8.2. Setting up a diskless clientTo set up a diskless client, you must have the appropriate operating system software loaded on its boot server. If the client and server are of the same architecture, then they can share the /usr filesystem, including the same /usr/platform/<platform> directory. However, if the client has a different processor or platform architecture, the server must contain the relevant /usr filesystem and/or /usr/platform/<platform> directory for the client. The /usr filesystem contains the operating system itself, and will be different for each diskless client processor architecture. The /usr/platform directory contains subdirectories that in turn contain executable files that depend on both the machine's hardware implementation (platform) and CPU architecture. Often several different hardware implementations share the same set of platform specific executables. Thus, you will find that /usr/platform contains lots of symbolic links to directories that contain the common machine architecture. Platform architecture and processor architecture are not the same thing; processor architecture guarantees that binaries are compatible, while platform architecture compatibility means that page sizes, kernel data structures, and supported devices are the same. You can determine the platform architecture of a running machine using uname -i:
You can also determine the machine architecture the platform directory in /usr/platform is likely symbolically linked to:% uname -i SUNW,Ultra-5_10
If clients and their server have the same processor architecture but different platform architectures, then they can share /usr but /usr/platform needs to include subdirectories for both the client and server platform architectures. Platform specific binaries for each client are normally placed in /export on the server. In Solaris, an unbundled product called AdminSuite is used to set up servers for diskless NFS clients. This product is currently available as part of the Solaris Easy Access Server (SEAS) 2.0 product and works on Solaris up to Solaris 7. For each new diskless client, the AdminSuite software can be used to perform the following steps:% uname -m sun4u
Table 8-1. Diskless client filesystem locations
The /export/exec directory contains a set of directories specific to a release of the operating system, and processor architecture. For example, a Solaris 7 SPARC client would look for a directory called /export/exec/Solaris_2.7_sparc.all/usr. If all clients have the same processor architecture as the server, then /export/exec/<os-release-name>_<processor_name>.all will contain symbolic links to the server's /usr filesystem.To configure a server with many disks and many clients, create several directories for root and swap filesystems and distribute them over several disks. For example, on a server with two disks, split the /export/root and /export/swap filesystems, as shown in Table 8-2.
Table 8-2. Diskless client filesystems on two disks
Some implementations (not the AdminSuitesoftware) of the client installation tools do not allow you to specify a root or swap filesystem directory other than /export/root or /export/swap. Perform the installation using the tools' defaults, and after the client has been installed, move its root and swap filesystems. After moving the client's filesystems, be sure to update the bootparams file and NIS map with the new filesystem locations.As an alternative to performing an installation and then juggling directories, use symbolic links to point the /export subdirectories to the desired disk for this client. To force an installation on /export/root2 and /export/swap2, for example, create the following symbolic links on the diskless client server:
Verify that the bootparams entries for the client reflect the actual location of its root and swap filesystems, and also check the client's /etc/vfstab file to be sure it mounts its filesystems from /export/root2 and /export/swap2. If the client's /etc/vfstab file contains the generic /export/root or /export/swap pathnames, the client won't be able to boot if these symbolic links point to the wrong subdirectories.server# cd /export server# ln -s root2 root server# ln -s swap2 swap
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