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BIOS Today: A Pain In Sensitive Parts Of Anatomy
Clusters (started at Cluster Research Lab, Advanced Computing Lab, LANL)
- Nodes depend on vendor-supplied BIOS for booting
- BIOS normally relies on inherently unreliable legacy devices (floppy, HD) to boot the OS
- BIOS cannot deal with non-standard, experimental hardware
Need full control of the boot process, to the point that jobs in the queue might indicate which kernel to run, where to find root FS, etc.
Maintenance is a nightmare
- BIOSes are buggy and cannot be fixed (by user)
- The development toolchain is highly specialized (read: obsolete), difficult to come by, can be quite expensive
- Try wandering around a few hundred node cluster with a monitor and a keyboard to change one BIOS setting
Get rid of the legacy BIOS altogether!