[Beowulf] Which do you prefer local disk installed OS or NFS rooted?

Sean Dilda agrajag at dragaera.net
Fri Jul 16 06:08:38 PDT 2004

On Wed, 2004-07-14 at 16:38, Brent M. Clements wrote:
> Good Afternoon All:
> Let me start by giving a little background.
> Currently all of our clusters on campus have local disks which by using
> the systemimager suite of tools has an os image installed
> There are one or two clusters that are nfsrooted.
> I'd like to know from all of you, which way is everyone leaning when it
> comes to clusters and os distribution.
> Do you a. Install your OS on each local disk?(using whatever method,
> kickstart,systemimager, etc) or b. do you nfsroot and then use the local
> disk space as scratch and swap.
> What benefits and drawbacks have all of you seen by doing either?
> The Research/linux support group(which I am team lead of) here is leaning
> towards moving all of our clusters to model b. We've done both and from a
> sysadmin perspective we've found doing most things by nfs root a heck of
> alot easier than maintaining a systemimager configuration.

I tend to prefer the local disk route.  Part of that is because my
cluster is setup such that over time it will grow in leaps and bounds. 
Due to this I need to make sure everything I do is as scalable as

As for maintaining system images, you're right, it is a pain.  That's
why I don't do it :)  What OS are you using?  My cluster is based off of
Red Hat Linux.  This means that instead of maintaining a system image,
all I have to maintain is a package tree (mostly done by someone else)
and a kickstart config.  I also use yum to do updates across the system,
or I have a few shell scripts to quickly ssh to all my nodes and do the
yum update when I want to force an update out.  Kickstart and yum are
tools that were designed to maintain large scale deployments, and as
such work extremely well in maintaining beowulfs.

More information about the Beowulf mailing list