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Automated Upgrades in a Lab Environment

Paul Riddle
University of Maryland, Baltimore County


Back in the late 80s and early 90s, when disk drives were expensive, it was more economical to buy one server and configure it with enough disk space to support several "diskless" workstations. Now that disks are cheaper, most workstations now come with internal disks which contain an entire bootable operating system. Most vendors provide ways of automatically upgrading multiple "diskless" workstations; unfortunately, the same is not true for "diskfull" configurations. Upgrading "diskfull" workstations typically involves either a lot of manpower or a lot of tedious, repetitive work. In any moderate to large sized network, something needs to be done to automate the upgrade process. This paper describes a scheme which we use to upgrade our various networks of Silicon Graphics workstations. Interestingly, it relies on the same technology that allows "diskless" workstations to boot over the network.

Download the full text of this paper in ASCII (18,942 bytes) and POSTSCRIPT (59,310 bytes) form.

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