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Connection issues during VMimage PXE boot to another VM.

Posted on 2010-09-08
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
Hi I have been trying for a minute to PXE boot a vmware windows xp image to another vmware 2003 server running provisioning server.

If you are familiar with Citrix provisioning you will know that I need to load the vdisk during pxe boot to make it active.  I have configured boot options 66 and 67 and I can see the xp vm acquiring a IP address as well as connecting to the vdisk but something happens during the connection that causes it not to complete correctly.  I get no errors during the boot and there are no errors collected on the provisioning server.  Both vm images are using the E1000 drivers.
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Question by:adrianjfx
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by:bgoering
ID: 33632729
if the vdisk is pre-configured with VMware Tools it probably won't work. You need to have the native E1000 driver for PXE boot to be successful in a VM. Tools install replaces that driver.

See http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1009104

Good Luck
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by:vivigatt
ID: 33635517
I am not an expert with PVS, but with HP Image Manager (which is more or less the same), there arze no issues using VMWare tools in the "client" configuration.

I guess it depends what kind of virtual NIC there is in your client VM.

Using "flexible" is certainly the best choice, but you may have to use it from the beginning (switching to flexible after the VM has been created and its OS has been installed might give unpredictable results).

Also, in some cases (that I am currently investigating), the PXE part of the boot process takes forever (more than 3 minutes), but when Windows (and Windows NIC drivers) take control of the VM, then everything runs at the speed of light!

If you can describe your problem more precisely, I may help a little more.
For instance, what happens when "the boot process does not complete correctly"? What does the VM display then?

And also, what VMWare product are you using? ESX4? Something else?


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Author Comment

by:adrianjfx
ID: 33637165
Hi Vivgatt, I figured that the VMware tools didnt have much impact, but I still tried removing them with no success.  I agree that the problem has to be the network card.  I am currently using the E1000 driver per VMWare KB 1009104.

I will try to switch the adapter to flexible and see what results I get.  For clarity, when the boot process does not complet correctly the system just continues to boot normally, but on the PVS server a green checkmark does not appear next to the device which indicates that the vdisk was mounted.  (The VM displays no error).

I'm sure its something to do with the vm to vm communication as I am able to successfully boot using physical machines.
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Expert Comment

by:vivigatt
ID: 33641383
Do you mean that your VM can actually boot off Provisioning Server ?
If so, there is no issue with the PXE portion of the boot process.

Or is the vDisk a non system disk (not a boot disk), and then, does it appear in the disks available to your VM?

If the VM has a boot vDisk AND a "VM HDD" (a .vmdk file", what can happen is that you begin to boot off the vDisk (the PXE portion), and when Windows switches to protected mode and uses its drivers, it then continues to boot off the vmdk disk. The VM then never registers that it mounted a vDisk (since I think this is done by a Windows component). This is easy to check: Configure your VM so that it does not have any .vmdk disk and see if it then can boot completely off PVS. And if so, check if then it registers OK...
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adrianjfx earned 0 total points
ID: 33827452
Hi guys, i figured this one out.  All you have to do is ensure the network card is the first on the list in the bios boot order.  Thanks for your help!
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by:adrianjfx
ID: 33827453
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