AOE boot support

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AOE boot support

Postby ldc » Thu Feb 14, 2008 2:29 pm


I have been using Gentoo for quite some time, and for my workstation it's starting to feel a bit "too much" since i just want it 'to work'.. Currently i have a setup where i'm booting via AoE (ATA Over Ethernet) with the plain old AoE driver in the kernel and using a custom initrd for the AoE disk-discovery.

So my feature-request is if it would be possible to implement AoE disk-discovery support in the initrd to enable diskless booting?
If so i'm willing to help out with this, if needed, but it should be quite straightforward to implement.

Basically all that's needed is something like this:
1. get the kernel and initrd by whatever means you want (USB boot / tftp boot etc)
2. in the initrd we should then bring up the network interface(s) and might be good to be able to specify what driver/interface that is needed. Then do a discovery (echo 1 >/dev/etherd/discover ) of what disks are available and then use one of those to boot.

A couple of ideas i have had (but not played around with) is:
- Use some dhcp-options to specify what kernel-options should be used (like root-fs etc)
- Put a AoE server on some NAS server (like the Maxtor OneTouch that runs some embedded linux dist.)
- Some automatic scripts to enable configuration of a new client and create the corresponding disks etc.
- Using LVM snapshots during upgrades to failback on if something goes wrong.

Been using AoE-booting for about 8 months here with the AoE server qaoed with good performance and stability. The only thing i had problems with initially was irritating hangs where the client would lose contact with the server due to inactivity (during high load on the server) but that was easy to workaround with increasing the aoe.aoe_deadsecs to a couple of minutes just to make sure we only lose contact if the server goes down.. (server-restart time / 1.5 is usually a good thing if writecache is enabled in qaoed)

Still not a mint-user but might be very soon if this would get implemented ;)

If any of the developers wants to play with this or needs help with scripts or coding feel free to contact me..

My custom initrd is available here for reference.

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Re: AOE boot support

Postby Zwopper » Tue Feb 19, 2008 8:29 am

This sounds like a REALLY usefull feature!
I can imagine lots of uses for it.
In a company using this on thin clients would be great for instance.
This is something we need to get in to the corporate market I think.
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