20131203

BitTorrent Lab Imaging Suite

For the past year, I have been working at my university as an Assistant Systems Administrator. One of my duties is to help with imaging the lab machines. We have been using various tools to accomplish this task, but none of them work perfectly. For the most part, they are unicast tools and don't scale very well. Some do have multicast support, but getting these services to actually use multicast and complete an imaging job is problematic at best.

At one point, a coworker and myself were trying to figure out a better way to transfer the disk images we deploy to our labs. BitTorrent was brought up. At the time we didn't have the resources to go down this path and ended up using another tool.

A few months later, I ended up writing a bash script that implements BitTorrent for deploying lab images (though it could very easily be used for other purposes).

Links:
Currently working on creating the actual documentation for these tools. 

In the meantime, this page will describe most of what needs to be done to "compile" the boot images. When you are done, you should have 2 different bootable images. All options necessary for use need to be set as kernel run time options, so it is advisable to PXE boot the kernel and initrd.gz and use PXELINUX to set the options.

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