#215 – Stateless Compute Machines

#215 – Stateless Compute Machines

Chris EvansGarbage Collection, NVMe, SmartNICs, Storage Hardware, Storage Unpacked Podcast

In this week’s episode, Chris and Martin discuss network booting and the ability to create completely stateless servers. The idea of SAN booting has been around for two decades, enabling both the operating system disk and data disks to be delivered from SAN storage. NVMe/TCP and other NVMe-oF protocols promise the ability to implement the same capability for modern systems. Can this be done today? Why are more servers not booted from SAN? Is this a technical issue or one of practicality and comfort? With large-scale computing platforms, perhaps network booting will make (or already has made) a comeback.

Elapsed Time: 00:30:41


  • 00:00:00 – Intros
  • 00:01:25 – vSphere 7 deprecates USB sticks – storm in a teacup?
  • 00:02:40 – End users can still install from USB, but boot will be removed
  • 00:05:25 – Is USB media being used for cost saving or convenience?
  • 00:07:55 – Why do we still use local boot devices?
  • 00:08:30 – HCI solutions still need local drives
  • 00:09:35 – We still treat servers like pets
  • 00:11:55 – Everything should be configurable via software
  • 00:13:00 – Does the O/S represent a challenge for SAN boot?
  • 00:14:57 – SAN Boot is at least 15-20 years old
  • 00:16:15 – SAN Boot configuration is fiddly
  • 00:19:25 – Does NVMe/TCP allow network booting?
  • 00:21:00 – Does AWS Nitro enable SAN booting?
  • 00:21:45 – Will Project Monterey be used to SAN boot ESXi?
  • 00:24:05 – Nebulon is HCI with SAN boot
  • 00:27:00 – Composable infrastructure is a key network boot use case
  • 00:29:05 – Wrap Up

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