Diskless (and diskfull) computing made easy
oneSIS is an open-source software package aimed at simplifying
diskless cluster management.
It is a simple and highly flexible method for deploying and managing a system
image for diskless systems that can turn any
supported Linux distribution into
a master image
capable of being used in a diskless environment. One image is sufficient for
of nodes. Functional groups of nodes are easy to define, and any single
node or group of nodes can easily be configured to behave independently.
Configuration is simple. All node differences are defined in a
central configuration file, providing unprecedented simplicity
and clarity for system administrators. oneSIS can be used to manage diskless
systems using NFS root, and potentially root over any other network filesystem
or network storage system (such as iSCSI, iSER, SRP, Fiber Channel).
It can be used to manage the root filesystem in any kind of diskless
environment from desktops to high availability web servers to high
performance compute clusters.
Click here to learn more about oneSIS.
Consider this common scenario in HPC and data centers today: even with a team
of highly skilled administrators, it is hard to keep up with the demand
required to maintain every system. Admins are often strained to keep the
many different types of computers they have all
functioning as they should. The efforts of the sysadmins are often duplicated
over and over on tasks such as installing new systems, new system software, and
individually handling configuration problems when they arise on each of the
different systems. Here is where oneSIS can help.
Consider an alternative scenario: in a oneSIS environment, all an admin
to do is reboot the machines in order for them to enter into any
pre-configured operational environment. Any number of these 'operational
environments', or images, can exist. Think of them as a container for the
system software, configuration, and behavior of whatever group of nodes the
image was designed to run on. For instance, an image could be built that is
tailored to manage the operational
necessities of running a large multi-user cluster. It would contain the
software, configuration, and behavior of compute nodes, login nodes, admin
I/O nodes, and possibly more. Another image could be built around the latest
linux distribution that your sysadmin team is currently testing for a future
You could have an image configured to handle
web servers, application servers, database programs, render farms, even user
desktops: it doesn't matter.
oneSIS enables an administrator to create system images that define the
behavior of the entire computing infrastructure, or just a bunch of identical
nodes. It doesn't insert some administration interface for configuring
your system: any linux admin will still feel right at home. It does
provide some helper utilities, but it mainly just allows
an admin to precisely define the behavior of many kinds of machines all from
the same root image. The image can be configured for any target use,
and can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it. With a
single image controlling the behavior of every machine,
overall system complexity and system administration overhead is
dramatically reduced. It also tends
to a very stable environment since an administrator can focus on hardening
one single system instead of spreading attention thin across many different
When booting diskless (NFSroot), any subset of nodes can be booted into any
image you want. Changes to an image are seen by all nodes instantaneously.
image is interchangeable with the speed of a reboot, and any image can be
cloned with a simple copy.
A single oneSIS image can contain the software,
configuration, and behavior of many functionally different systems at once.
A single image can be used without any change on any number of
functionally different machines. oneSIS can contain the
software, configuration, and behavior of two or more clusters almost as easily
Any working modifications made to one system can be propagated to all other
systems by performing a simple synchronization. You can be confident the
of each configured type of node will be the same because the image is
always exactly the same no matter which machine is using it.
On local networks, the image can be cloned as many times as necessary, with
each clone capable of serving the image out to as many diskless clients as
the machine/network is capable of handling. NFS bottlenecks due to large
numbers of diskless clients can be easily distributed to whatever scale is
necessary. All nodes determine their role at boot time, and then operate
like normal using the
configuration designed for that role. The configuration of any node can be
updated at run-time (after the node has booted) and it is even
possible to change the functional role of any node 'on the fly'.
oneSIS is a new way for building and maintaining compute systems of any size.
It reduces the cost of cluster administration by creating an environment that
is easier to maintain. It is lightweight, easy to configure, and flexible
enough to adapt to any environment.
It requires no processor overhead on client nodes, and no kernel
It provides a
simple, clean interface for centrally controlling any number of diverse
clients from a single system image. Simply put, it is an easier way to manage