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Priority Colo -- PXE Installer primer

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Priority Colo -- PXE Installer primer


This primer is a guide for using the PriorityColo Rapid Deployment System, a PXE bootloader which can be used to quickly and easily launch the installers for a variety of OSes.  If your KVM is operational and your next step is to install your OS, this is the guide for you.





The Priority Colo Rapid Deployment system runs on a dedicated VLAN.  This allows for very flexible operability within the network infrastructure.  In brief: it allows the logically separate PXE network to be accessed from the same port as The Internet.

Before starting: in order to boot from the PC PXE server, you must first contact support, and request that your port be switched to the PXE VLAN (unless you happen to have a dedicated PXE port, which is not a common configuration).  Once finished, you will need to contact support again, to switch the port back, before you can access The Internet again.





When the port is configured correctly, configure the server to boot from LAN.  (If the system previously had an OS installed, you will also need to adjust the boot order, so that LAN boots first.  On a virgin box, the BIOS will skip the empty HDD and boot LAN "first".)






On booting, you should see the DHCP configuration animation, indicating that the system is connected to the network correctly …







Once you see the Rapid Deployment menu, the system has successfully connected to the PXE server, and you are ready to begin.







Menu items are named for the OS name and version, and optionally the "architecture".  Since Priority Colo only supports intel-based systems, only 32-bit (aka i386) and 64-bit (aka amd64 aka x86_64) are generally available.  The suffix "-64" indicates a 64-bit OS, and no suffix implies a 32-bit OS (which 64-bit Intel architectures should all support).


Type the name of the OS you wish to install into the prompt, and it will boot into the network install environment.

Once booted, the installer will operate as a typical optical-media-based installation would.  However, no ISO image will be available.  Instead, a "network-based" install must be performed.  The process differs slightly between Linux distros, but the idea is generally the same: when prompted for the server (or "network path") for the install media, specify the PXE server IP address.  (Unless otherwise indicated, DHCP on interface "eth0" should have the system connected.)

* For CentOS and Fedora distros, enter "<distro-id>", where "<distro-id>" is the same as the menu item you booted with.  Example 1: Fedora 15 32-bit == 2: CentOS 6.0 64-bit ==


** The cpanel-500 install is, as noted, the latest CentOS version, with a fully configured kickstart script.  (Note, cPanel itself is not installed as part of this process, but it will be ready to go.)


* For Debian (or Ubuntu) distros, enter server, location "/debian" (or "/ubuntu").  The distro will figure out which packages to use from there.



* The FreeBSD installers are custom-made, and slightly awkward as a result, but the general idea is, enter server, and then the default path for the BSD distro being installed.  Usually it is something like: /pub/FreeBSD/releases/amd64/9.0-release/



* The "memtest" and "dos" options provide a convenient starting point, e.g. for testing RAM or installing BIOS updates.



Once processed with the correct information, the installer should be able to complete successfully (normally just a base install, but some will have more complete functionality).

Don't forget to contact support once finished, to move your port back!

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