Does Parallels have support for network booting PXE

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by domsmith, Dec 17, 2006.

  1. domsmith

    domsmith

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    Does Parallels have support for network booting PXE?
     
  2. constant

    constant

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    A Parallels person may well enlighten both of us, however, I have not seen this feature. There certainly is no setting within Parallels to network boot.
    .
     
  3. constant

    constant

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    Network booting the host, and having the VM autostart, would achieve the same outcome. It's just a matter of whether this is practical in your situation.
    .
     
  4. jonblock

    jonblock

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    Constant, your suggestion doesn't cover all uses of PXE. Specifically, Windows systems can be clean-installed via Remote Installation Services, as long as the target system can boot via PXE. I bought my Parallels license primarily so I could use our company-standard Windows installation from my Mac. Until clean PXE support is available, I'm stuck at zero (manually installing and configuring the equivalent system is not a reasonable alternative).
     
  5. domsmith

    domsmith

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    Yep, I'm in exactly the same situation.

    I was planning on using my copy of parallels to help speed up testing new ris builds instead of having to use another computer.

    Shame that it lacks support for this feature
     
  6. rooprob

    rooprob

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    Yes you can. You need to download a disk image from rom-o-matic for the PXE portion. The rom-o-matic image you need is a bootable CD rom with support for the crappy RT8029AS network chipset.

    If you set the boot order for HD-CD, then add the CD image, you boot up, perform your network install, and when it's finished the disk should have a boot sector so it just boots. You can remove the CD image post installation.

    NIC/ROM type: ns8390 - 8029
    ROM output formet - Bootable ISO without legacy floppy support

    Then you need to build yourself a DHCP service (I used ISC DHCPD) so you can point to your tftp server and boot pxelinux.0 and off into your menu options.... Kickstart Linux, Jumpstart Solaris, and start off Windows installations with unattended. I didn't spend any time looking at the supplied pvsnatd service so I don't know (yet) if you can cooerce it into playing nice with next-server and tftp - i simply killed it out of the Parallels startup script (/Library/Parallels) and went with my own build of ISC DHCPD v3.

    If you want to boot net installs of Windows, check out unattended.sourceforge.net. If the above hasn't scared you off, this will bring a smile to your face - use the Linux Boot (marked experimental) because I couldn't get the FreeDOS (with NDIS driver for the RT8029AS driver to pickup a DHCP call, and tcpdump isn't much use since parallels kinda slots in somewhere in kernel space above the raw ethernet device damn) so booting the experimental linux ISO (in the unattended distro) kick starts the the VM, linux nicely supports the network chipset so connects to my DHCPD then the rest of the unattended install sparks off the windows installer - works for Windows Server 2003, but you have to jack in the Parallels support ISO drivers into the unattended install (but that's what it's good for) because - oh guess what, Micro$oft seem to have dropped support by default from the distro for older crappy drivers...

    I'm fighting with Solaris Jumpstart right now. I had to first crack open the x86.bootimage to drop in the RT8029 drivers (did I mention it was crappy) and now it still doesn't want to NFS install because it thinks there's a CD - ah yes my ordiginal PXE CD ROM boot image for the crappy.... oh never mind.

    PS yes it would be nice if PXE worked out of the box.

    Hope that helps,
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2007
  7. jonblock

    jonblock

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    Thanks for the suggestions. I just gave the rom-o-matic setup a try, with no success.

    I did not dig into the process you laid out for alternative setups on the server side, as I shouldn't need to reconfigure anything outside the client machine. I have the relevant DHCP and RIS setups already.

    Actual Windows-ready machines now include the appropriate PXE stuff automatically, and it's just a matter of flipping a virtual switch in the BIOS and hitting a couple of keys during boot. From there, PXE does its thing, and the RIS-based Windows installation begins.

    Parallels folks: Incorporating a working PXE implementation into your product *shouldn't* be too difficult. Working around its absence is *definitely* proving to be painful.

    -Jonathan
     
  8. mgriego

    mgriego

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  9. jonblock

    jonblock

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    Hmmm... Tried this approach, no success reaching the DHCP server.

    I did more poking around, and I'm considering the possibility that somehow the IP addressing scheme is the issue. It looks like the internal network addressing scheme for Parallels uses 10.x.x.x numbers. Unfortunately, so does our live network. In order to test further, I would need to be able to change the address range used by Parallels (192.168.x.x, or the third non-routable range I can't bring to mind at the moment). I can't figure out where to do that.

    Has anyone had success doing a PXE/DHCP start in a 10.x.x.x environment?
     
  10. mgriego

    mgriego

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    Yes, our internal environment in on 10. private space. You *do* need to make sure you have Parallels set for *bridged* networking, not the NATed shared networking, or PXE wont work properly.
     
  11. jonblock

    jonblock

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    I was in bridged mode.

    Anyway, it turns out that wasn't the problem. The problem was in the DHCP / RIS settings. Dell hardware automatically finds the RIS server and launches the correct boot image. No idea where it gets the right settings. True of hundreds of machines over the past few years.

    When I added the correct settings (DCHP entries 066 and 067), the system was up and running right away.

    So, bottom line, PXE works with the boot floppy described earlier in this thread, as long as the DHCP server has the right boot information to distribute to the client.

    This would still be easier if there was a PXE option baked into the program.
     
  12. vpollmeier

    vpollmeier

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    Changes to DHCP

    I am curious about the changes you had to make. There are a couple of us in our corporate environment who would like to be able to boot from the PXE, via parallels.

    It was unclear if the changes you made were on the DHCP server or on your machine. If we are going to be having to make changes on corporate servers, we are going to have to be very specific about what we want done.

    So I am curious about the specifics of what you had to do to get the floppy image to work.

    Thanks.
     
  13. sarah.most

    sarah.most

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    I am having this problem as well

    I am also having this problem.

    My corporate environment is a Dell environment. The Dell client PCS all boot off PXE; it seems to work fine for them. It is a totally standard PXE/RIS setup exactly as Microsoft wants you to do.

    I'm running Parallels Build 3186. I downloaded etherboot (using the .iso image, not the .fdd as some others advised) and it hung on the "finding dhcp server" stage at the office, even though the mac on which parallels was running got a dhcp number just fine.

    I took it home and tried it. On my home network, it immediately found my home DHCP server, but no TFTP server -- because I don't have one.

    So there seems to me a problem with finding the DHCP server at the office, even though the host macos finds it just fine. (And no, there is not a requirement at my office that you register your MAC address with the server.)

    There's a helpful somewhat MIT-specific FAQ and some indication that the etherboot folks are aware of this problem.

    But no answers that I could find.

    My questions are these:

    1. Have the parallels folks indicated that they will be supporting PXE boot natively? That would be extremely helpful. If they did, it would certainly lead to a lot of deployments in my office.

    2. Separately, has anyone gotten Parallels/etherboot to work with a plain vanilla PXE/RIS Microsoft setup? That's what my office is running, and you'd think it would be the most common of things, but the other emails in this thread seem to address different server setups.

    Thank you very much for any help you can provide.

    Sarah Most
     
  14. jonblock

    jonblock

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    vpollmeier: The (server side) DHCP settings that I had to change were to entries 66 and 67 (which we typically leave unconfigured). The former specifies the boot server IP address, and the latter specifies the boot file name (OSChooser\i386\startrom.com). For most of our Dell machines to work, we have to remove these two entires, but on occasions such as this they are necessary. Fortunately, it's a quick change on the server, takes effect immediately, is easy to remove again, and doesn't affect any operations other than network boot activities.

    sarah.most: 1. They haven't said anything about supporting pxe boot, that I have seen. They don't consider it an important issue, apparently. 2. Yes, my setup is vanilla PXE/RIS off Windows Server 2003. In bridged networking mode with the right boot image (I used the .fdd instructions) and the DHCP entries above, it worked without a problem.

    Good luck.
     
  15. sarah.most

    sarah.most

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    Etherboot at the office says it's not seeing the DHCP server at all...is it lying?

    Thanks for your help. When you ran it without the correct settings in 66/67, did it say that it found a DHCP server but no image, or did it hang without finding a DHCP server? I ask because at home, I can see my DHCP server (but no image of course) while at the office, it hangs, saying it can't find the DHCP server. I infer from this that etherboot isn't even communicating with the DHCP server at the office, which means that changing the settings as you indicate won't help. But if it's just a confusing error message, I can try to get them to adjust the settings -- although if it's going to break the Dells I don't think that's likely.

    Thanks again for your help. --Sarah.
     

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