Do you have any links / suggestions for getting LTSP setup to netboot nodes? I've got about 35ghz worth of Dell Optiplexes sitting in a corner (unused) That I would to get folding, if I can make them all netboot.
The instructions at the main LTSP site
are pretty good as far as they go. They are more geared towards using the netbooted systems as X-Terminals though. I can probably walk you through the process of getting everything set up for diskless folding. (Actually it is more correctly called "shared disk" folding, since what you're effectively doing is having all of the netbooted nodes share a single hard drive on the LTSP server.)
Do these systems have integrated (on the mobo) NICs, with a netboot option in the BIOS? If they do, it should be relatively straightforward to get things set up.
Failing that, if they have floppy drives and you can figure out what chipset the NICs are using, you should be able to create a floppy-based Etherboot loader using ROM-O-Matic
If they have CD/DVD drives, Flying Fox's suggestion is probably the way to go instead.
If you're up for giving LTSP a go, the first thing you'll need is a server running some flavor of UNIX. It doesn't have to be anything fancy; even an older, slower machine will be adequate since F@h is almost entirely CPU-bound, and doesn't stress the server. (My "Mark I" crate farm had a 1GHz Athlon as the server, and I suspect I could've netbooted a couple dozen nodes from it if I'd wanted to.) I'll probably be able to provide the most assistance if you use Fedora, since that's what I used myself.
You also need to be able to serve DHCP to the diskless nodes from your LTSP server. This means that if there is another existing DHCP server on your network, you need to either prevent it from responding to DHCP requests from the diskless nodes, or put the diskless nodes on their own subnet (behind another router) to prevent the DHCP requests from reaching the existing DHCP server. On my home network, I deal with this issue by using static IPs for everything except the diskless nodes (DHCP is turned off on my router); this may or may not be an option for you depending on whether you need to integrate into an existing LAN, and how your LAN is set up.
Post some additional details about the hardware and your network, and we can take it from there.
: OK, no CD or floppy. What about the integrated NIC? Failing that, can these systems be configured to boot from a USB flash stick?
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