Diskless Remote Boot in Linux
DRBL/Clonezilla FAQ/Q&A
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Common : General FAQ
  1. What are the differences between DRBL and LTSP ?
  2. What kind of server and client should I buy if I want to use DRBL ?
  3. Where can I download the source codes ?
What are the differences between DRBL and LTSP ?
DRBL uses PXE or etherboot, which is similar to Linux Terminal Server Project (LTSP), to boot the client machine. While LTSP is a centralized server, all the client machine users' access the LTSP server to run their applications on it. The client's keyboard and mouse are used to input whereas the client's monitor is used to display the results. This is great when useing a thin client. The server requirements must be increased when more than 20 or 30 clients are being used. On the other hand, DRBL uses NFS and NIS to provide boot services to the client machines. In essence, the DRBL server is just a NFS and NIS server. All users from all client machines just access the DRBL server to request files or authentication. Packages are loaded to the client machines and they use their own CPU and RAM for processing. A regular PC can be used as the DRBL server since it is only serving files and authenticating. The client machines, however, should be powerful enough to run the applications they need. Typical installations using DRBL to deploy the Linux classroom have around 30 to 40 clients.
///NOTE/// From LTSP 5.0, there is a fat client (diskless workstation, LowFat client) mode, it's basically quite similar to DRBL.
Besides the diskless (fat/powerful) client mode provided by DRBL, DRBL provides other functions, such as:
(a) Clonezilla, the opensource clone system. It's a server version of imaging tool, similar to Ghost server edition, True image or Rembo. By using Clonezilla, you can clone a 5.6 GBytes system image to 40 computers within 10 minutes via multicasting.
(b) Small Linux diskless soltion. DRBL provides Damn Small Linux (DSL), PuppyLinux... for clients. You can import those small Linux distributions and let client boot from PXE without hardisk, CD or USB flash drive.
(c) Diskless FreeDOS for clients.
(d) Diskless memtest for clients.
(e) Install GNU/Linux (Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, CentOS, Mandriva, SuSE...) for clients from network.
LTSP and DRBL each have their own benefits. Choose the one that is best suited to your needs.
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