Problems with Fedora Core 5 and RHEL5 PXE/ks booting on PE1950 III

Matthias Saou thias at
Fri Jun 6 09:02:29 CDT 2008


Yesterday I've wasted hours trying to figure out why I couldn't get
"usual" PXE + kickstart installations to work on 5 new PE1950 III
servers. I was unable to find the problem and gave up. Here's what's
happening :

 * The BIOS itself can PXE boot fine, I see the DHCP query and the
installation (Fedora Core 5, I later also tried RHEL5 with the same
result) starts.
 * The anaconda installer says it's requesting network information
through DHCP, but I see no DHCP query on the DHCP server!
 * If I then enter the network settings "manually", then the installer
does perform a DHCP query, and the rest of the install works fine.
 * If instead of this last step, I keep retrying to get the network
settings through DHCP, I see nothing arriving on the DHCP server.

Has anyone already seen this problem? I don't recall having ever seen
it before, and that's with many PE1950 of all series (I, II and III).
The only thing I can think of is if these servers have a more recent
Broadcom firmware for the network interfaces which could cause
differences (?).

What I've already investigated is :
 * DRAC as "shared", as when it's shared then it stops answering even
ping for some long seconds when the installer is trying to get network
settings through DHCP. Putting the DRAC back to "Dedicated" doesn't fix
the problem.
 * The NIC1 being detected as eth1 and the NIC2 as eth0. This is
"expected behavior" with FC5, but even connecting both network
interfaces to the same network didn't make me see any DHCP queries
arriving on the DHCP server when the installer said it was making them.

So when I say that "I gave up", it means that for these servers to get
reinstalled, a manual intervention is required. This is bad(ish), which
is why I was wondering if anyone had seen the same behavior.

Would it be worth trying to see if the Broadcom firmware is more recent
and downgrade it?

Any pointers are still welcome, as 4 of the 5 servers are going into
production ASAP, but one will still be available for a while for
testing further.


Clean custom Red Hat Linux rpm packages :
Fedora release 9 (Sulphur) - Linux kernel
Load : 0.18 0.32 0.26

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