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This is a discussion on Windows Server 2003 deployment within the Windows Servers forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. Hi, I am trying to run my diskless workstation via a server, but when I try to install wndows server


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Old 10-11-2011, 04:17 PM   #1
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Hi, I am trying to run my diskless workstation via a server, but when I try to install wndows server to them via network, they cannot read the server's hard-drive on which to install the operating system. How do I make the server's hard-drive visible to the other diskless client computers. I have installed anl the DHCP and DS and RIS, now I dont know how to get the diskless client wokstations to use the server's harddrive. Pliz help

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Old 10-12-2011, 03:58 AM   #2
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Hello,

I dont really understand what you are trying to do. Do you have some access terminals that you are trying to use? Is it a virtual machine?


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Old 10-12-2011, 07:52 AM   #3
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Is this for a dumb terminal with 2003 terminal services??
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Old 10-12-2011, 03:20 PM   #4
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Microsoft does not support a diskless workstation per say. MS does support thin clients but those have windows CE
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Old 10-12-2011, 08:43 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by collvuyi View Post
Hi, I am trying to run my diskless workstation via a server, but when I try to install wndows server to them via network, they cannot read the server's hard-drive on which to install the operating system. How do I make the server's hard-drive visible to the other diskless client computers. I have installed anl the DHCP and DS and RIS, now I dont know how to get the diskless client wokstations to use the server's harddrive. Pliz help
If these are booted using either fiber or iscsi, the driver necessary must exist inside your boot media (a 2003 DVD, for example, has neither by default). You either need to build these using media that has the correct driver already included in the media, or you have to deploy using a WinPE image that includes the driver (in either case, the driver needs to be available from boot through the whole process, and then in the OS itself once installed).

Diskless workstations are indeed supported, but they don't work "out of the box".
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Old 10-13-2011, 09:49 AM   #6
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cluberti I would love to see a link that says how to use a diskless workstation in todays MS environment especially one that is diskless and can use a iscsi initator to mount a disk on the server.
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Old 10-18-2011, 06:39 AM   #7
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Hey Dave, I am trying to have diskless computers boot from the server's operating system, What is the easiest way to configure them. Someone told me about Terminal Services, can you tell me how to set up the diskless computers to run from the Server's Operating system, its Windows Server 2003.
Thanx in Advance
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Old 10-18-2011, 12:52 PM   #8
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Hopefully cluberti can chime in with some links.

Been my experience in NT days you could so a kind of diskless workstation using Network Administrator to create network boot floppy or cdroms. But that only allowed you to map drives to the server or run a workstation install from the server which later was replaced with RIS.

I run a thin client environment. A thin client is diskless but loads a OS like xp ce from builtin flash. Wyse, coconut computer and others like HP offer these devices. They connect to a terminal server and provide a user desktop which is that of the server desktop. You have to run gpo restrictions so they can't mess with the server itself.

We run Citrix on top of terminal services for better enterprise control. This allows us to use both thin clients as well as doing published apps which allows us to put a terminal window on a desktop to run a application.

I believe Linux has some true diskless workstation stuff but its been awhile and I don't have any links
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Old 10-18-2011, 03:45 PM   #9
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You will need a specific version of the iSCSI initiator, and details on acquisition and usage of that initiator to create a boot volume for Server 2003 SP1 (or higher) are in the .doc file located here:
Download Details - Microsoft Download Center - Microsoft iSCSI Software Initiator Version 2.08

You may also need the info in the following two KB articles:
How to install and configure the DHCP service for iSCSI Network Boot configuration in Windows Server 2003

How to enable the iSCSI boot sequence on a network adapter after you install the Microsoft iSCSI Boot Software Initiator


Be aware of some KB articles specific to iSCSI boot on 2003, though - it's most definitely NOT perfect, and you need to be very careful when configuring and using an iSCSI boot volume (these aren't the only articles, just the ones I have hit the most over the years):
A Windows Server 2003 SP2-based iSCSI boot server cannot generate dump files if the server uses a Storport virtual miniport as the LUN controller

You may experience unpredictable results in Windows Server 2003 when you start the operating system from iSCSI

An IP address of 0.0.0.0 is assigned to a network adapter on a Windows Server 2003-based computer that uses two network adapters and that uses an iSCSI boot configuration
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Old 10-18-2011, 04:03 PM   #10
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Thanks for the links cluberti!

I don't think we are talking the same thing when saying "diskless workstation"

diskless workstation definition of diskless workstation in the Free Online Encyclopedia.
Diskless node - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Purpose of iscsi is SAN access
"The Microsoft iSCSI software initiator makes it possible for businesses to take advantage of existing network infrastructure to enable block-based Storage Area Networks without having to invest in additional hardware. "

I have also seen where this is used to mount NAS volumes.

So we have a way of booting
we have a way of accessing server storage.

"The operating system (OS) for a diskless node is loaded from a server, using network booting."

What in Microsoft allows downloading and mounting of a OS on this diskless station?

RIS goes to a hard drive. I don't know of any MS implementation that can accomplish this. Does anyone?

Now Linux is different. Here is a how to
HOWTO set up a Network with Diskless Workstations using Debian GNU/Linux
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Old 10-18-2011, 07:00 PM   #11
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You can't completely diskless boot with iSCSI in 2003 right away, because you have to first build Windows on that server (or identical hardware) and then sysprep and create an image of that installation to the iSCSI LUN that will eventually host the boot volume, as per the instructions in uguide.doc in the first link above. Only then can you boot diskless on that client, using the DHCP reservation for that client (again, as per the guide).

Basically, you *will* need a server with a local disk that matches that hardware to use to build your "master image" and sysprep on that hardware, then follow the guide linked above to create the LUN on your backend storage (as necessary), image the hard disk from that particular server to the LUN (from a WinPE environment), and copy that off as your "master image" somewhere safe. Lastly, you need to set up the DHCP options and reservations on your DHCP server for the servers in your environment that will then boot diskless, create a LUN and copy the "master image" to that LUN for each server you will boot diskless, etc. This, at least for server 2003, is *not* a simple or easy process. It does work, however, and once you've created your image you can boot diskless in a DHCP environment.

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