Diskless and dataless clients

Diskless and dataless clients are machines that are not capable of booting and running without the assistance of servers on a network.

As their names imply, diskless clients have no hard disk, and dataless clients have disks that are unable to hold all the data that may be required for operation. Diskless machines must mount paging space and all file systems from remote servers. Dataless machines can only use a local disk for paging space and the /tmp and /home file systems. Neither diskless nor dataless clients have a local boot image, and they must boot from servers on the network.

Defining a machine as diskless or dataless has the following advantages:
  • Cost savings

    No hard disk is required for diskless clients. Only a small hard disk is needed for dataless clients.

  • Manage software configurations on machines

    On diskless and dataless clients, the file system containing the BOS is mounted from a server. All client systems that mount the same file system for BOS run from identical software.

  • Manage storage of user data

    User data for diskless and dataless clients are stored on remote servers. A system administrator can manage storage allocation and data backups for the client machines by managing the data on the server, rather than on each machine separately.