[TUHS] RFS was: Re: UNIX of choice these days?

Larry McVoy lm at mcvoy.com
Sat Sep 30 05:22:41 AEST 2017


On Fri, Sep 29, 2017 at 03:19:19PM -0400, Dan Cross wrote:
> On Thu, Sep 28, 2017 at 6:20 PM, Larry McVoy <lm at mcvoy.com> wrote:
> > I dunno why all the hating on diskless.  They actually work, I used the
> > heck out of them.  For kernel work, stacking one on top of the other,
> > the test machine being diskless, was a cheap way to get a setup.
> >
> > Sure, disk was better and if your work load was write heavy then they
> > sucked (*), but for testing, for editing, that sort of thing, they were
> > fine.
> 
> We had a setup on Sun's running SunOS 4.1.x that I actually really
> liked; I believe it was referred to as "dataless". The root
> filesystem, /tmp and swap were local, along with scratch space on an
> arbitrarily named filesystem (I think we mounted that on /scratch, but
> I can't remember the details at this point). The difference between
> /tmp and /scratch was that the latter persisted across reboots and we
> backed it up. /usr, /usr/local came from a fileserver on the local
> ethernet and /home was automounted. Users didn't have local root
> access, and we kept / pretty well updated using rdist and some
> home-grown scripts; basically, we could throw / away at any time on
> any machine and rebuild it without losing much. 

That's how Sun ran their engineering setup by default.  Your home 
directory was on some file server and that's where you put long 
lived stuff or stuff you wanted other people to see.

The local disks were for performance and were optional.  You could do
the same thing diskless for an admin and they were perfectly happy.

I did more or less the same thing for 20 years at BitMover, worked
great.


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