UEFI PXE boot

Steven Dick kg4ydw at gmail.com
Tue Jul 17 23:50:07 CDT 2012


On Wed, Jul 18, 2012 at 12:30 AM, Erinn Looney-Triggs <
erinn.looneytriggs at gmail.com> wrote:

> On 07/17/2012 05:10 PM, Steven Dick wrote:
> > I have booted UEFI systems just fine using the latest ipxe + syslinux as
> > well as syslinux alone.
> > I have not tried it with grub.
>
> Can you elaborate on that a bit, I am kind of new to the PXE world so I
> am trying to figure it out. From my understanding something like Ipxe is
> loaded which then loads the next stage in the system, however you are
> saying that you can skip any intermediaries and go straight to syslinux,
> how do you go about that? What hardware are you doing this on?
>
>
I've done this on all sorts of hardware, but admittedly, only one or two
uefi machines.
I have some R710 machines, but I don't recall if UEFI is enabled on them.

iPXE is nice, but not necessary.  It loads an extra layer on top of the
bios pxe layer; the iPXE layer supports protocols other than icky tftp
(like http or iscsi for instance) and does some other fancy things.

But what you really need (with or without iPXE) is syslinux (aka pxelinux)
or some other bootloader (grub) that can actually load an operating
system.  It is possible to get syslinux to load a kernel and an initial ram
disk and feed some kernel command line options to that kernel and get it
all started.

If you use iPXE, you can load the kernel and initial ram disk via http,
which is typically much faster than tftp, which is what syslinux will use
by itself.  However, iPXE typically requires a second dhcp request, which
slows things down a bit, so there is a tradeoff.

There is plenty of documentation on how to get this all to work on the ipxe
web page, the gpxe web page, the syslinux web page, etc.

This page looks helpful: http://www.syslinux.org/wiki/index.php/PXELINUX

None of this really relates to UEFI except that you probably need a UEFI
aware version of syslinux, but I'm not even totally sure how important that
is.   This also isn't related to Dell PowerEdge, except that the PE line
all has good pxe support in their bios.  At some point in time, I've
probably pxe booted every poweredge server I have, and some of mine still
do it every time they power up.
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