Deploy Windows server using PXE


#1

Hi All,

We want to use pxe to provision our servers from ManageIQ.
I can deploy linux servers right know with manage using pxelinux, but I’m really stuck by deploying the Windows server.

Does anyone a guide or information how I can deploy a Windows server with pxe using ManageIQ?

Thanks!


#2

I remember us doing this a few years ago. @gmccullough or @bdunne - any recollection?


#3

I recently deployed a Windows 2012 server with PXE, but not using ManageIQ, would any of this information be helpful in getting the process to the next step? Or do you already have this information?


#4

This information sounds very helpful! Can you post it? Thanks!


#5

So, you will need

  • PXE server
  • HTTP server
  • Samba/Windows File Share

The general steps that we will take are as follows:

  • Gathering the required files
  • Modifying the Windows PE environment to add the drivers we need (optional)
  • Booting into iPXE and chaining to the Windows PE Environment
  • Mounting the remote ISO
  • Installing

I’ll need to gather together some notes to give a complete how to. Please note that this was not an automated installed, though I believe it is possible with this method. I’ll do my best to get the info rolled up by the end of the day, if not, it’ll probably be tomorrow.


#6

It appears my e-mail reply didn’t get posted…

Our Windows provisioning is based on the users having an existing WIM (Windows Image) file containing a sysprepped image, a Windows PE image that can be PXE booted, a sysprep file, and a SMB share for the scripts. In ManageIQ, you discover the Windows PE PXE image and mark it as the “Windows Boot Environment” and discover the WIM files on the PXE server. This is mostly documented in the Automation and Lifecycle guide around section “3.1.3.4. Setting the PXE Image Type for a PXE Image”. I’ll see if I have any other notes on the process and add them too.


#7

Thanks alot so far for the information. I know the documentation section, but I’m searching for information about the pxe server and all the configuration there, WinPE, Samba iPXE…


#8

@JSpaans91 These may help…

https://access.redhat.com/documentation/en-US/CloudForms/3.1/html/Management_Engine_5.3_Lifecycle_and_Automation_Guide/chap-Provisioning_Requests.html#sect-PXE_Provisioning


#9

Hi!

Sorry for my late response, but the information is really helpfull, thanks alot!
I’m playing around with it and when I the configuration have done, I will post the complete configuration.

Kind Regards,

Jeroen


#10

Hi!

I’m playing around today and I have made much steps forward, but I have also a few questions.

  1. In your documention you set in the startnet.cmd the following line: s:\sources\microsoft\evm.bat, but what’s in the evm.bat file? I think a script to check the servers mac address and start the image.bat file in that directory?

Update: I wrote a batch file for doing this:

@echo off

FOR /F "TOKENS=2 DELIMS=:" %%I IN ('IPCONFIG /ALL^|FIND "Physical Address"') DO (SET MAC=%%I)
SET MAC=%MAC: =%
    
cd /d s:\sysprep\%MAC%\
image.bat

It’s working fine right know :smile:

  1. The last step in the image.bat file, that is generated by the ManageIQ appliance, he is asking for curl to request the ManageIQ API. Do you know wich curl package you have in the microsoft directory to run this?

Thanks for so far!


#11

@JSpaans91

It was difficult to get anything like curl working in that environment due to missing SSL libraries, so @Fryguy wrote a small vb script like the following that did what we needed and we called it curl.vbs

url = Wscript.Arguments(0)
Set h = CreateObject("MSXML2.ServerXMLHTTP")
h.Open "GET", url, False
h.SetOption 2, 13056 'SXH_OPTION_IGNORE_SERVER_SSL_CERT_ERROR_FLAGS
h.Send

#12

Thanks a lot for the your post! That was the last missing thing and all work fine right now.
I will post the documentation off the complete configuration soon.


#13

Our Windows provisioning is based on the users having an existing WIM
(Windows Image) file containing a sysprepped image, a Windows PE image that
can be PXE booted, an sysprep file, and a SMB share for the scripts. In
ManageIQ, you discover the Windows PE PXE image and mark it as the Windows
Boot Environment and discover the WIM files on the PXE server. This is
mostly documented in the Automation and Lifecycle guide around section
3.1.3.4. Setting the PXE Image Type for a PXE Image. I’ll see if I have
any other notes on the process and add them too.


#14

Thanks for the responses so far!
The section in the documentation I had already read. I’m most interested in configuration of the PXE server etc.


#15

Does anyone know if ManageIQ require any specific WinPE version? I am using version 3.0 and have marked it as the Windows Boot Environment but ManageIQ doesn’t flag it as ‘Yes’ after I clicked the save button. Am I missing something?