[clug-talk] OT: Help me pick my hardware

Gustin Johnson gustin at meganerd.ca
Thu Mar 29 09:00:47 PDT 2012

Why the dedication to removing /sys?  Regardless if you think you need it
or not, what is it you are trying to accomplish?  It is there for a reason,
so in my opinion one should need a really good reason for deleting it.
 Even on embedded machines I leave it alone.

If you plan on having a bunch of these systems running at once, have a look
at puppet or chef.

On Thu, Mar 29, 2012 at 9:49 AM, Royce Souther <osgnuru at gmail.com> wrote:

> I disagree about /sys and after reading your link I feel I am safe to
> remove it from servers. /sys would get a lot of use on a desktop computer
> that is constantly having a variety of USB devices plugged in and removed
> but on a server where your hardware better not be changing it is not
> needed. Unless you have a goofy NIC but in that case I would spend a few
> bucks and buy a better quality NIC.
> I will find out in a few minutes if I am right or not. I just finised
> installing CentOS 6.2 x86_64 on a 4GB USB stick. It only takes up 2GB of
> space. I am able to run the full desktop, I am on FF right now typing this
> email. XFS packages are installing. I will change my /tmp /sys and /var/log
> in a minute.
> One thing I though of with this is that a USB booting server will need to
> use DHCP client so another system on my network will have to be the DHCP
> server. I have that already. I also have a plan so that if the main DHCP
> server goes down the USB servers can set their IP staticlly using the last
> byte of their MAC as the last byte of their IP. I have done that before and
> it works well. Doing this I can dd an image of the USB stick onto my laptop
> and use that image to clone as many USB sticks as I like. I am also going
> to setup rsync so that the all the packages and changes I make to one of
> the servers gets copied to the others.
> Using 4GB sticks for now, very cheap from Wal-Mart. I have better quality
> ones on the way, 16GB. I will keep the image as 4GB and make the rest of
> the stick as swap. I will setup a boot script to see if the rest of the
> drive is swap and if not then it will format it as swap. This will make my
> images automatically size as I put it on larger and larger sticks. Need
> more RAM/swap for xfs_check and xfs_repair, just drop in a bigger stick.
> Having lots of fun! Thanks again Dan for the great idea. So simple, I
> don't know why I have never heard of this before.
> CentOS was a pain to install the USB stick. Had to use a 64bit laptop,
> remove all hard drives, at POST insert the target stick first then the
> install USB stick that has CentOS installer on it that I made using
> Unetbootin. If you have not tried Unetbootin you should, great tool. No
> more burning CD's or DVD's.
> On Mon, Mar 26, 2012 at 12:03 PM, Gustin Johnson <gustin at meganerd.ca>wrote:
>> On Mon, Mar 26, 2012 at 6:52 AM, Royce Souther <osgnuru at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> /sys should not be needed in a server unless you have a goofy NIC that
>>> needs proprietary firmware ROM to work. I remove it from my servers without
>>> issue.
>> No, leave /sys alone.  A lot more than that happens in /sys.  See the
>> following:
>>  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sysfs
>> /proc does not actually exist on the physical file system. It is a
>>> special mount that maps to memory inside the running kernel and lets you
>>> see what the kernel is doing but no data is ever written to disk
>> /var/log can be redirected to a different log server on the network and
>>> that is a good way to find out what happens when the USB / root boot server
>>> dies
>>> /tmp can be mounted to a RAM disk
>>> And with those changes there should be very few write cycles to the USB
>>> memory stick and a quality thumb drive it could last many years. You can
>>> have a second or even a third USB stick connected to the USB ports and you
>>> can use dd and a cron script to once a day keep the other sticks up to date
>>> with the main boot stick, no need for RAID1 and IPMI will let you switch if
>>> the main stick dies.
>>> Thanks for the idea. I am going to try this. I will let you know how it
>>> goes.
>> If you are looking for a read only server, have a look at voyage linux (
>> http://linux.voyage.hk/ ).  This is what I use on CF cards in my
>> embedded servers (usually based on PC Engines or Soekris SBCs).  It is a
>> slightly customized Debian variant.  Very slim and designed to run on
>> limited write media (compact flash, usb flash, SSD, etc).
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