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Posted by Ben Galliart, Last modified by Kevin Stange on 07 February 2011 06:53 PM
Configuring BIOS for booting PXE menu
To use the PXE option, you will first need to make sure it is enabled in the BIOS.
If PXE is correctly enabled in the BIOS, then during the boot process you should get something similar to:
If after re-configuring the BIOS you do not get this PXE/Boot agent initialization message, then contact firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance in getting this problem corrected.
During the boot, the “DHCP...” at the bottom of the initialization message should be replaced by:
If instead you get “No DHCP or proxyDHCP offers were received.” then contact email@example.com about having the server's manual registration with the DHCP server added. Also, customers that have been assigned their own network Vlan may need to request the DHCP services be added to their Vlan on the Steadfast routers.
If instead you get “Media test failure, check cable” then contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more assistance with this issue.
Brief description of PXE menu optionsIf PXE is successful, then the Steadfast Networks PXE menu should appear which will be divided into two major sections of “INTERNAL MENU” and “PUBLIC MENU.” Of course, the only area of interest for customers is the public menu. If no key is pressed after 10 seconds then the boot process will continue. As a result, the PXE menu can be left in the BIOS boot order while still allowing a production system to proceed to booting the installed OS from the hard disk. From the PXE menu, for re-installing the Operating System (OS), there is the option of Windows 2003/2008, FreeBSD, GNU/Linux (such as CentOS and Debian), Automated GNU/Linux installs. There is also an option of Live/Rescue Discs.
OS installs via PXE
The option of Windows 2003 and 2008 is available to all customers but does not provide any license key. If you require a Windows server license from us for a server that previously did not have Windows installed, then additional monthly charges for the license will apply. Also, if you change the edition of Windows (such as going from Web edition to Standard edition) then that will also result in additional licensing fees. More information about the monthly charges for software licensing is available from the Steadfast Networks website.
FreeBSD option provides access to the FreeBSD installer via a RAM disk acting as a virtual hard disk or virtual CD-ROM ISO image. The operating system is very sensitive to the type of hardware and on several systems running the installer via PXE will fail. Instead, customers can attempt to use the IPMI virtual CD-ROM to perform the install. It is also possible to request the Steadfast support staff connect a USB DVD with the FreeBSD install media to the server. When installing from PXE, the installer will request the location of the FreeBSD install media of which Steadfast has it available via NFS. These NFS locations are:
GNU/Linux (manual install)
The manual GNU/Linux distribution installer menu provides option to install CentOS and Debian GNU/Linux distributions. Other non-supported distributions are provided such as Fedora and Ubuntu but not recommended for production servers. Choosing from this menu also provides the flexibility of changing install options such as partition sizes and choosing what hard drives to use during the install. Once the install completes, please be sure to read the notice regarding control panel installation below before proceeding with using the newly installed system.
GNU/Linux automatic install
The automated GNU/Linux install menu uses preset install options that fits the needs of the majority of customers. Before being able to proceed with the install, there will be a password prompt to help make sure you have not selected this option by accident. The password for the automated install menu is CONFIRM in all capital letters. You should then be able to select between CentOS and Debian along with selecting between 32-bit or 64-bit installs. Just as with manual GNU/Linux installs, once the install completes, it is important to read the notice below regarding control panel installation before proceeding with using the newly installed OS.
Important notice for customers with control panel license
Once the install via PXE is complete, only the OS will be installed--no control panel is automatically installed via PXE. If you are leasing a control panel license (Interworx, cPanel, Plesk, etc), please contact email@example.com and request that we install the control panel for you. The control panel installer assumes it is installing to a freshly installed OS. If you make changes to the OS after the install, we can not guarantee the control panel will install correctly. Also, the control panel installer may overwrite any changes you make.
Live/Rescue diskUnder Live/Rescue disks, we have several GNU/Linux OS rescue options which run from the network instead of booting from the hard disk. This menu includes CentOS rescue images, KNOPPIX, R1Soft baremetal recovery. The CentOS rescue images are periodically updated and should work with the majority of hardware used in our dedicated servers. The KNOPPIX provided is old and may not work on all system. This option is useful to our staff as the image includes an OpenSSH server and also include NTFS support. The R1Soft baremetal recovery image is designed to be used by customers that use the Steadfast Networks CDP backup service. This can do a complete restore of the most recent backup without having to re-install the OS first. Also included in the Live/Rescue disks section is the Ultimate Boot CD (and an older version known as PXEKnife). Majority of the options have not been tested with the Steadfast Networks servers and may not work as expected. However, some of the options can be helpful for troubleshooting. It does include Memtest86+ as well as some tools for wiping a disk drive. There are alternative methods of also accomplishing the same sorts of tasks as provided by the Ultimate Boot CD. We can not guarantee that the specific applications provided by the Ultimate Boot CD will work with your Steadfast dedicated server, but if you contact the support staff, we should be able to assist you in finding a method of accomplishing the same task.