Anyone Tried to use iPXE to boot with iSCSI?

dweimer dweimer at
Thu Sep 20 20:24:53 UTC 2012

On 2012-09-20 09:42, Vincent Hoffman wrote:
> On 19/09/2012 06:53, dweimer wrote:
>> 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?
> Sounds like you need this
> Vince

That's looking promising, I had actually ran across an earlier version 
of this last night, of course that was all dealing with 8.1.  Will 
definitely do more looking into it, however it doesn't seem to be at a 
point I would consider running anything more than a test environment 
from it.

My actual goal with this project if the proof of concept panned out was 
to replace the old aging internal SATA Mirrored drives in my Home 
web/email server (They are showing a decent number of smart pre-fail 
indicators, but still working for now).  I have fairly new SATA drives 
in my FreeNAS box, and thought maybe since my Gig network is barely 
being taxed, that I could save some cash for new disk drives, to be put 
towards future upgrades to the FreeNAS box instead.

However I am not ruling out the possibility altogether yet, and am 
going to run some tests with booting from a very minimal set of required 
files on a USB thumb Drive, and mounting everything else from iSCSI.  I 
am already running all my VMware Test Virtual Machines on my workstation 
from an iSCSI volume mounted from my FreeNAS box, and know that it 
performs well enough in my network to handle the small amount of traffic 
to my website and my email without any problems.

    Dean E. Weimer

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