We have several network services hosted on a FreeBSD system, and want it to come up quickly, so that these services (dhcp, nameservice, nis, tftp etc) are available when systems are restarting after a prolonged power failure.


That is, several times a year we have multi-hour power failures (generally starting at midnight because that is utility maintainance time) and our UPSs run out of power. That is OK, but we would like the systems to come up when the power returns, without going to the server room and restarting systems in a prescribed order.

In most cases the clients hang because essential services are not available, and in most cases the clients do not proceed to boot later when the service does become available.

So, is there advice anywhere about speeding up the boot process? It appears that most of the 1 minute 45 seconds to boot our system is wait time for checking the existence of non-existant hardware and would not be appreciable reduced with a faster CPU or disk. Are there kernel options that we could use to avoid this checking? Would recompiling the kernel in some specialized way help? Would pico-bsd be faster?

About the only thing I can find is to reduce the 10 second boot screen delay - but we need to cut more than 30 seconds.

The server is statically configured but the clients obtain network configuration from dhcp and pxeboot with nfs mounted root directories. Clients are FreeBSD and Linux, and we are not eager to give up pxeboot as it has greatly simplified maintainance.

Any suggestions, pointers much appreciated.

Daniel Feenberg
NBER
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