PXE boot and install ESXi 6.7 U1 – remember to use correct boot files

This is a short revisit of an earlier blog post on automating ESXi installation through PXE booting and Kickstart scripts.

In that post we configured a solution for installing 6.5 U1 and that have served me well for a while. Although we have our hosts on newer builds and versions we like to install them with the same image and then run through the patches so that all hosts in the environment are configured in the same way.

On a new environment however we decided to install the hosts directly to 6.7 U1 and that had me revisiting my tftp server setup.… continue reading

Customizing ESXi installation with kickstart files and PXE boot

This blog post will be building on a previous post where I built a small PXE server environment for ESXi installation.

In this post we will enhance the PXE install with customized kickstart files specific for the hardware we want to install.

There’s two new components to discuss here. The kickstart file (ks.cfg) it self and how to point to it during PXE boot.

Let’s take a look at the current environment

The tftp server root is located at /var/lib/tftpboot and my images is stored as directories under this directory. The default (and at this point only) PXE menu is configured in the pxelinux.cfg/default file (used in legacy PXE boot)

Kickstart scripts

We’ll start customizing with adding a generic kickstart file under a new ks directory.… continue reading

Building a PXE boot environment for ESXi

In our environment we run ESXi primarily on HPE Proliant servers. We use OneView for managing the hardware it self (i.e. monitoring, firmware), but for provisioning ESXi to the servers we have been doing some of it manually and some of it with HPE Insight Control Server Provisioning (ICsp).

When preparing for deployment of a new batch of servers we found that Proliant Gen10 servers is not supported by ICsp. Furthermore after an unofficial chat with a HPE employee it seems that it won’t be anytime soon either. There is a new major version of OneView coming, version 4, which has more features and integrations than before, but from the publicly available FAQs I can’t find anything about it supporting OS deployment

With that we decided to look into building a small deployment solution ourselves.… continue reading