On Thu, Sep 28, 2017 at 6:20 PM, Larry McVoy
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
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