There is a project for extended PXE Boot features https://ipxe.org/. This article is not for describing what this project may offer, but to show how to boot any Linux distribution (in fact, Windows 10, too) network installation wizard using the virtual CD/DVD of an IPMI KVM, DELL’s DRAC, HP iLO, IBM RSA/IMM and in general, KVM over IP.
Using the iPXE CD bootable disk mounted in the virtual CD/DVD of the server’s remote console (IPMI KVM and so on) will allow:
- Booting from a CD/DVD with only a 1M size.
- Extends the PXE features of the server’s network card.
- Manual set IP address, i.e. not relying on DHCP server. In addition of the DHCP feature, but DHCP feature requires DHCP server, which is not always the case.
- Load a Linux kernel and initramfs from a URL.
- Boot a Linux live or installation CD/DVD from an URL. The server could load the instllation wizard from an official mirror in the Internet.
- Manual install – boot from 1M CD and continue with multi gigabyte installation from an URL. For comparision the CentOS 8 network installation disk is more than 600M versus 1M iPXE CD disk. Booting directly from a 600M CentOS 8 network installation disk is unstable and really slow when the disk is mounted in user’s KVM. And not alwyas is possible to mount a disk next to the server location (or in the same co-location).
- Automated install – simple unattended installation with kickstart files without the need of speacial features of the dedicated service provider.
- No software installation or code writting needed.
This article uses the iPXE CD to boot and manually set an IP and then load the Linux kernel and initramfs of the CentOS 8 installation disk using an official URL mirror on the Internet. All types of server’s KVM, which supports CD/DVD virtual device, can be used.
Just 1 Mbytes of CD/DVD is required to boot an installation of a (connected to the Internet) server/machine.
Here are the steps and correct (all lines are tested) command lines to boot an installation wizard. The server is a SUPERMICRO server with IPMI KVM for remote management.
The iPXE ISO file is located here http://boot.ipxe.org/ipxe.iso