[Beowulf] deciding what partition to boot from on XP boxen

Alpay Kasal alpay at nycrenderfarm.com
Mon Dec 12 04:13:23 PST 2005

Hi all, I'm an avid lurker here, been going through old msgs looking for a
solution and would love it if someone could elaborate on this tidbit written
by Robert G. Brown aka RGB, and maybe point me to useful links or a book. I
need to learn this on my own. thanks in advance.


I have a room of WinXP boxes (3D and video encoding renderfarm) that I need
to image from time to time. I am using Acronis's imaging tools to boot the
XP machines via PXE, re-imaging the entire boot disk in the machine. I have
created my own scripts to trigger reboots on the nodes, and simply turn the
pxe server on when I need to send out a new image, or turn it off for
regular reboots into XP (basically letting pxe fail).


My issue: I'd like to do what I think RGB is describing below. I'd like to
have 2 partitions on local drives in the nodes, one containing winXP and one
containing the imaging software. Can I boot nodes via PXE to make the
decision of which local partition to boot from? Should I be looking towards
making changes to grub via scripting instead? The reason for me to create a
new workflow is because Acronis' PXE method can be unreliable, I've been
using boot cd's lately.




----snipped from an old RGB post-----


>Let's see if I can recall the issues.  Rebooting from lin to win is easy
(change grub, reboot), rebooting automagically from win to lin used to be
hard.  Now I suspect that if you use PXE (only) to boot the nodes going
either way would be pretty easy, if you can figure out how to persuade the
Win boxes to reboot themselves after (say) 6 pm when their PXE servers have
altered their default boot to lin.  Getting the lin nodes to reboot at 6 am
is trivial.


>These days a really interesting possibility is to use e.g. warewulf, which
lets you boot the nodes into lin diskless.  So you can ALWAYS put the nodes
back to win with a reboot.  The WinXX folks tend to have to work to install
Windows systems (except where they've worked very hard to master installing
from a standard image with network shares) and get irritated if you breathe
on their systems once they're semistable.  PXE booting a diskless OS leaves
their hard-won configurations alone.


---- end of copied body ----



Alpay Kasal





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