[Beowulf] naked machines

Robert G. Brown rgb at phy.duke.edu
Thu Sep 22 11:07:19 PDT 2005

massimiliano cialdi writes:

> is it possible to run acluster in which some machines are "naked"?
> I mean a computer with only mother board (with an integrated NIC to
> boot up), cpu and ram; without any mass storage device (such hard
> disk, floppy or CD), keyboard, mouse and graphic card.

Yes.  See warewulf as one possibility (but not the only possibility).

Be advised that in many cases whether a PARTICULAR system is happy with
no keyboard, mouse, video often depends on bios settings.  booting from
the network often depends on bios settings, bios settings are usually
defaulted to require keyboard and video and to try to boot from a hard
disk, floppy, or CD-ROM device.

SO, you will often have to use a video card and keyboard to boot a
system once at least into the BIOS, set the BIOS to ignore keyboard
errors and boot from the network device, and then shut down, remove
video and keyboard, and boot the node into network based functionality
(having gleaned its MAC address at the same time).

Be also advised that the OS image will take some memory on top of what
your application needs, so buy memory-fat nodes with some of the money
you save on not buying disks.


> thanks
> --
> Massimiliano Cialdi
> cialdi at gmail.com
> m.cialdi at oksys.it
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