PXE with 3rd Party Drivers

Issues related to configuring your network

PXE with 3rd Party Drivers

Postby draconisle » 2012/04/14 00:17:35

Hi Everyone,

I have a few issues with PXE and automated builds. The manual build works just fine (thanks to the awesome ElRepo guys) and I was able to find the right drivers for my JMicron JMC250 PCI Express GB NIC per the link below:

[SOLVED] Unable to Install NIC Driver - Asus Nettop EB1007 JMicron JMC250 PCI Express GB NIC

However, I was wondering how this would work with PXE. I have an existing PXE server on a CentOS 6.2 VM. Works great. According to this Wiki Doc, I only need to copy 2 files (vmlinuz and initrd.img from /images/pxeboot/ directory). I compared the 5.4 CD and DVD since thats the only version that I had with both ISOs and they seem to be exactly the same size. The only thing that really takes up a good bulk of the space is the CentOS directory where all the rpms are stored. From what I can understand, those are the only files I need to install a basic CentOS deployment through PXE.

So my question is, how do I add 3rd party drivers to my PXE server so that they are automatically installed as the CentOS installation kicks off? I googled around and some people also had issues with 3rd party drivers for their RAID cards.

How do you install the 3rd party RAID drivers first before the OS kicks off even when it is a manual install? Can I modify the ISO so that the driver can be automatically installed? I assume floppies are no longer required if it is a fairly new RAID card but not part of the supported hardware?
Can a ks.cfg file tell CentOS to install, for example, the RAID card driver (same goes for my NIC I guess) which I would assume needs a local YUM repository that will hold my drivers and additional software?
If so, even if I had the same model servers but some had onboard and some had addon RAID cards, is there anyway to auto-detect which ones it would need so I dont install unneeded drivers?


Mark
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PXE with 3rd Party Drivers

Postby pschaff » 2012/04/14 00:37:48

That is much too confusing and complex to provide a general and complete answer.

If you have hardware not supported by the installer that requires a driver disk you need to acquire one. ELRepo may be able to help with that.

I know of no general way to detect and automatically provide drivers for hardware not supported by the kernel, but driver disks can be created to support multiple drivers.

If you have a lot of identical hardware/software installs then scripting with kickstart is the way to go.

Beyond that, if you have specific questions please ask.
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Re: PXE with 3rd Party Drivers

Postby draconisle » 2012/04/14 01:55:40

Hi Phil,

How do I install a ElRepo nic driver over pxe through Kickstart that isnt part of the kernel? Is this the preferred way?

If I build the box manually, I usually use a USB and install as shown below:
Code: Select all
[root@localhost tmp]# rpm -Uvh module-init-tools-3.3-0.pre3.1.60.el5_5.1.x86_64.rpm kmod-jme-1.0.6.1-2.el5.elrepo.x86_64.rpm
warning: module-init-tools-3.3-0.pre3.1.60.el5_5.1.x86_64.rpm: Header V3 DSA signature: NOKEY, key ID e8562897
warning: kmod-jme-1.0.6.1-2.el5.elrepo.x86_64.rpm: Header V3 DSA signature: NOKEY, key ID baadae52
Preparing...                ########################################### [100%]
   1:module-init-tools      ########################################### [ 50%]
   2:kmod-jme               ########################################### [100%]
Working. This may take some time ...
Done.


I would assume that having a local YUM repository doesnt do me any good to store the drivers on since CentOS doesnt have a known NIC driver to begin with so do I really have to modify the initrd.img file?


Mark
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Re: PXE with 3rd Party Drivers

Postby pschaff » 2012/04/14 10:49:13

draconisle wrote:
Hi Phil,

How do I install a ElRepo nic driver over pxe through Kickstart that isnt part of the kernel? Is this the preferred way?

Someone else can probably better answer that as I don't use PXE; however, do not try to follow CentOS-4 instructions for CentOS-6. A lot has changed.

...
I would assume that having a local YUM repository doesnt do me any good to store the drivers on since CentOS doesnt have a known NIC driver to begin with so do I really have to modify the initrd.img file?

To have network drivers at boot time a local repo will not help. You need a driverdisk or initrd. Again, I'm not up on how to handle this with PXE. Try a google on driver update disk pxe el6 OR rhel6 OR centos6 OR "red hat enterprise linux 6" or driver update disk pxe OR rhel6 OR "enterprise linux 6" site:redhat.com.
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[SOLVED] PXE with 3rd Party Drivers

Postby draconisle » 2012/04/14 12:20:23

Hi Phil,

Thanks much. In that link, it seemed he placed a driver disk ISO under an NFS store for any non-NIC drivers he needed during install. I might do the same and see if it still works but I dont have a testbed seeing that most of my test servers are VMs. I will also look around the RedHat docs. Much appreciated. :-D
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Re: [SOLVED] PXE with 3rd Party Drivers

Postby pschaff » 2012/04/14 12:25:37

You are welcome. Labeling [SOLVED] may be a bit premature before you have anything working. :-) Please keep us posted on your progress.
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