OpenBSD Boot and Install Using PXE (Preboot Execution Environment)
How do I boot and Install OpenBSD operating system using Preboot Execution Environment (PXE)? Do I need to use an existing OpenBSD host to install OpenBSD using PXE?
Do I need to use an existing OpenBSD host to install OpenBSD using PXE?
No. You do not need to use an existing OpenBSD host. All you need is DHCP and TFTP server. You can install and configure DHCPD and TFTPD on Linux, Debian, Ubuntu, RHEL, CentOS and so on. In short, you need:
What is PXE?
PXE is acronmy for Preboot Execution Environment. You need to use PXE to boot a server from the network, rather than from a CD/DVD or hard disk. Usually, PXE booting is done using ROMs on the NIC of the server. OpenBSD can be installed using PXE.
How does it work?
+--------------+ +---------------+ vr0 -> PXE-capable NIC
| DHCP Server | | Target system | con0 -> Serial console
| TFTFD Server +---------------+---------------+
| Debian Linux | Step #1: Give me an IP address.
+--------------+ Step #2: DHCP server will assing an IP address
eth0:192.168.1.5 and gives the name of a file to be
retrieved from a tftpd server.
Step #3: This file (pxeboot) will boot the target system
and will load and and execute a kernel called bsd/bsd.rd
from tftp server.
Step #4: Continue as normal and install OpenBSD on disk.
Make sure your server support booting using a PXE-boot network card.
Use cd command to change a directory to /srv/tftp: # cd /srv/tftp Download the OpenBSD PXE boot loader from OpenBSD ftp server: # wget http://ftp.openbsd.org/pub/OpenBSD/5.2/i386/pxeboot Download the install kernel called bsd.rd: # wget http://ftp.openbsd.org/pub/OpenBSD/5.2/i386/bsd.rd Configure a boot configuration file called etc/boot.conf: # mkdir etc # vi etc/boot.conf Sample configuration:
stty com0 19200
set tty com0
Save and close the file. Where,
stty com0 19200 : Set console redirection using com0. The tty speed is set to 19200 baud.
set tty com0 : Tty name.
boot tftp:/bsd.rd : OpenBSD boot kernel name.
Start / reload DHCPD / tftpd: # service isc-dhcp-server restart # service tftpd-hpa restart
Configure system to boot from PXE
You will have to activate the PXE boot on your system and network card. Go to BIOS and activate PXE boot or consult your system documentation:
How do I install OpenBSD via PXE
When your netboot servers are ready, you can install OpenBSD. Start the server or embedded device. You should see something similar to the following:
Note: Make sure you connect your server using a serial console client such as screen: # screen /dev/ttyUSB0 19200,cs8
Check out related media
The following video demonstrate the OpenBSD installation using PXE boot:
The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.