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[Xen-devel] Xen PXE solution

To: xen-devel@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [Xen-devel] Xen PXE solution
From: "Andrew D. Ball" <aball@xxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 31 Jul 2006 10:57:39 -0400
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I've been asked to work on a PXE solution for booting Xen domU's from a
network, and would like some feedback and any help anyone is willing to

I've been limiting my work to HVM domU's at the moment, because I don't
think the NBI's (as far as I know, these are bootloaders) that I have
available work in paravirtualized domU's.  Something build around the
Linux kernel and kexec would be really cool for paravirtualized domU's.

So, I'd like to know if something like the PXE ROM's that come on most
servers nowadays would be more useful than doing something like booting
from PXE client ISO image.  Ideally, I think the configuration may look
something like this:

    (bridge xenbr0) (mac 00:16:3e:00:00:11) (type ioemu) 
    (pxe true)

Then, I'm thinking the behavior would be to boot PXE on that NIC by
default, then try other boot devices.  Of course, the 'boot' option that
currently accepts 'a','b', or 'c' could include pxe as an option, but
it's unclear to me which order the NICs would try to boot in.  Maybe all
of the NICs with PXE ROMs in configuration order.

It looks like Etherboot 5.4.2 has at least the beginnings of full PXE
support for some drivers.  AMD pcnet32 looked okay, but I don't have a
really demanding PXE environment for testing.

Many thanks for your help!
Andrew D. Ball <aball@us dot ibm dot com>

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