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A framework for diskless computing

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Logo of Coinboot

Message from the Maintainer: Due to some priority changes in my life I am not able to put as much effort in here as needed. Some things might be broken. For 2021 a major rehaul is planned and prepared in the background. Helping hands are always welcome.

Coinboot Build Status

Coinboot is a framework for diskless computing.

Coinboot was initially made to run GPU-based blockchain hashing on mining farms with a minimal TCO.
Coinboot can also be used to run various other number crunching workloads like
video rendering or machine learning with a minimal TCO.

Its core features are:

  • Running Diskless

With Coinboot there is no need to equip machines with storage media like SSDs, HDDs or USB flash drives.
All machines are booting the operating system over network and run completely from memory, in-memory.

  • Lightweight Footprint

Coinboot has a lightweight footprint.
Driven by the demand to run sufficiently on hundreds of machines with commodity 1 Gbit/s network hardware.

  • Familiar Usability

No bumpy ride.
Coinboot feels just like every other Debian/Ubuntu-based system.

  • Easy Expandability

Need to expand your worker nodes with further configuration, software, libraries, proprietary drivers?
By packing them as Coinboot plugin you can use them right after your machines have booted.
Without the overhead caused by configuration managment or running complex orchestration infrastructure.

  • Insights out of the box

Coinboot comes with Loki integrated for log managment.
Providing the log files of your worker nodes at a glance.

This repository contains the Coinboot Server Docker container.
This container includes all services to get Coinboot up and running and boot diskless Coinboot Worker nodes over network.

Talk at All Systems Go! 2019 conference

Coinboot - Cost effective, diskless GPU clusters for blockchain hashing and beyond


Docker ≥ 18.06.0-ce

Docker Compose ≥ 1.25.0



Clone this repository on the host where you want to execute the Coinboot Docker container.

IP address and network

Take care that your Docker host has assigned an IP address matching to the

specified at
For example the Docker host has assigned
then a matching DHCP-range configuration is:
Also verify that the network adapter you assigned this IP address on your Docker host is connected to the same L2/broadcast domain as the machines you want to boot with Coinboot.

Environment variables

You can hand over environment variables to the worker nodes booting with Coinboot.
This way you can keep the configuration of your Coinboot Worker nodes at one point.
Just put these variables in a file in the directory

These variables are added to
on the worker nodes during boot and are exported and available for login shells on these nodes.
If these variables are not exported and available, e.g. in Systemd units, just source the file
to make them available.

There are also mandatory environment variables which are required to be configured.

Mandatory environment variables

| Variable | Default | Description | | -------------------- |:-------------:| -----------------------------------------------------------------------| |

| IP address at which the services of the Coinboot server should listen. |

RootFS and Kernel

The RootFS and Kernel are downloaded autmatically when the Coinboot Server Docker container is started based on the

set at
. Out of the box the latest available release is used.

You can build your own Coinboot base image using: coinboot-debirf.
Or download a pre-build daily release at:
These builds are made daily to contain all current packages updates and security fixes. The RootFS (

) and Kernel (
) you want to use are to be placed in the directory


Coinboot plugins should be placed into the directory


You can create your own plugins (see below) or pick some at:

DHCP configuration

Put your own

DHCP server configuration in
or edit the existing configuration file

In the most cases you should only need to configure:

  • DHCP lease range
  • DNS server
  • Default network gateway

IP address and network

Take care that your Docker host has assigned an IP address matching to the

specified at

For example the Docker host has assigned
then a matching DHCP-range configuration is:

Also verify that the network adapter you assigned this IP address on your Docker host is connected to the same L2/broadcast domain as the machines you want to boot with Coinboot.

Configure PXE network boot on worker nodes

Configure the BIOS/Firmware of the worker nodes to boot over network with PXE.

Hardware without PXE support

Some mainboards for crypto mining don't have support for PXE network booting by the BIOS/Firmware.
In this case Coinboot can be booted via chainloading by a network bootloader from a local boot drive of the worker node.
Boot scheme in such a scenario is: GRUB(local SDD) → iPXE(local SSD) → iPXE(Network) → Coinboot OS
To setup this chainloading run

on the worker node and follow the instructions provided by the script.

Start the Coinboot Server Docker container

Just bring the Coinboot Server Docker and Graylog containers up with

$ docker-compose up -d

Boot your worker nodes with Coinboot

Start your worker nodes.
After they have booted Coinboot over network you can login to your machines over

Default credentials are:
  • login:
  • password:

Please change the password via creating a Coinboot Plugin.


To see what's currently going on you can look at the logfiles of the Coinboot Docker container.
For instance to see the DHCP lease hand-shakes happen or what plugins are delivered.

$ docker-compose logs -f coinboot

Centralized log managment with Loki

Coinboot comes with Loki as centralized log management collecting iPXE bootloader and Kernel message of all your worker nodes.

Screenshot of Loki Logs in Grafana Explore

Login with your web browser at the preconfigured Grafana instance: http://your-Docker-host-IP:3000`

  • login

  • password:


Change the initial password as suggested by Grafana.

Get to the Explore section and select the worker node by

label to browse the log files of individual worker nodes.
For more details about the usage of the Grafana Explore for exploring log files please refer to the logs section of the Grafana Explore documentation.

Test and development environment

There is Vagrant environment for developing purposes. It consists of two Vagrant machines: One with the the Coinboot Server Docker container and one machine acting as worker node, which boots over PXE.

To spin up the Vagrant machines execute:

$ vagrant up

Pack your own Coinboot plugins

A Coinboot plugin is the way to go to extend the functionality of machines that boot with Coinboot.
Basically a Coinboot plugin is just set of file system changes that is applied at boot time.

Clone the repository to get

$ git clone [email protected]:frzb/coinboot-plugins.git


Usage: coinbootmaker [-i] -p  

-i Interactive mode - opens a shell in the build environment -p Plugin to build -h Display this help



interactivly (
$ ./coinbootmaker -i /tmp/coinboot-initramfs-4.15.0-43-generic 
  • You are entering the build environment

  • Execute

    $ start
  • Do your changes to the system - e.g. install packages and edit configuration files.

  • When your are done: Execute

    $ finish 
  • Place the created plugin archive into

    on the host where you run the Coinboot Docker container

Up on the next boot the changes your made in your plugin are ready to be used on your Coinboot machines!

Creation of plugins can also be scripted. Just do whatever you want to do between the lines

$ start
$ finish 

For more details about creating plugins and example plugins please refer to .




Gunter Miegel [email protected]


Fork this repo. Use the test- and development environment provided. Make a pull request to this repo.

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