PXE-booting Kontron PC104
Although we do not plan to run our PC/104 computers using remotely mounted file systems, it was useful to try to boot Linux PC/104 remotely. I followed what DAQ group did for the ROC booting where this is expected to be the main mode of operation due to a very large number of ROCs.
To set up the networking booting using PXE I use Bryan Moffit's instructions on how to boot Linux using DHCP/TFTP server. Bryan gave us (and Hall B) the CentOS 5.5 kernel which we put on somov-l1 machine. For Kontron PC/104 we had to use NO-PAE version of the kernel, otherwise it would not boot.
At first, we thought that it would be good to use /group/halld area to boot Linux remotely. And that is how I actually ran the Kontron PC/104. But after the cyber event it was not clear how useful and reliable it is going to be to require NFS mounting capability from some development subnets like the 36-subnet. So we decided from now on to keep both the TFTP server and the root file system on somov-l1 within our firewalled subnet. Then we will buy a server and switches in the fall of 2011 and have a Hall D dedicated subnet with its DHCP server.
Kontron PC104 booted successfully using Bryan's setup for NO-PAE CentOS 5.5 kernel. The Lniux worked fine and I could run IOC to control the gas system's Brooks0254 controlling modules via serial interface. But the system crashed overnight for unknown to me reason, I could not see what was happening. I am not sure the log server was running, plus it may have something to do with the fact that the root file system was NFS mounted. Eventually we need to boot this SBC from the local file system because this is the mode which we want to run during this experiment.