Linux Remote Booting a Diskless Computer
Remote booting a diskless computer involves using network services to load an operating system on a computer and running it. What this means is that the remote computer will have no need of a hard drive, floppy, CD-ROM or permanent storage media of any sort. It will only need its network card with a boot PROM on board in order to boot and run a remotely loaded operating system. Since there is no permanent storage media on the remote computer, it will need to store the operating system in its own RAM memory. Generally any programs that the user may want to run are also stored in RAM. However, the server can allow read access to the remote boot computer for accessing additional programs. Furthermore, depending on the boot mode, the user may be able to log onto the server and make changes to files they have permission to access. This will in no way compromise the security of the server and access to the server can be controlled easily by administrators. This is explained in more detail later.
Having diskless computers offers several advantages and disadvantages:
Operating Systems that can currently be run on the remote computer include Linux and DOS. Linux can be run in a terminal mode or X windows mode depending on the configuration set by the server. X windows mode is a graphical user mode similar to Microsoft Windows 95/98/NT/2000/etc.
There are several network services that must be provided by the server computer which are as follows: