Installing Linux (without CD/floppies)

Ashley Pittman ashley at
Tue Feb 18 02:41:32 PST 2003

On Tue, 2003-02-18 at 01:55, Mark Hahn wrote:
> > >What's the best way to install Linux RedHat in a 40-node
> > >Beowulf whose nodes don't have neither floppy nor
> why *install* at all?  so far at least, I'm booting my new cluster
> entirely diskless.  each node actually has a disk, but nothing is 
> installed on it - everything is PXE and NFS.  obviously, this is 
> more network-intensive, but is it really an issue if your jobs last
> for more than a couple minutes?

I've often wondered that, at the very least if you are going to install
then you should just download a tgz of the root partition rather than
the hassle of automagically installing/configuring packages.

I guess as long as it works it's worth taking the path of least
resistance for installing nodes, it's not like you do it every week
anyway so if it takes an extra twenty minutes who cares?

I really think diskless is underrated though, particuarly for small

> > As long as your network cards' support PXE (most do nowadays), then it is
> is that really true?  great if so!  I haven't looked, but tend to only
> expect builtin eth to support PXE...
> > The only potentially laborious step is collecting the MAC address first and
> > tweaking each BIOS to enable PXE booting.
> dhcpd can allocate IPs from a pool; if you don't need stable IPs,
> ou don't need to collect the MAC...

You can of course have a pool of ip's for unknown mac's and then when a
node first boots it can work out it's network position and create a
static entry in the dhcp config file for itself.


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