[Bioclusters] Imaging Xserves as compute nodes: OSX Server?

Bergman, Andrew L. andy_bergman at hms.harvard.edu
Wed Sep 28 15:15:22 EDT 2005

We're tryng to set up a straightforward way to image Xserves in an LSF
cluster. I've had some success using NetRestore for basic brute-force
imaging, and am also looking at radmind for maintaining incremental
updates to systems. Right now we have only about 10 Xserves, but this
number could grow.
However, one thing I'm not clear on:
OSX Server seems to require registration of the system to the OS (by MAC
address), at least for the Server functions to run, but possibly for
other reasons, too. When imaging lots of systems, you generally use one
image (or a minimal number, anyway) to mass-deploy and try to make the
procedure as automatic as possible, but is it necessary to touch each
system for registration purposes for each installation/upgrade? I really
hope not, but I'm not sure what the recommended way around this is.
My understanding is that Xserves require the Server version of OSX for
the hardware to all work properly with the OS, though please correct me
if I'm wrong here. Only one of our Xserves needs to run any actual OSX
Server processes (NetBoot, NFS) at this point, but I'm trying to avoid
larger issues with doing things this way (i.e. conflicts from cloning
"Server" on the same subnet). So, running OSX Client would probably suit
our needs for the compute nodes, but I'm not sure if that's viable?
I'm posting to this list since there's folks with large Mac clusters who
I guess have figured out good ways to handle imaging. The Apple docs are
useful in many ways, but can be vague, too.
Any suggestions for the best general tools for imaging the systems?
Anyone using radmind?
Andy Bergman
Research Systems Administrator
Research Information Technology Group
Harvard Medical School
phone: 617-432-7700
fax: 617-432-5962
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