Dec 18, 2014

How-To Diskless AoE – 01 Overview of the Solution

This How-To enable a Windows based solution that uses AoE technology to bring an entirely new range of solutions, flexibility and cost reductions to businesses. The feature of AoE is a server based network where software applications and programs are held on the server, and runs on Client PCs (Diskless Node). Therefore, Client PCs do not require a hard disk anymore. Centralizing operating system data by deploying AoE enables storage virtualization at the level of the local hard drive, and allows extremely fast server and desktop deployment. This makes AoE Diskless an ideal network management software which is suitable for all kinds of networked environment industries such as Education Institutions, Training Centers, Offices, Cybercafé, Karaoke, and can also be used in cluster computing.

Until today, administrators or technical support staffs are still having frustrations when it comes to troubleshooting and maintaining a group of networked PCs. The majority of problems faced by administrator or technical support staff in a networking environment are:-
  • Programs/Applications/Games/Windows Updates to all PCs
  • Maintain different PC specification
  • Efficiency and Troubleshooting of PCs
  • Identifying faulty hardware and replacements
  • Hard disk limitation and upgrades
  • Virus attacks and Virus removal
  • Operating System Backup / Restoration
  • Windows / Files Protection
  • Freeze/Unfreeze PCs when doing updates (Recovery system)
Listed below are some quick facts if you use this How-To:

  • Investment for hard disk and future hard disk upgrade
  • Monthly electricity bill, go Green
  • Recovery software / hardware
  • Backup / cloning software and other update software
  • Antivirus / Anti Trojan software
  • Faulty hard disks replacements
  • Programs/Applications/Games/Windows Update to all PCs
  • PC maintenance enabling easy manage on multiple branches remotely
  • Virus attacks and Virus removal
  • Windows / Files Protection
  • Maintaining different specification PCs
  • Operating System Backup / Restoration
  • Freeze/Unfreeze (Recovery system)
  • Different Client PC specification with different drivers (Motherboard / Display / Sound / etc)
  • Multi Restore Points
  • Multi Sync between Servers
  • Multiple Images – Multiple Window. (Example: 10PC using English Windows + 10PC Malay Windows + 10PC Chinese Windows)
What is AoE ?

ATA over Ethernet (AoE) is an open standards based protocol that allows direct network access to disk drives by client hosts. Using disk storage arrays that support AoE shared storage networks (SAN) can be built that leverage the power of “Raw” Layer 2 Ethernet.
  • AoE has been native in the Linux kernel since 2005
  • AoE delivers a simple, high performance, low cost alternative to iSCSI and FibreChannel for networked block storage by eliminating the processing overhead of TCP/IP.
  • Layer 2 Protocol which encapsulates ATA (the command set used by most commodity disk) in Ethernet Frames – An Ethernet request which has in it, give me block ‘00’ from disk ‘01’ on shelf ‘1’.

AoE is a stateless protocol which consists of request messages sent to the AoE server and reply messages returned to the client host.

Messages have two formats:
  • ATA Message
  • Config/Query Messages
AoE utilizes the standard Ethernet MAC header for IEEE 802.3 Ethernet frames and has a registered Ethernet type of 0x88A2.

Legacy Fibre Channel and iSCSI protocols consist of several complex software layers see the diagram below. These layers force users through mandatory SAN point-to-point connection configuration procedures for each network path for all storage LUNs. Ethernet SAN is a connectionless protocol that connects servers and storage directly across layer 2 Ethernet. It does not require TCP/IP or user configured multi-path IO (MPIO) software. The use of layer 2 Ethernet represents a simpler approach for SAN.


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