Booting with iDRAC6 VFlash - Linux Live CD or similar

Rainer M. Canavan rainer-dellpe at 7val.com
Mon Mar 8 07:06:48 CST 2010


On Mar 6, 2010, at 19:20 , Stroller wrote:

> Hi there,
> 
> Has anyone had any luck with anything like the subject, please?
> 
> I'm a bit frustrated to find that the obvious thing of being able to  
> upload & boot from a standard .iso CD image appears not to be  
> supported. Clearly there must be good reasons for this, but it seems a  
> shame that more effort wasn't made. I can see from postings on the  
> internet that I was not alone in assuming that the VFlash should  
> behave this way.

I'm not sure about CD ISOs, but hard drive or floppy images work for me, 
as long as the DRAC is not broken - mine probably is because I can't 
currently format or attach it and it does not appear in the boot menu
or as a USB block device in an OS.

> Resorting to the manual - something I've never had to do in 4 years  
> with a DRAC4 - I find references to Red Hat diskboot.img files [1] but  
> I really not clear what that is. I'm getting narked because something  
> that should be simple & straight-forward clearly isn't.

It's far from clear and the Dell's support was unable to even tell
me what VFlash can be used for, even when pointed at the relevant pages
in the  DRAC6 manual.

> The best thing I can think to try next is to make a USB memory stick  
> based on System Rescue CD [2] here at home, then `dd if=/dev/sd$USB- 
> STICK of=try-this-sucker.img` and uploading that for an attempt. This  
> makes the restriction on 256meg virtual keys look a bit puny, because  
> where am I going to find a USB key small enough to create the image?  
> And, heck, it prolly won't work, anyway.

You can still patition the Stick to a smaller size and dd with bs=x
and count=y. I'm using virtualbox instead, because it boots faster 
and allows easier access to the finished image (via VBoxManage clonehd)
than "real" hardware.

> I believe (one this firmware has finished downloading & I've reflashed  
> the iDRAC) that I should be able to use .iso CD images stored  on my  
> laptop by using the Virtual Media drop-down in the Console viewer, but  
> that's a bit lame because it means the whole process is slowed by the  
> network connection between me & the server. I'm clearly not alone in  
> having thought "a 1gig SD card? I can fling a bunch of Knoppix CDs on  
> there any boot from them any time I have an o/s emergency".
> 
> Has anyone got any good solutions to this, please? Is there anywhere I  
> can find .img files that actually work with the iDRAC6?
> (Yes, I do have the "Enterprise" model, BTW).

I'd recommend TinyCore Linux. 

http://www.tinycorelinux.com/

It's small enough to fit on the 16MB Virtual Flash of the 
DRAC5s with enough space left to install a few extra packages.
It does not include any of the the MegaRAID drivers. so you'll
have to reconfigure and recompile the kernel, or you could
just use my image:
 
http://canavan.de/TinyCore2.8.xfs.img

If DRAC6s are your only concern, you could use the "small version
of GRML, which should be around 100MB:

http://grml.org/download/

rainer canavan



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