one machine, and set up nfs as per any number of simple tutorials on nfs with Debian. After you get it working to your satisfaction, simply copy that OS partition to the other three computers, and manually set the static IP address for each.
This is the ABSOLUTE MINIMUM effort solution you can come up with. Even if you manage to get a netbooting "cluster" solution working, you WILL have to individually configure a unique IP address for each machine (unless you LIKE having your files arbitrarily move from one share to another upon reboots).