Installing servers using your own PXE boot environment

Description

Installing servers using your own PXE boot environment


Contents

Introduction

Leaseweb offers customers to install a dedicated server using their own PXE boot environment. This way an installation can be performed with specific Operating System versions that Leaseweb currently does not offer or OS versions that are customized.

Technical

Leaseweb uses an DHCP/iPXE boot environment to install dedicated servers. We provide the option for customers to list, create and delete their own DHCP leases. With creating the leases it is possible to send your own boot file name using the API or Customer Portal, as well as boot server details (DHCP option 66 and 67) and DNS server IP address.

This way it is possible to hook your Leaseweb bare Metal server to any automated installation platform (like TheForeman, FAI, Cobbler and others). Leaseweb provides the network details, although optionally you can set your own nameserver(s) to use during installation. In all cases the primary public IPv4 address of your server is automatically used.

How to

To fully understand the functionality of iPXE boot and explore the functionality, http://ipxe.org/ has extensive examples and documentation for creating boot environments.

To make use of this feature you will need to have your own HTTP infrastructure and provide the URI to the iPXE instructions. The version of iPXE LeaseWeb uses supports HTTP.


To tell us the location of your iPXE instructions, you can use the an API call to specify the bootFileName to http://1.1.1.1/boot.ipxe

For more details how to use the Leaseweb API, check developer.leaseweb.com - Create a DHCP lease

POST /bareMetals/v2/servers/12345/leases
HOST: api.leaseweb.com
Headers:
'X-Lsw-Auth: 213423-2134234-234234-23424'
'content-type: application/json'

Body:
{
    "bootFileName": "http://example.com/bootme.ipxe"
}

Or you can click Custom Installation under Actions on your server's management page in the Customer Portal:


When you reboot your server, the DHCP server will instruct your bare metal server to boot using that boot file name.

Example ipxe configurations:

Linux: http://1.1.1.1/boot.ipxe


#!ipxe
 dhcp
 kernel http://repo.cloudlinux.com/cloudlinux/6.6/install/x86_64/images/pxeboot/vmlinuz
 initrd http://repo.cloudlinux.com/cloudlinux/6.6/install/x86_64/images/pxeboot/initrd.img
boot

Windows: http://1.1.1.1/boot.ipxe


#!ipxe
dhcp
 kernel http://1.1.1.1/windows/wimboot
 initrd http://1.1.1.1/windows/boot/bcd         BCD
 initrd http://1.1.1.1/windows/boot/boot.sdi    boot.sdi
 initrd http://1.1.1.1/windows/sources/boot.wim boot.wim
boot

For more information on how to boot into a Windows installer refer to the ipxe.org documentation at http://ipxe.org/howto/winpe

Note

New deliveries of the following server models will boot in UEFI mode by default:

  • Dell PowerEdge 13th generation (R230, R630, R730, R930)
  • Dell PowerEdge 14th generation (R240, R640, R740, R940)

In case you develop your own bootable images, please make sure they're UEFI compatible.

In the near future, Supermicro X11 generation as well as HPE ProLiant Gen9 and Gen10 will also default to UEFI booting for newly delivered servers.


See also

Leaseweb Blog: Automatically provision your bare metal infrastructure

netboot.xyz


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