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How to setup diskless workstations ? - Linux Setup, Configuration & Administration

Hi All, For an office using Linux on desktops as well as on file server, it should be possible to setup the system such that the workstations do not have any HD. If they could all boot via network from the file server and work accessing all files (even the OS shell, utils and user home directories) via NFS, that would have some benefits: 1. Worsktations would run quietly (HD noise can add up badly in a tight office with lots of computers) 2. Worsktations would not generate so much heat either 3. Only one system (server) needs to be ...

  1. #1

    Default How to setup diskless workstations ?

    Hi All,

    For an office using Linux on desktops as well as on file server,
    it should be possible to setup the system such that the workstations
    do not have any HD. If they could all boot via network from the
    file server and work accessing all files (even the OS shell, utils
    and user home directories) via NFS, that would have some benefits:

    1. Worsktations would run quietly (HD noise can add up badly in a
    tight office with lots of computers)
    2. Worsktations would not generate so much heat either
    3. Only one system (server) needs to be maintained, kept up to date
    with patches, software upgrades, new installs etc.
    4. Only the server needs backup
    5. Workstations/desktops switchable, replacable without any effect
    on people's ability to work (as long as there are some spare ones)
    6. Lower cost of desktop systems (HD price deducted)

    The desktops may need to use some RAM disk for temporary files, logs
    (e.g. /var mounted there or possibly even /etc ?)

    Is there any doentation about the details how to setup such
    an environment ?
    How should the server store the variable (hardware dependent)
    configurations of the desktops that would normally be in /etc ?
    Any pitfalls, reasons why this is not a good idea ?

    Thanks for any tips, pointers!
    Kate Guest

  2. #2

    Default Re: How to setup diskless workstations ?

    Kate Red <com> wrote: 

    <snip out list of stuff that is exactly why the so-called
    "network computer" failed>
     

    Yes, check the diskless-HOWTO on www.tldp.org. Or, you can go for
    the "total solution" and just buy a bunch of dumb terminals and a
    multiserial card.

    Davide
    Davide Guest

  3. #3

    Default Re: How to setup diskless workstations ?

    Davide Bianchi <net> wrote in message
    <bnqd80$12s35j$news.uni-berlin.de>
     
    >
    > <snip out list of stuff that is exactly why the so-called "network
    > computer" failed>
    >[/ref]

    I thought I listed benefits, not reasons for failure...
    I should look up that "network computer" stuff I guess.
     
    >
    > Yes, check the diskless-HOWTO on www.tldp.org. Or, you can go for the[/ref]

    Thanks for the pointer!
     

    That's not quite the same. I meant full n workstations with X and
    even 3D graphics, plus substantial local computing power, i.e. I am
    thinking to use the latest CPU+graphics card, lots of RAM (>=2GB)
    in each desktop but no HD/CD or any drive.

    Have a good one,
    Kate
    Kate Guest

  4. #4

    Default Re: How to setup diskless workstations ?

    Kate Red <com> wrote: 

    This will make the machines expensive, even without HD. I mean, how much
    is an HD now? 40$? 50? A Cd ? You can buy a brand-new CD/DVD for 70$.
    On a 1000/1200 $ PC you are saving nothing.

    BTW, did you taken account of the required BACKUP DEVICE on the
    server to store all the crap that your users will dump there? You are
    possibly going to have something like 20/30 Gb _per_user_! I hope
    you toke that in the picture.

    Davide
    Davide Guest

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