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Trying to use iPXE and ESXi 5.5 ("live")
2016-09-13, 19:20 (This post was last modified: 2016-09-13 19:23 by hetz.)
Post: #1
Trying to use iPXE and ESXi 5.5 ("live")
Hi,

I found a link which shows how to boot a "Live" ESXi from PXE. Link is here.

His lines of code to add:
Code:
LABEL esxisub
  KERNEL menu.c32
  APPEND esxi-submenu
  MENU LABEL Jump to ESXi submenu

The esxi-submenu contains:
Code:
LABEL esxi55u3b
  KERNEL /esxi55u3b/mboot.c32
  APPEND -c /esxi55u3b/boot.cfg
  MENU LABEL ESXi esxi55u3b - VMware-VMvisor-Installer-201512001-3248547.x86_64.iso 09/13/16

I tried to "translate" it iPXE. My crude result is (it's part of a menu):

Code:
:esxi55u3
set boot-path http://hetzlabs.com/esxi55u3b
kernel ${boot-path}/mboot.c32
imgargs http://hetzlabs.com/esxi55u3b/boot.cfg
boot

I'm trying it on VMWare workstation, it loads the files and show "ok", but nothing happens..

Suggestions please? Smile

Thanks
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2016-09-13, 19:46
Post: #2
RE: Trying to use iPXE and ESXi 5.5 ("live")
To use .c32 iPXE must be compiled IMAGE_COMBOOT enabled, see this post: http://forum.ipxe.org/showthread.php?tid...97#pid9397

you could imgfetch mboot.c32 and then use imgstat to verify it is selected as comboot and not NBP

Another common issue is that syslinux have changed the C32 format and you must find a version that creates .c32 files compatible with the format iPXE supports.

One other way is to chain pxelinux from ipxe as described at the end of the above thread.

Read the FAQ before posting.
Did you include relevant ipxe.org error urls?
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2016-09-13, 20:03
Post: #3
RE: Trying to use iPXE and ESXi 5.5 ("live")
You were right, I didn't enable COMBOOT while compiling. Now that I enabled it - it shows the VMware "loading operating system" screen but immediately it shows errors:

Code:
Configuration error while parsing /boot.cfg
Fatal error: 15 (not found)

Any suggestion how to tell VMware where the path is? (I don't even know if I should put it with http: or not..)

Thanks
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2016-09-13, 20:23
Post: #4
RE: Trying to use iPXE and ESXi 5.5 ("live")
(2016-09-13 20:03)hetz Wrote:  
Code:
Configuration error while parsing /boot.cfg
Fatal error: 15 (not found)

Any suggestion how to tell VMware where the path is? (I don't even know if I should put it with http: or not..)

What does you boot.cfg hold?
a quick search showed that it does not accept relative paths so you might need to add absolute http: path

Another thing you might want to try is to preload all files with initrd and hope that it can load it from memory instead.

Read the FAQ before posting.
Did you include relevant ipxe.org error urls?
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2016-09-13, 21:50
Post: #5
RE: Trying to use iPXE and ESXi 5.5 ("live")
Well, at the end I found sort-of solution.
From my ipxe menu:

Code:
set boot-path http://my-web/esxi55u3b
kernel ${boot-path}/mboot.c32 -c ${boot-path}/boot.cfg
boot

This boot the ESXi into install mode (didn't try UEFI or physical machine), but I'm not sure how much it will help using Auto Deploy.

Thanks for your help Wink
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2016-09-13, 21:56
Post: #6
RE: Trying to use iPXE and ESXi 5.5 ("live")
No problem, glad you got it working.

very sure it will not work in efi mode since comboot is legacy bios only.

Read the FAQ before posting.
Did you include relevant ipxe.org error urls?
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