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2015-02-02

ESXi 5.1 PXE Install

ESXi PXE Install is very similar to any other kind of automated PXE deployment.

There are a few finicky components you'll have to deal with but overall it's fairly straight forward.

This is assuming you already have PXELINUX fully installed and configured along with DHCP and TFTP Server

  1. Download the ISO
  2. Mount the iso (I'm mounting in BSD)
  3. mdconfig -a -t vnode -f isoimage.iso -u 1 mount -t cd9660 /dev/md1 /mnt/iso/
  4. Create a directory to store the raw iso files
  5. mkdir -p /images/esxi/5.1/1065491/dell-a03/ I like to organize my images via. MajorVersion-Build-SpecialInfo
  6. Rsync the iso contents over
  7. rsync -av /mnt/iso/ /images/esxi/5.1/1065491/dell-a03/
  8. unmount the iso
  9. umount /mnt/iso mdconfig -d -u 1
  10. Create an "isolinux.cfg" file which basically is just used to point to the files required to boot up and run the kernel/kickstart files. This file will exist typically under the pxelinux.cfg directory either as the file called "default" or will match the mac-address of the machine you would like to image
  11. /images/kickstart/ESXI-5.1-1065491-dell-a03.ks DEFAULT install LABEL install KERNEL images/esxi/5.1/1065491/dell-a03/mboot.c32 APPEND -c images/esxi/5.1/1065491/dell-a03/boot.cfg MENU LABEL Dell ESXi-5.1-Update 1-1065491(A03) ^Installer As you can see mine is fairly simple with no menu.c32 as this file I dont want to have any options. I just want to copy this file over and have it boot up the correct references files ex. KERNEL $path to mboot.c32
  12. Modify the boot.cfg file so that it does not reference the tftp root directory thanks to http://brain.serenity-networks.com/networking-computers/vmware/esxi-5-5-5-pxe-installation-via-syslinux
  13. sed -e "s#/##g" -e "3s#^#prefix=/`basename $PWD`/\n#" -i.bak boot.cfg The above line will not only remove preceeding / it will also add a prefix= parameter where we can specify the path to our files.
  14. Then you will modify the prefix parameter with the path to your files on tftp. In my case it would be "/images/esxi/5.1/1065491/dell-a03/"
  15. bootstate=0 title=Loading ESXi installer prefix=images/esxi/5.1/1065491/dell-a03/ kernel=tboot.b00 kernelopt=ks=ftp://ftp/images/kickstart/scripts/ESXI-5.1-1065491-dell-a03.ks modules=b.b00 --- useropts.gz --- k.b00 --- chardevs.b00 --- a.b00 --- user.b00 --- s.v00 --- misc_cni.v00 --- net_bnx2.v00 --- net_bnx2.v01 --- net_cnic.v00 --- net_tg3.v00 --- scsi_bnx.v00 --- scsi_bnx.v01 --- net_bna.v00 --- scsi_bfa.v00 --- ima_be2i.v00 --- scsi_be2.v00 --- scsi_lpf.v00 --- net_igb.v00 --- net_ixgb.v00 --- scsi_mpt.v00 --- scsi_mti.v00 --- ima_qla4.v00 --- net_qlcn.v00 --- scsi_qla.v00 --- scsi_qla.v01 --- ata_pata.v00 --- ata_pata.v01 --- ata_pata.v02 --- ata_pata.v03 --- ata_pata.v04 --- ata_pata.v05 --- ata_pata.v06 --- ata_pata.v07 --- block_cc.v00 --- ehci_ehc.v00 --- weaselin.t00 --- esx_dvfi.v00 --- xlibs.v00 --- ipmi_ipm.v00 --- ipmi_ipm.v01 --- ipmi_ipm.v02 --- misc_dri.v00 --- net_be2n.v00 --- net_e100.v00 --- net_e100.v01 --- net_enic.v00 --- net_forc.v00 --- net_nx_n.v00 --- net_qlge.v00 --- net_r816.v00 --- net_r816.v01 --- net_s2io.v00 --- net_sky2.v00 --- net_vmxn.v00 --- ohci_usb.v00 --- sata_ahc.v00 --- sata_ata.v00 --- sata_sat.v00 --- sata_sat.v01 --- sata_sat.v02 --- sata_sat.v03 --- sata_sat.v04 --- scsi_aac.v00 --- scsi_adp.v00 --- scsi_aic.v00 --- scsi_fni.v00 --- scsi_hps.v00 --- scsi_ips.v00 --- scsi_meg.v00 --- scsi_meg.v01 --- scsi_meg.v02 --- scsi_mpt.v01 --- scsi_mpt.v02 --- scsi_rst.v00 --- uhci_usb.v00 --- tools.t00 --- dell_con.v00 --- xorg.v00 --- imgdb.tgz --- imgpayld.tgz build= updated=0

References:
Example kickstart config from yellow-bricks: http://www.yellow-bricks.com/2011/07/19/esxi-5-0-and-scripted-installs/
Kickstart valid parameters: http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2004582
Example kickstart from william lam: http://www.virtuallyghetto.com/2011/07/automating-esxi-5x-kickstart-tips.html
Blog to show how to structure boot.cfg: http://brain.serenity-networks.com/networking-computers/vmware/esxi-5-5-5-pxe-installation-via-syslinux/
Vmware documentation on PXE Install: https://pubs.vmware.com/vsphere-50/index.jsp#com.vmware.vsphere.install.doc_50/GUID-B9DB94CA-4857-458B-B6F1-6A688726AED0.html

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