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Howtos - Installing via PXE enabled Network Card

Contents

Introduction

If you want to install or rescue your ClarkConnect server from over your network or the internet because you do not have a CDROM or some other reason then you can install using something called PXE. PXE stands for 'Preboot Execution Environment' and is part of Intels(tm) Wired for Management (WfM).

It allows you to use systems that have no CDROM's, allows you to replace your CDROM's with extra devices syuch as hard drives, or use more secure firewall appliances that have alternate boot devices such as floppy dirves or CDROM's.

The instructions below are to enable you to install ClarkConnect Home Edition 3.1, however the method will enable you to install other verisions of ClarkConnect with some minor alterations like source files and ftp details..

Requirements

Hardware

  • Modern BIOS with a PCI or an on-board network card.

File Downloads

  • PXE configuration and image files from the ClarkConnect FTP
    • Example: Home 3.1 (all files and pxelinux.cfg subdirectory)
  • System directory from the ClarkConnect CD or FTP server
    • Example: Home 3.1 (include RPMS and base subdirectories)

FTP, PXE, DHCP and TFTP Servers -- Using Windows

  • Windows-based Tftpd32 software (DHCP/TFTP/PXE server) - Home Page
  • A Windows-based FTP server

FTP, PXE, DHCP and TFTP Servers -- Using Linux

  • tftp-server
  • syslinux
  • proftpd

Instructions - Linux

The following example goes through setting up a PXE installation for the Home 3.1 Edition. Other versions and editions use the same setup, but with different usernames and password for the FTP server.

Installing the Required Software

You need to install three software packages: syslinux, tftp-server, and proftpd:

apt-get update
apt-get install tftp-server syslinux proftpd

Configuring the FTP Server

Create a user home-31 on your system with password hiptop. Copy the System folder from the ClarkConnect CD into the /home/home-31 directory.

Configuring the TFTP Server

Copy the PXE boot image into the TFTP server directory:

cp /usr/lib/syslinux/pxelinux.0 /tftpboot

Change the disable flag in /etc/xinetd.d/tftp. The flag should be set to disable = no. Then, enable and start the Xinetd super server:

/sbin/chkconfig xinetd on
/sbin/service xinetd start

Configuring the DHCP Server

On your Dnsmasq DHCP server, add the following configuration option:

dhcp-boot=pxelinux.0,<tftp-server-hostname>,<tftp-server-IP>

... where <tftp-server-hostname> is the hostname for the TFTP server, and <tftp-server-IP> is the IP address of the TFTP server. Here's an example:

dhcp-boot=pxelinux.0,beaker.lan,192.168.2.2

After the configuration change, restart the Dnsmasq server:

/sbin/service dnsmasq restart

Note: you do not need to run your Dnsmasq and TFTP from the same machine.

Instructions - Windows

The following are instructions for implementing a PXE server on Windows. If you are using a ClarkConnect system as your PXE server, see notes below.

FTP Server

You need to configure your FTP server as follows:

  • FTP server configured for the user home-31 and password hiptop.
  • FTP user's home directory should pointing to the System directory created above.

DHCP, TFTP and PXE Setup

  • Install the Tftpd32 software in a directory somewhere e.g. C:\Tftpd32
  • Copy all the downloaded PXE related files into the directory C:\Tftpd32
  • Start Tftpd32 and click on the DHCP tab. Configure the DHCP server settings ad set the boot file to "linux.0". Sample settings:
            IP pool starting address: 192.168.1.200 
            Size of pool: 5 
            Boot file: linux.0 
            Wins/DNS: 192.168.1.1
            Default router: 192.168.1.1 
            Mask: 255.255.255.0 
            Domain name: lan 
  • Temporarily disable other DHCP servers on your network.
  • Start your target ClarkConnect box and make sure it set to boot via the network. (This is sometimes enabled by pressing a keystroke during POST like ESCape or F12 or entering a Boot Menu)
  • If all goes well, you should see the ClarkConnect install splash screen. Go through the wizard and select the FTP method of install. You can use ftp.clarkconnect.com or the IP Address of your own FTP server.

Recommended Structure for Multiple CC Versions

Its excellent being able to install CC home of the network but it is even better if you can easily add another CC version to the list that you can install in this way.

In order to have multiple versions able to be installed in this manner it is important to maintain some sort of structure or things will get out of hand and become very confusing. Below is how I do it:

PXE boot directories (getting to the splash screen)

I have a samba mount on my CC server with a folder called ClarkConnect e.g. X:\ClarkConnect\. Under this folder we have a folder called PXE. And under this we have a folders called cc31 - home and cc31 - office

So the structure is like this

  • X:\ClarkConnect\
    • PXE
      • cc31 - home
      • cc31 - office

Within the directories are the files dowloaded from the CC website to allow PXE boot. Due to the size of tftpd32.exe I copy this into each of the folders and it uses the same configuration as above in each case. However sice the files are different in the folders it brings up different splash screens.

Add more directories as required e.g. cc31 - pro

Multiple local versions of ClarkConnect on private FTP server

Under X:\ClarkConnect\ as above there is another directory called ftpmount. And under here we put directories for the versions of CC that we want to make available. This structure looks like below.

  • X:\ClarkConnect\
    • ftpmount
      • cc31 - home
        • System
      • cc31 - office
        • System

So the user for accessing CC31 home content would be pointed at X:\ClarkConnect\ftpmount\cc31 - home\ and the CC31 office user would be pointed at X:\ClarkConnect\ftpmount\cc31 - office\

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