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 Post subject: WOW! + Noob questions
PostPosted: 10. Mar 2009, 03:48 
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I think maybe you have found my dream list of "what I would most like to do someday"!! I am VERY excited to find this... but of course that leads to many newbie questions.

Let me tell you a bit about my current set up and then ask some questions.

My dedicated crunchers are all headless, machines that sit in a non-A/C'd room that I like to call the "server oven" (where we bake them in the summer with ambient temps that can go over 104F / 40C!). They consist of a big HSF, mobo, cpu, PSU and a HDD. They all have on-board video and built in NIC. They all have 2GB of RAM, some of which is used by the on-board video page frame. I only have a CD drive on them when I first install the OS (all are Xubuntu 64b). After initial install all non-BIOS screen access is from elsewhere on my LAN via vnc (w/o ssh). They all were static IP until v8.10 gnome network manager bug hit. Today the v8.04LTS ones are static IP and the v8.10 ones are assigned fixed IPs per MAC address via the router or have the gnome network manager uninstalled and are manually configured. Most common remote access to them is via my dual boot (WinXP/Ubunut v8.10) desktop. Most of them have smallish old IDE HDDs of 10~20GB that I picked up used someplace or the other. Because these are getting hard to find a couple have 40GB SATA drives. All are configured with a swap partition of about 1GB. All are now quad-core CPUs.

There are two exceptions. Two of them have two HDDs each (a small drive that the OS is on and a larger one that is used either as shared network storage or as a place for system backups). One of these two machines besides running as a Samba server also functions as an APT-CACHER server.

There is no sub-netting on my LAN. I have a cat6 Gigabit line to/from the router (in another building) but not all the crunchers are on Gigabit, some are on 10/100 switches. All of my dedicated crunchers run the same set of projects via BAM.

That's everything I can think of that might be relevant.

From my VERY limited understanding of what you've built here is that you have built a server to dish out boot images to headless crunchers that do not have HDDs. This would be a WONDERFUL thing eliminating one more source of cost, heat, electric consumption and something that can go bad.

If I understand you have a 2 part solution. A LAN bootable (PXE) client OS that runs BOINC and another part that is to be installed as the boot image file Server that has the HDD space available. On the server side I think I am reading is that you have a custom distro to run the server, as opposed to an installable package (.deb) that could go onto an existing Ubuntu or Xubuntu machine. Is this correct?

If so, I assume I would have to either:
1) Rebuild the OS on one of my existing 'servers' that has the large HDDs on it, or;
2) Pick one of the other 'crunchers' to be this server and reinstall the OS there... possibly with a larger HDD on it.

Did i read correctly that each diskless client machine only requires 1.5GB on the server? I assume this must be for the OS image only and does not allow for project space, log files, etc. etc.?? Each of my dedicated crunchers is currently running 16 projects and the x11vnc server. If I were to convert. let's say 10 of my crunchers to be disk-less how big should the HDD be on the image server be? Looking at the BOINC tab called "Disk" I see that some of my crunchers show BOINC using a bit over 1.5GB. So would 5GB per client be safe number? So 5GB * 10 clients = 50GB so an 80GB drive would be plenty for the server if I were to build a new cruncher and have it double up as the server for the diskless clients?

Is there any method or support for installing the server portion onto one of my existing Xubuntu 'server' machines?
Have you ever considered making the server side a .deb package that could be in a repository?

If I choose to use (install your distro onto) my "backups" file server will there be any issues with reinstalling SAMBA via synaptic and backups of my config current config files to re-share the drive to other machines on the lan?

Would that drive need to be re-partitioned into two, one for the OS images and the other for the SAMBA share? Which sort of leads to...

Do you store a single OS Image and then let the client mount / via NFS or an OS Image for each client? I ask because generally the only difference between my crunchers (at least when they were all on the same release) was the hostname and the IP address.

How is/are the OS image(s) stored on the server (folders, ext3 partitions, other)?

How close is your OS install to what I'm used to seeing in Ubunut/Xubuntu?

Will I get the option to manually partition the drive (gparted) during install?

Can I specify a static IPs for each client? Can I have the client IPs assigned by MAC in the router or would this now be handled by the OS image server?

How can tell if all my uATX mobos support "boot from LAN" / PXE?

One of my mobo's, an ASUS uses a bit out of the mainstream NIC chip (+ mine is broken as it only works at 10Mps). Do I need to confirm with you support for the NIC chips used by my different mobos before setting off down this path?

What are your plans for your distro as Debian/Ubuntu/Xubuntu and BOINC move forward (new versions)?

Do you want to buy 10 old HDD drives? ;-) Just joking.

tschuess (hope i spelled that right),
Skip Guenter

_________________
- da shu @ the BOINC farm, SkipsJunk, Guru Mountain
- BoincDV is on-line! Click HERE
Phillip Warren Anderson works on my RAM & CPU problems


Last edited by Skip Da Shu on 10. Mar 2009, 07:29, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: WOW!
PostPosted: 10. Mar 2009, 04:01 
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Oh, I just thought of something else... I guess with the sort of setup you have built I wouldn't point each client to my apt-cacher server since the OS Image is stored on the image server. I further assume that the OS Image is static until you release an update? But the server could have updates applied via apt or update manager or synaptic?

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- BoincDV is on-line! Click HERE
Phillip Warren Anderson works on my RAM & CPU problems


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 Post subject: Re: WOW! + Noob questions
PostPosted: 10. Mar 2009, 21:38 
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If you can point me to something i can read or re-read that covers some of my questions I'd be glad to do that first.

Thanx,

_________________
- da shu @ the BOINC farm, SkipsJunk, Guru Mountain
- BoincDV is on-line! Click HERE
Phillip Warren Anderson works on my RAM & CPU problems


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 Post subject: Re: WOW! + Noob questions
PostPosted: 11. Mar 2009, 00:54 

Joined: 11.2008
Posts: 138
Gender: None specified
Skip Da Shu wrote:
I think maybe you have found my dream list of "what I would most like to do someday"!! I am VERY excited to find this... but of course that leads to many newbie questions.

Thank you very much !

Quote:
Let me tell you a bit about my current set up and then ask some questions.

My dedicated crunchers are all headless, machines that sit in a non-A/C'd room that I like to call the "server oven" (where we bake them in the summer with ambient temps that can go over 104F / 40C!). They consist of a big HSF, mobo, cpu, PSU and a HDD. They all have on-board video and built in NIC. They all have 2GB of RAM, some of which is used by the on-board video page frame. I only have a CD drive on them when I first install the OS (all are Xubuntu 64b). After initial install all non-BIOS screen access is from elsewhere on my LAN via vnc (w/o ssh). They all were static IP until v8.10 gnome network manager bug hit. Today the v8.04LTS ones are static IP and the v8.10 ones are assigned fixed IPs per MAC address via the router or have the gnome network manager uninstalled and are manually configured. Most common remote access to them is via my dual boot (WinXP/Ubunut v8.10) desktop. Most of them have smallish old IDE HDDs of 10~20GB that I picked up used someplace or the other. Because these are getting hard to find a couple have 40GB SATA drives. All are configured with a swap partition of about 1GB. All are now quad-core CPUs.

Sounds cool.
I ran also into the Network Manager bugs and some strange behaviors. For example non persistant IPs or totaly wrong state of the network interfaces. Due this problems I have choosen to disable the NetworkManager in Dotsch/UX 1. and assign per default IPs via DHCP, or configure them manualy on the normal Unix way.

Quote:
There are two exceptions. Two of them have two HDDs each (a small drive that the OS is on and a larger one that is used either as shared network storage or as a place for system backups). One of these two machines besides running as a Samba server also functions as an APT-CACHER server.

There is no sub-netting on my LAN. I have a cat6 Gigabit line to/from the router (in another building) but not all the crunchers are on Gigabit, some are on 10/100 switches. All of my dedicated crunchers run the same set of projects via BAM.

That's everything I can think of that might be relevant.

From my VERY limited understanding of what you've built here is that you have built a server to dish out boot images to headless crunchers that do not have HDDs. This would be a WONDERFUL thing eliminating one more source of cost, heat, electric consumption and something that can go bad.

If I understand you have a 2 part solution. A LAN bootable (PXE) client OS that runs BOINC and another part that is to be installed as the boot image file Server that has the HDD space available. On the server side I think I am reading is that you have a custom distro to run the server, as opposed to an installable package (.deb) that could go onto an existing Ubuntu or Xubuntu machine. Is this correct?

Yes. The diskless server have got to have a hard disk and stores the diskless client data on the HDDs which would be booted by PXE/tftpboot and access the filesystem via NFS.

Quote:
If so, I assume I would have to either:
1) Rebuild the OS on one of my existing 'servers' that has the large HDDs on it, or;
2) Pick one of the other 'crunchers' to be this server and reinstall the OS there... possibly with a larger HDD on it.

I think the second option is the fastest and easiest way.

Quote:
Did i read correctly that each diskless client machine only requires 1.5GB on the server? I assume this must be for the OS image only and does not allow for project space, log files, etc. etc.?? Each of my dedicated crunchers is currently running 16 projects and the x11vnc server. If I were to convert. let's say 10 of my crunchers to be disk-less how big should the HDD be on the image server be? Looking at the BOINC tab called "Disk" I see that some of my crunchers show BOINC using a bit over 1.5GB. So would 5GB per client be safe number? So 5GB * 10 clients = 50GB so an 80GB drive would be plenty for the server if I were to build a new cruncher and have it double up as the server for the diskless clients?

Yes. 5 GB would be great. In your case there are 1.5 GB for each diskless client plus the 1.5 GB for the BOINC client data. So with calculated 5 GB per client there is enought reserver.

Quote:
Is there any method or support for installing the server portion onto one of my existing Xubuntu 'server' machines?
Have you ever considered making the server side a .deb package that could be in a repository?

In the moment I have not found the time to test this. I think, that it would not work smoothly with the current release.

Quote:
If I choose to use (install your distro onto) my "backups" file server will there be any issues with reinstalling SAMBA via synaptic and backups of my config current config files to re-share the drive to other machines on the lan?

No. For normal software installations on Dotsch/UX is no difference to Ubuntu.

Quote:
Would that drive need to be re-partitioned into two, one for the OS images and the other for the SAMBA share? Which sort of leads to...

No.

Quote:
Do you store a single OS Image and then let the client mount / via NFS or an OS Image for each client? I ask because generally the only difference between my crunchers (at least when they were all on the same release) was the hostname and the IP address.

How is/are the OS image(s) stored on the server (folders, ext3 partitions, other)?

The client data are stored in the filesystem (/diskless/$DISKLESS_CLIENT) on a normal filesystem, and so normaly accessable from the diskless client and the diskless server.

Quote:
How close is your OS install to what I'm used to seeing in Ubunut/Xubuntu?

Very simliar to Ubuntu. It's stripped down from the running daemons, a other kernel and initramfs and the Dotsch/UX tools for USB/hard disk/diskless. So the other things would be handled like on ubuntu.

Quote:

Will I get the option to manually partition the drive (gparted) during install?

Yes

Quote:
Can I specify a static IPs for each client? Can I have the client IPs assigned by MAC in the router or would this now be handled by the OS image server?

Normaly the diskless IPs are numbered sequential, but you can reconfigure it be edit the dhcpd.conf and the /etc/exports.
But, I am not shure, I think that a second DHCP server in the subnet can eventualy produce some failures. The DHCP server in Dotsch/UX sends a lot of diskless specific parameters to the clients...

Quote:
How can tell if all my uATX mobos support "boot from LAN" / PXE?

One of my mobo's, an ASUS uses a bit out of the mainstream NIC chip (+ mine is broken as it only works at 10Mps). Do I need to confirm with you support for the NIC chips used by my different mobos before setting off down this path?

What boards are this excatly ? - I have to check this...

Quote:
What are your plans for your distro as Debian/Ubuntu/Xubuntu and BOINC move forward (new versions)?

In the moment the points on my homepage. Otherwise there are some USB boot problems and some problems in the diskless clients. So first prio is stability and the new enhancements.
But I think that I will try the newest Ubuntu releases, if they are stable.

Quote:
Do you want to buy 10 old HDD drives? ;-) Just joking.

:-)

tschuess (hope i spelled that right),
Skip Guenter[/quote]
:-) spelled absolut correctly.


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 Post subject: Re: WOW!
PostPosted: 11. Mar 2009, 00:57 

Joined: 11.2008
Posts: 138
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Skip Da Shu wrote:
Oh, I just thought of something else... I guess with the sort of setup you have built I wouldn't point each client to my apt-cacher server since the OS Image is stored on the image server. I further assume that the OS Image is static until you release an update? But the server could have updates applied via apt or update manager or synaptic?

Yes.

Sorry for the delay. My flat was flooded yesterday with a lot of water. So I was not able to respond quicker to your questions.


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 Post subject: Re: WOW! + Noob questions
PostPosted: 17. Mar 2009, 03:45 
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Location: Republic of Texas, Central
Gender: Male
That doesn't sound good. I hope the damage was minimal and that all is taken care of now. Should I be shipping you a mop?

Image

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- da shu @ the BOINC farm, SkipsJunk, Guru Mountain
- BoincDV is on-line! Click HERE
Phillip Warren Anderson works on my RAM & CPU problems


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 Post subject: Re: WOW! + Noob questions
PostPosted: 17. Mar 2009, 04:05 
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Asus P5KPL-CM is the mobo that I'm concerned about. Atheros AR8121/AR8113

My other cruncher mobos are all Gigabyte boards and have pretty standard NIC chips:

GA-G31M-ES2L - RTL 8111C chip (10/100/1000 Mbit
GA-G31M-S2L - RTL 8111C chip (10/100/1000 Mbit
GA-G31MX-S2 - RTL 8110SC chip (10/100/1000 Mbit)
GA-946GMX-S2 - RTL8110SC (This is the machine with the 320GB drive that I think I want to make the 'server'. I'll be putting the BOINC projects to 'No New Work' soon to run it down for conversion to your server OS.)

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- da shu @ the BOINC farm, SkipsJunk, Guru Mountain
- BoincDV is on-line! Click HERE
Phillip Warren Anderson works on my RAM & CPU problems


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 Post subject: Re: WOW! + Noob questions
PostPosted: 17. Mar 2009, 05:53 
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Dotsch wrote:
Skip Da Shu wrote:
Can I specify a static IPs for each client? Can I have the client IPs assigned by MAC in the router or would this now be handled by the OS image server?

Normaly the diskless IPs are numbered sequential, but you can reconfigure it be edit the dhcpd.conf and the /etc/exports.
But, I am not shure, I think that a second DHCP server in the subnet can eventualy produce some failures. The DHCP server in Dotsch/UX sends a lot of diskless specific parameters to the clients...

I need to understand this better. I'll do some more reading.

Today I have other machines on my LAN that have their IP (by MAC) set by the DHCP server built into my router. They are in the range 10 thru 17.

Then crunchers are static IPs. They are in the range of 19 thru 33. To help me keep my sanity they are IP'd to their name... for example the machine named "C31" has an IP that ends in 31. Then in my desktop's 'hosts' file I set C31 to 192.168.xxx.31 to eliminate any need for DNS name resolution. The boinc manager is usually invoked from this desktop.

I am hoping there is a way to have all the diskless clients use static IPs. Could this be an option on the 'add_diskless_client' script display?

Thanx, Skip


PS: Most certainly most folks are using the DHCP from their router. How do you suggest I get around this problem of having two DHCP servers? Is this why you use the proxy?

_________________
- da shu @ the BOINC farm, SkipsJunk, Guru Mountain
- BoincDV is on-line! Click HERE
Phillip Warren Anderson works on my RAM & CPU problems


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 Post subject: Re: WOW! + Noob questions
PostPosted: 18. Mar 2009, 12:39 

Joined: 11.2008
Posts: 138
Gender: None specified
Skip Da Shu wrote:
That doesn't sound good. I hope the damage was minimal and that all is taken care of now. Should I be shipping you a mop?

Image

:-)
In the moment it looks like a bigger renovation, but the water intrusion is stopped and the leck was found.


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 Post subject: Re: WOW! + Noob questions
PostPosted: 18. Mar 2009, 12:54 

Joined: 11.2008
Posts: 138
Gender: None specified
Skip Da Shu wrote:
Dotsch wrote:
Skip Da Shu wrote:
Can I specify a static IPs for each client? Can I have the client IPs assigned by MAC in the router or would this now be handled by the OS image server?

Normaly the diskless IPs are numbered sequential, but you can reconfigure it be edit the dhcpd.conf and the /etc/exports.
But, I am not shure, I think that a second DHCP server in the subnet can eventualy produce some failures. The DHCP server in Dotsch/UX sends a lot of diskless specific parameters to the clients...

I need to understand this better. I'll do some more reading.

Today I have other machines on my LAN that have their IP (by MAC) set by the DHCP server built into my router. They are in the range 10 thru 17.

Then crunchers are static IPs. They are in the range of 19 thru 33. To help me keep my sanity they are IP'd to their name... for example the machine named "C31" has an IP that ends in 31. Then in my desktop's 'hosts' file I set C31 to 192.168.xxx.31 to eliminate any need for DNS name resolution. The boinc manager is usually invoked from this desktop.

I am hoping there is a way to have all the diskless clients use static IPs. Could this be an option on the 'add_diskless_client' script display?

I have got to made some tests, if this is posible. But I think, that a static IP should be posible with some modifications in the script.
But, the way I use is very simliar. A MAC address of the diskless would be bound to a hostname (also added in the /etc/hosts) and as IP the next free IP from the defined diskless IP pool would be used.

Quote:
PS: Most certainly most folks are using the DHCP from their router. How do you s
uggest I get around this problem of having two DHCP servers? Is this why you use the proxy?

The proxy servers was thought as a posibility to make a isolated network for the diskless clients and the diskless server and route the http traffic throught the diskless server into a second network (DMZ), for example with the internet router, to the outside. But, this is excatly the way which you can also use for the setup with two DHCP servers....
I will made some more tests with such a setup, and check what's happening. But I think that two DHCP servers make a lot of problems...

Btw. as a alternative for you problem, what is to disable the DHCP server on your router, and let the diskless server assign the IPs to your Windows hosts ? - Should be no problem with additional host entries in the dhcp.conf, and change the subnet directive from .10 to .32 in the dhcpd.conf. Also the IP Range in the diskless.conf should be not been changed(keep it from 19..32), that my scripts for the diskless stuff still keep working...


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