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

Royce Souther osgnuru at gmail.com
Thu Mar 29 09:12:54 PDT 2012


I want to remove /sys to reduce the write cycles to the USB memory stick.
On a server I don't need the OS loading some driver for the sound card or
3D video acceleration to constantly be writing to the /sys. Not needed on a
server, don't care if pulsaudio crashes trying to load, probably going to
chmod 000 it to stop it from trying. Can't remove pulsaudio, dependencies
will remove have of Gnome and the tools I do need.

I am not trying to be an ass, you maybe right and I maybe wrong. All I am
saying is that I have always removed /sys from servers and have never had a
problem with that before.

I am not wanting to change distro at this time. Using CentOS at work and
learning to like it and it seems to be doing great on the USB stick so I
will try this and see how it goes.

Thanks for your input Gustin, I am taking all your advice into
consideration.

On Thu, Mar 29, 2012 at 10:00 AM, Gustin Johnson <gustin at meganerd.ca> wrote:

> 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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>>
>>
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