Node cloning

Robert G. Brown rgb at
Wed Apr 4 13:10:21 PDT 2001

On Wed, 4 Apr 2001, Richard C Ferri wrote:

> Luca,
>      There are two good solutions that I am aware of to clone nodes in a
> beowulf cluster.   If all your nodes are basically identical (except for IP
> information, and the size of the harddrive) you should look at
> Systemimager, an open source project sponsored by VA Linux:
>           If your nodes
> differ significantly, look at LUI, an open source project sponsored by IBM,
> at        There are mailing lists
> associated with both projects  to help you in your time of need... Rich

I'd add two more ways.  One is to use Scyld.  One doesn't exactly clone
nodes, but what you end up with is functionally the same and even
simpler.  The second is to just use Red Hat and kickstart.  A kickstart
script can be written for a generic node, and a slightly hacked boot
floppy built (basically modified to go into kickstart by default after a
timeout instead of any of the interactive startups) that will install a
node on boot.  This latter is my favorite, as it scales well, gives you
a complete choice as to which RPM's to include, and works for arbitrary
clusters and even departmental networks of moderately dissimilar desktop
hosts.  With the boot/kickstart install floppy, there is no real need
for a node to have a head -- insert floppy, power up, wait thirty
minutes (or less), remove floppy, reboot.  You don't even have to have a
keyboard -- the second boot can safely be a power cycle since the system
typically fsck's on the first boot anyway.


Robert G. Brown	             
Duke University Dept. of Physics, Box 90305
Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
Phone: 1-919-660-2567  Fax: 919-660-2525     email:rgb at

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