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Boot from Fibre Channel
2013-04-12, 20:14
Post: #1
Boot from Fibre Channel
Hi

Came across gPXE then found iPXE which sounds like it does exacley what I want it to do.

Which is have a central SAN/storage device for my media PCs (which double up as ESXi hosts). Then using a simple PHP script tell the client to either boot the Windows 7 image or the ESXi image.

So far I have setup pfSense with a DHCP server, setup TFTP on a Ubuntu VM with my custom iPXE file to embed a file from my web server which also passes the mac address across to the web server.

This works perfectly, and can't believe how quickly I got this set up Big Grin

Now I have hit a road block as I don't really know where to go from here, I have a bunch of Qlogic QLE2460 Fibre HBAs and a Fibre switch
My plan is to install Openfiler on my file server as this supports Fibre

How can I boot an ESXi installer iso, and install it to a Fibre target?
Is this even possible with iPXE?

Any help would be greatly appreciated Smile

Nick
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2013-04-15, 13:25
Post: #2
RE: Boot from Fibre Channel
(2013-04-12 20:14)nry Wrote:  Now I have hit a road block as I don't really know where to go from here, I have a bunch of Qlogic QLE2460 Fibre HBAs and a Fibre switch
My plan is to install Openfiler on my file server as this supports Fibre

How can I boot an ESXi installer iso, and install it to a Fibre target?
Is this even possible with iPXE?

iPXE does support Fibre Channel, but currently the only supported transport is Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE). iPXE has a complete Fibre Channel stack, but has no driver support for QLogic (or other) HBAs.

It should be viable to add driver support for your HBAs, if you're feeling adventurous (or if you have some funding available). The internal abstraction for FC devices uses fc_port_open() to instantiate an FC port (with a given node WWN, port WWN, and local name), and then xfer_deliver() to handle delivery of raw FC frames. Fabric login, port login, process login, and FCP are all handled by iPXE's software FC stack; the FC device just needs to provide the ability to transmit and receive raw frames.

If you are interested in developing this, then it's probably best to continue discussion on the ipxe-devel mailing list.

Michael
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2013-04-16, 02:45
Post: #3
RE: Boot from Fibre Channel
(2013-04-12 20:14)nry Wrote:  How can I boot an ESXi installer iso, and install it to a Fibre target?

A note on the ESXi installer booting. I don't recall offhand if you can just sanboot the ISO directly, however I extract the contents of the CD onto my webserver, and just tell it to point to pxelinux, to go to mboot.c32, to load the installer directly. This works perfectly, and FAST on BIOS machine (though I still using a CD for uEFI machines atm).

Some more information is here
And more specifically, you can see my menu setup here
I don't have a direct link to the part in boot.php, but looking at it, it should be fairly easy to spot. Do ignore the part about trying to get iPXE to load ESXi natively (all the module statements and such, current time it does not work).
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2013-04-16, 09:59
Post: #4
RE: Boot from Fibre Channel
(2013-04-15 13:25)mcb30 Wrote:  iPXE does support Fibre Channel, but currently the only supported transport is Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE). iPXE has a complete Fibre Channel stack, but has no driver support for QLogic (or other) HBAs.

It should be viable to add driver support for your HBAs, if you're feeling adventurous (or if you have some funding available). The internal abstraction for FC devices uses fc_port_open() to instantiate an FC port (with a given node WWN, port WWN, and local name), and then xfer_deliver() to handle delivery of raw FC frames. Fabric login, port login, process login, and FCP are all handled by iPXE's software FC stack; the FC device just needs to provide the ability to transmit and receive raw frames.

If you are interested in developing this, then it's probably best to continue discussion on the ipxe-devel mailing list.

Michael

Thanks for this, think I may just sell the FC kit on, played around with iSCSI now and all seems to work as I expected.

(2013-04-16 02:45)Sedorox Wrote:  A note on the ESXi installer booting. I don't recall offhand if you can just sanboot the ISO directly, however I extract the contents of the CD onto my webserver, and just tell it to point to pxelinux, to go to mboot.c32, to load the installer directly. This works perfectly, and FAST on BIOS machine (though I still using a CD for uEFI machines atm).

Some more information is here
And more specifically, you can see my menu setup here
I don't have a direct link to the part in boot.php, but looking at it, it should be fairly easy to spot. Do ignore the part about trying to get iPXE to load ESXi natively (all the module statements and such, current time it does not work).

I got it working quite easily just by following the guide in the iPXE docs

sanhook --drive 0x91 iscsi:10.0.0.30:::5:iqn.2013-04.home.nas:esxi4
sanboot --no-describe iscsi:10.0.0.30:::1:iqn.2013-04.home.nas:installer

Guessing theres better ways of doing it, but I am still learning. Cheers for the link some useful ones on there!
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