[Beowulf] A couple of interesting comments

Perry E. Metzger perry at piermont.com
Fri Jun 6 10:45:41 PDT 2008

Bill Broadley <bill at cse.ucdavis.edu> writes:
>> 2.  BIOS had a couple of interesting defaults, including warn on
>> keyboard error (Keyboard?  Not intentionally.  This is a compute
>> node, and should never require a keyboard.  Ever.)  We also find the
>> BIOS is set to boot from hard disk THEN PXE. But due to item 1,
>> above, we never can fail over to PXE unless we load up a keyboard
>> and monitor, and hit F12 to drop to PXE.
> Very strange standard for a server, let alone a cluster node.

I would be less disturbed about such things if it was trivial to alter
the BIOS settings in a semi-automated way -- say by booting some
standalone program, or loading a file from a USB thumb drive. Then you
could just go up to each box with a USB thumb drive, turn it on, and
have it fix itself in a consistent way. However, the fact that you
can't generally automate fixing BIOS settings makes all of this far
more annoying.

Anyone have any cool tricks for how to consistently set the BIOS on
large numbers of boxes without requiring steps that humans can screw
up easily?

Perry E. Metzger		perry at piermont.com

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