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Old 01-02-2004, 10:03 PM   #1
jimrt
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Creating a PXE Boot Disk


In the near future I will be deploying RedHat Enterprise on a number of systems. I would like to automate this as much as possible. The directions here:

http://jamesthornton.com/redhat/linu...de/ch-pxe.html

seem great. However, most of my systems use 3com and Linksys network cards that do not support PXE. Is there any way to create a "PXE boot disk" which will allow machines to do a PXE boot even if the NIC doesn't support it? I would appreciate any suggestions.
 
Old 01-03-2004, 03:18 AM   #2
g-rod
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They can explain it better than I.
netboot
I did it once a couple of years ago from LTSP. Let me know if you need any otehr help.
 
Old 01-03-2004, 07:53 PM   #3
jimrt
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Thanks for your help. Netboot looks like it would do the trick, but it didn't seem to include the drivers I need. I know that I can add them myself, but still....

Instead, what I think I am going to do, is use a GRUB boot floppy which will grab the kernel and ramdisk off of my tftp server. In some ways this will be even better than my original idea because I will be able to make multiple GRUB entries that use their own kickstart file. I am going to create entries for a server install, a cluster install, a desktop install, etc. These entries will each have their own custom kickstart file associated with them. This way you boot off the floppy, pick the install type, and walk away....
 
Old 01-03-2004, 08:44 PM   #4
g-rod
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Hay that sounds like a great idea. I would like to know how you make out with that. I now netboot expect to get the kernel image off a tftp site. How will grub do it? Let me know please. I know you were the one looking for help but now you have peaked by curiosity.
 
Old 01-04-2004, 04:13 PM   #5
jimrt
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Right now I am still in the testing phase, but so far things are looking good. Here are the basic steps that I followed (using RedHat Enterprise 3):

1. Run: redhat-config-netboot and configure a network install. I used the name test as the OS identifier. You must specify a valid installation source (I'm using an annonymous FTP server which has the contents of the RHEL CDs copied to it.) Unless you have clients with PXE capable NICs don't worry about adding clients, all we really care about is the kernel and initrd that this program creates in /tftpboot.

2. Grab and unpack the latest version of grub.

3. Create a grub.conf outside of the freshly extracted GRUB source tree, mine looks like this:

default=0
timeout=3
title Install RedHat Enterprise Linux
bootp
root (nd)
kernel /tftpboot/linux-install/test/vmlinuz \
ramdisk_size=10000 ks=ftp://ftpserver.domain.com/pub/ks.cfg
initrd /tftpboot/linux-install/test/initrd.img


4. In the above example you will want to put in the location of your own kickstart file. Also make sure that the paths are correct for your setup. I will be adding multiple entries in the future, each pointing to there own kickstart file.

5. switch to the GRUB source directory and run:
NOTE: This assumes that your clients uses one of these network cards. You may need to build additional, or fewer, network card modules for your machines.

./configure --enable-preset-menu=../grub.conf
--enable-natsemi -enable-3c90x --enable-rtl8139
--enable-tulip --enable-eepro100

make

6. "Install" grub to a floppy by running:

cat stage1/stage1 stage2/stage2 | dd of=/dev/fd0

7. Make your that your dhcp server has a next-server line with the IP address of your tftp server.

8. Boot a machine off of your newly created floppy. Select the appropriate install "type" and the machine should take care of the rest.


I appoligize for the line breaks and for the vagueness of these instructions, but I don't have these machines in front of me. If you have any questions/comments let me know.
 
Old 01-04-2004, 04:55 PM   #6
g-rod
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How is grub going to know the IP address of the tftp server?
 
Old 01-04-2004, 05:24 PM   #7
jimrt
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If you have an ISC DHCP server, the line :

next-server 172.20.21.100;

tells GRUB to use 172.20.21.100 as the TFTP server. There may be a way to set this in this grub config file, but I don't know it off the top of my head.
 
  


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