Update on Easy PXE boot testing post: minus PXELINUX


This is an update to my previous post about easily testing PXE booting by using libvirt + iPXE.

Several people have notified me (thanks Lukas Zapletal and others) that instead of leveraging PXELINUX that I could just use an iPXE script to do the same thing. I hadn’t used iPXE much so here’s an update on how to achieve the same goal using an iPXE script instead of a PXELINUX binary+config.

Using an iPXE script

From my previous post you would do all of the same steps except in the Web Server Setup section you don’t need to install the syslinux-nonlinux package to grab the binaries out and you also don’t need to make a pxelinux.cfg file/directory structure.

Instead you create a an iPXE script (let’s call it boot.ipxe) with contents like so:

$ cat boot.ipxe 
kernel Fedora-Server-dvd-x86_64-29-1.2.iso/images/pxeboot/vmlinuz console=ttyS0 inst.ks=
initrd Fedora-Server-dvd-x86_64-29-1.2.iso/images/pxeboot/initrd.img

In the Libvirt network DHCP setup of the previous post you would then make your bootp file point at the iPXE script (boot.ipxe) instead of the pxelinux.0 binary like is instructed in that previous post.

My final XML looks like:

  <forward mode='nat'/>
  <bridge name='virbr0' stp='on' delay='0'/>
  <mac address='52:54:00:93:a5:73'/>
  <ip address='' netmask=''>
      <range start='' end=''/>
      <bootp file=''/>

Everything else from the previous post should be the the same!

PXE Booting

You can boot like so:

$ virt-install --pxe --network network=default --name pxe --memory 2048 --disk size=10 --nographics --boot menu=on,useserial=on

And in the serial console you see the fact that boot.ipxe was used this time instead of pxelinux.0.

SeaBIOS (version ?-20180724_192412-buildhw-07.phx2.fedoraproject.org-1.fc29)
Machine UUID 9358886f-f5c0-4839-9ce4-8d7c59c5f9ab

iPXE (http://ipxe.org) 00:02.0 C100 PCI2.10 PnP PMM+7FF91130+7FED1130 C100

Press ESC for boot menu.

Booting from ROM...
iPXE (PCI 00:02.0) starting execution...ok
iPXE initialising devices...ok

iPXE 1.0.0+ -- Open Source Network Boot Firmware -- http://ipxe.org

net0: 52:54:00:2f:bb:8a using 82540em on 0000:00:02.0 (open)
  [Link:up, TX:0 TXE:0 RX:0 RXE:0]
Configuring (net0 52:54:00:2f:bb:8a).................. ok
net0: gw
net0: fe80::5054:ff:fe2f:bb8a/64
Next server:
Filename: ok
boot.ipxe : 209 bytes [script]
Fedora-Server-dvd-x86_64-29-1.2.iso/images/pxeboot/vmlinuz... ok
Fedora-Server-dvd-x86_64-29-1.2.iso/images/pxeboot/initrd.img... ok
Probing EDD (edd=off to disable)... ok


PXE booting has become even easier! Who knew :)