How to create a diskless ElasticHosts node

ElasticHosts customer Dan Barlow has found a neat way to add new app servers to an ElasticHosts system quickly, without having to copy a complete OS install. He’s also made the scripts he used available on github for others to copy and modify. Dan writes:

At $WORK we use ElasticHosts to provide a horizontally scalable app service, and we need to be able to add new app servers in less time than it takes to copy a complete working Debian system. Also we want to be running the same version of the same software on every server (think “security updates”) and we don’t want to be paying for another 3GB of Debian that we don’t really need on each box. So, we need that stuff to be shared. This is our approach: we use a read-only CD image for the root filesystem and then mount /usr and /home over NFS and a ramdisk (populated at boot) on /var.

It’s all done using standard Debian tools and setup. Dan’s blog post has complete instructions for setting it up on your system, and he welcomes comments. Thanks, Dan! We’re always interested to see clever uses of ElasticHosts — do drop us a line if you’ve been pushing the boundaries!