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Help an aspiring farmer...

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Cuda

Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2003
Location
West Virginia
I should have several machines (older) which I plan to use strictly for folding coming my way by the end of the week. The possibility exists, that I may also have a shot of rummaging through several hundred computers to pick and choose what I want.
If all goes well, I'm going to build a folding farm.
The first group of computers are coming from a friend and I am certain I will get them, as soon as he tracks them all down. For this group, I need to know the best way to set them up in as little space as possible. I have a four port linksys cable router right now. Currently there are two ports available. I am also building another rig myself out of spare parts and scrounged items.
The new rig is:
NF7-s 1.1
1700 T'Bred B DUT3C
20 gig hdd (thanks Christof)
an old NVidea mx video card
ram...whatever I can find
etc...etc...

Is it possible to use the new rig as a folding server for the farm units with only the server connected to the router?

In other words, I have no idea what the heck I'm doing here!
PLEASE HELP!!

I'll get into the other, hopefully larger group, after I know for sure it's a reality.
 

Arkaine23

Captain Random Senior Evil
Joined
Nov 8, 2001
You're going to need more equipment. I'd get a switch and plug it into your router. You'll lose one router port and one port off the switch doing so, so you probably want an 8 port or larger switch.

If every machine has a hdd, you can just install linux on them and I can help you out with that. Otherwise, you'd need to pay a lot of money for extra windows licenses, unless they arlaredy have windows on them...

If you really wanted to save some space, you could remove the hard drive and case from each box and build a rack. You could either setup an LTSP server on a single box with a hard drive so you could netowrk boot the dummy terminals, or you could give each one a cd-rom drive and an overclockix or overfoldix CD, and boot from the CD.

How fast are these boxes? Under 700mhz is hardly worth it, and you shoud maybe consider selling them locally so you can afford to build a couple of boxes with better hardware. Electricity can get to be pretty expensive with a large folding farm.
 
OP
Cuda

Cuda

Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2003
Location
West Virginia
Arkaine23 said:

If you really wanted to save some space, you could remove the hard drive and case from each box and build a rack. You could either setup an LTSP server on a single box with a hard drive so you could netowrk boot the dummy terminals, or you could give each one a cd-rom drive and an overclockix or overfoldix CD, and boot from the CD.

How fast are these boxes? Under 700mhz is hardly worth it, and you shoud maybe consider selling them locally so you can afford to build a couple of boxes with better hardware. Electricity can get to be pretty expensive with a large folding farm.

It is the space saving idea I am interested in and using the LTSP server (the 1700 T'Bred rig). As far as how fast they are, I don't know yet, but I promised the person giving them to me that they would be used for folding. I have a PIII 450, and it is pretty slow. It takes five days for it to do what the rig in my sig does in 24 hours. But no matter, if they are at least 450 or higher, I will use them until I can replace them with faster rigs as time goes by.

I guess each one will need an eithernet card correct?
 

Arkaine23

Captain Random Senior Evil
Joined
Nov 8, 2001
Yup. Setting up an LTSP server would be a little hard but well worth it and there are some great guides out there for doing it.

Some things to think about are- You might need to force the network cards involved to be PXE-bootable, your LTSP server will become your network's DHCP server, so you will be diabling DHCP in your router, or you'll have 2 subnets, one running DHCP from your router and the other solely for your diskless farm.
 
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OP
Cuda

Cuda

Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2003
Location
West Virginia
There is a good chance that these machines already have eithernet cards in them, since the person I'm getting them from does have a network in his company.
If I set it up with the LTSP server, will that affect the two machines I already have on my router, which are running Windows XP?
 

Arkaine23

Captain Random Senior Evil
Joined
Nov 8, 2001
It depends. Basically, your router is assiging an internal IP address to any box connected to it. This address starts with 192.168... This is called DHCP. Dynamic Host Communication Protocol.

If you were running an LTSP/DHCP server, it could either be added to your network-

1) You disable DHCP in your router. You setup the LTSP server to be a DHCP server for your whole network. Your windows XP boxes would adjust to the change without trouble. You can plug in a switch to the open port on your router and hook all your diskless boxes into it.

2) You setup the LTSP server to be a DHCP server, but the IP addresses it assigns to other boxes are in a different subnet... say 10.192.168.xxx addresses for instance. Then the LTSP server will need two network cards, one plugged into your router and the other plugged into a switch. All your diskless boxes will also be plugged into this switch. In this way, your diskless linux farm is a sub-network of your main network and the LTSP/DHCP server acts as a gateway.


The first option is going to be eaiser.

Undertaking a project like this is going to teach a few things about networking and also about linux.


About network cards- They probably will have them. But will the bios allow them to be PXE-booted by the server? There is a trick to make that possible. I'll dig up the main guide for diskless folding which has a link on how to do that.

http://home.comcast.net/~bturmelle/diskless.html
 
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Cuda

Cuda

Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2003
Location
West Virginia
I don't mind learning. So, if I go with the first option the windows machines would get their ip from the LTSP server instead of the router correct? Would I also plug the Windows machines into the switch as well as the diskless folders? Or should I leave them on the router? I know these are stupid questions, but what the heck, nobody was born knowing how to do this:)
 
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Cuda

Cuda

Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2003
Location
West Virginia
Thanks Christoph, It's going to good use. (btw...i figured out the heatware linky thing too...:) )

OK, I looked over the link you left Arkaine23, I think I can follow it. That should address/correct the PXE problem correct?
 

Arkaine23

Captain Random Senior Evil
Joined
Nov 8, 2001
Right, that's how you can get that to work if the network card is not built into a motherboard that has the boot from network option in its bios.
 
OP
Cuda

Cuda

Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2003
Location
West Virginia
Great. Thanks for all of your help. I should know a lot more in the next couple of days as far as the new machines go. I think I have enough information to really screw myself up. I'll post more questions as soon as I am hopelessly lost and smoke is driving me out of the house :D