Anyone Tried to use iPXE to boot with iSCSI?

Bill Tillman btillman99 at
Thu Sep 20 00:45:22 UTC 2012

----- Original Message -----
From: dweimer <dweimer at>
To: FreeBSD Questions <freebsd-questions at>
Sent: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 1:53 AM
Subject: Anyone Tried to use iPXE to boot with iSCSI?

I was just trying some proof of concept testing to see if I could get a system booting with no local disk using iSCSI running from my FreeNAS box.

I got started, by first booting a 9.1-RC1 CD, into live CD, created a /tmp/iscsi.conf used kldload to load the iscsi initiator, connected to the target, created a gpt boot partition, swap partition and just a single / volume using remianing space.  Copied the bootcode, created the file system, extracted the system etc.  Created a loader.conf file, added the iscsi_initiator_load="YES" option, copied my /tmp/iscsi.conf file to the new file system at /etc/iscsi.conf created a /etc/fstab file using the gpart labels to mount / and swap partitions.

Booted the system from the iPXE.iso, ran the necessary configuration options, connected to the iscsi volume, and booted from it.  It does launch the bootcode, as expected, and then breaks failing to mount root.

Whoch I actually expected, I have proved I can install to an iSCSI volume, I can connect to that iSCSI volume prior to loading the kernel, and load the kernel from it.

What I can't seem to find any information on is how to mount iSCSI volumes at boot on FreeBSD, so that the kernel can mount the root partition.  Does anyone have any idea how to do this, or if its even possible?

-- Thanks,
   Dean E. Weimer
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Interesting project you've got there. I can't say mine is similar but I do have a machine which I'm using as a router which boots disklessly. Running 8.3-STABLE amd64, in fact I just rebuilt the world on both the server which serves this puppy it's OS and the /diskless partition where this puppy get's it's boot up from. Booting by pxe is not an easy thing to do. The docs are terrible and out of synch with the latest versions of the OS. I think there may have been some improvments on that end but it's still kind of a seat of the pants operation. I had several contacts in #FreeBSD on FreeNode who told me they had many diskless servers running yet when pressed for how they did it the answers they gave were vague and ambiguous, that is if they answered at all. I did finally find a site which explained most of it in an almost clear manner, but even that site was filled with typos and out of date information. The router I've built is disks at all
 and until the reboot a few weeks ago it had been running 24/7 for 276 days...without one failure. We watch lots of NetFlix movies here, sometimes two or three at a time with my teenage kids here with their laptops. And I can still enjoy a quick download or two in my lab while all this bandwidth is being served.  

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