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Small Tree Communications Facilitates Netboot Capability for Mac OS X Users

August 6, 2007 by Joe DiBenedetto

CHIPPEWA VALLEY, WI, August 6, 2007Small Tree Communications, a leader in networking and storage solutions, has recently completed work on new firmware for its single port optical Gigabit adapters that will allow users to NetBoot Apple systems that use Open Firmware Standard (this includes all of Apple’s Power PC systems). With NetBoot, users can boot from the network rather than from a local disk.
“Apple supports NetBoot today over their built in copper Ethernet interfaces,” stated Corky Seeber, president of Small Tree Communications. “With Small Tree’s new firmware, these same systems can be made to boot over the optical networks that are popular at military, law enforcement and national lab installations. In addition to booting the default NetBoot image, Small Tree’s cards are fully compatible with the Startup Disk tool. This allows users to select multiple NetBoot images and gives the flexibility to maintain several images for different system types. All of Small Tree’s PCI Express cards are compatible with Apple’s Intel based systems for remote boot using EFI.”

The NetBoot capability in Mac OS X’s server permits multiple Mac systems to boot from a single server-based disk image, instead of from their internal hard drive. This enables consumers to create a standard configuration and use it on all of the desktop systems in a department or classroom, or host multiple images customized for different workgroups. Users can create server configurations and run all of their servers from one image.

Revising the disk image on the NetBoot server will automatically update all the NetBoot configured systems the next time they restart. In addition, users can copy a directory server configuration to all clients using the same system image. For security-conscious organizations, NetBoot permits Mac computers to boot “disklessly” — without needing to read from or write to the computer’s local drive.

“A client can boot from our card and come up diskless,” remarked Seeber. “To support this feature we developed special open firmware drivers for our optical products. Standard Ethernet cards, including copper, won’t do this. The only other NetBoot option for customers is to use Apple’s internal ports.”

About Small Tree Communications
Small Tree is dedicated to providing and supporting a complete portfolio of high performance Ethernet-based networking and storage solutions for Apple Mac OS X customers. Small Tree’s team of networking and kernel developers has extensive experience in high performance computing and knows how to meet the demanding application requirements of Mac customers. Small Tree also provides contracted programming services for the Department of Defense. For more information about the company and its products, please call 1-866-STC4MAC, or visit

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