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Old 05-12-2009, 06:57 PM   #1
theNbomr
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Client tools for testing and configuring boot server


Hope this is a networking question. I think it could go in any number of forums.
I am trying to set up to serve Linux kernels and filesystems disklessly, and find the startup and test procedure a bit tedious.
Can anyone point to a tool or tools to allow me to see what is going on with my DHCP/TFTP/PXE setup, which I'm trying to get working? Ideally, I'd like a tool that can do something like grab an IP from a DHCP/BOOTP server, tell me all about all that it found, and then if it was told to download a file, it could do that and tell me about how that went, and so on. Between the information reported by the tool and the droppings left in logfiles on the server side, I would hope to simplify the configuration process, as well as let me experiment with various options, etc.
Even a PXE client tool that I can use to exercise my tftp PXE server configuration from a shell commandline would be extremely useful.
If no such tool already exists, would anyone else find something like this useful?
Thanks.
--- rod.
 
Old 05-13-2009, 04:05 PM   #2
unSpawn
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Maybe not exactly what you mean in terms of diagnostics but why not use VMWare for both DHCPd/TFTP server and PXE clients? At least you don't have to physically power-cycle machines or move around. For the server part here is "PXE_Installer-Recovery" a ready-made setup: http://www.pbandjelly.net/vmware_challenge/. Even if not your cup of %BEVERAGE then at least you'd be able to see a working environment w/o much hassle.
 
Old 05-13-2009, 07:02 PM   #3
theNbomr
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unSpawn, thanks for your response. From my online research, the use of virtualization seems to be common in this type of endeavor. I guess it is time to learn a new trick and discover the world of VMWare. When I started reading the link in your post, and saw the phrase "all you need to do is fire up the VM", it read a lot like "enter a scarey world where you know nothing...". I like learning new stuff, especially if it appears to have long-term usefulness, but I would like to avoid making a small project into a federal mega-project.
That being said, I don't feel that my issue is so much to do with configuring the server side of the system, as exercising it. I really had no easy way of getting a PXE client set up, until I discovered 'gPXE'. This allows me to load a PXE client (jargonology police feel free to correct that) on a bootable USB flash drive. With that, I can exercise the DHCP server, and get feedback from both ends of the system. I just started playing with it, and it looks like it has enough features to let me test and configure a lot of what I need to do. For anyone who has visited other Etherboot/gPXE sites, and found old code and old information (like unsupported NICs), as I did, be sure to go directly to the real source.
Pointers to other tools gratefully accepted. Thanks.
--- rod.
 
Old 05-14-2009, 06:10 PM   #4
theNbomr
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In case others go down this road with the same mindset, I will drop a couple more helpful tools onto the list, for completeness.
First, dhclient, which I found already installed on my RHEL4 desktop. It allows me to arbitrarily issue dhcp requests from a shell commandline. Second, and I cannot vouch for it's worth as I didn't work hard enough to get it working, dhquery.py. It requires upgrading my python to version 2.5, which my yum couldn't do without help, so I haven't tried it yet.
--- rod.
 
  


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