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Search - "fuck pxe"
So today my teacher told me to do that project for some competition or something(frankly, I don't remember clearly what this is for). He gave us the machines we need, the CDs with the systems we have to work with. We are supposed to make a properly working Beowulf cluster from the things I've been given.
I am really okay with making this the way my teacher wants us to do. I am okay with installing an ubuntu 16.04 server that is completly irrevelant to the project, because it's not part of the cluster. I am really okay with using some weird linux distribution on the master nobody has ever heard of. But I'm not okay when the software we've been given(including operating system) has seven pages of documentation, escpecially when fucking screenshoots of how PXE booting should look like are roughly 70% of it. No, I couldn't find a thing on the internet about it. I couldn't read the fucking manual. There was no fucking manual. There was no fucking --help. There was no motherfucking english language. Everything was motherfucking spanish, including that 7 pages long document that was supposed to guide us through our work. It was planned to be done until march. The only reason I can think of about why doing the stuff the document tells us to do would take four motherfucking months is that we'd have to learn spanish to do this. And I'm not going to do that. Not because I don't like spanish or learning. Simply because I didn't sign up for this to learn languages.
And no. I can't switch to other, human purposed software. I am only allowed to use the things the teacher has given us. Because somebody has worked on it already couple of years ago and they had left a pdf file about how to install that ubuntu server I've been writing about a while ago. Which, by the way, was the "installation guide for animals". Showing how to install a system, screenshoot after screenshot.
It took about an hour to figure out the thing supposed to handle pxe booting computers all the time was telling us that it can't work because we had to configure ethernet interface manually. Because why the fuck not.
I have been working on a long time, low progress project of mine that keeps on giving and giving.
Let's begin like two years ago where I dipped my toes into "more then gigabit" networking thanks to a Linus Techtips video about infiniband.
I had the dream of booting my Workstation from my NAS, a so called diskless setup.
Well, since I run FreeNAS on my Nas , a very nice Freebsd based Nas OS, everything's gonna be good.
In the beginning, there was no infiniband support.
Turns out, you don't need it, since the mellanox CX2 nics can do ETH too.
Just took me a few weeks of anger.
So, to be able to boot something over the network, you need firmware that finds the bookable stuff and loads it.
That protocol and firmware is called PXE.
PXE needs a DHCP telling it what to do, and what is where and etc.
Freenas here I come! Installing dnsmasq on the actual freenas install turned out to be not that great of an idea because freenas thinks of itself as being an "appliance" that you don't fiddle with. So things work, until you update/ upgrade when everything will basically be wiped, except what you have done through the ui.
Ok. So I gona use a jail, a container like thing for that.
Everything is great, jail has internet, everything Installs fine, what could go wrong?
Dnsmasq can launch and work, but not as dhcp server. Some thing about permissions.
Turns out, jails have permission like things.
A few days of head scratching later, it has ALL the permissions.
Dnsmasq still can't work as DHCP server though, why you ask?
Because it needs a specific kernelmodule that isn't contained in the jail. Since jails are kind of like a docker container, they run on the same OS kernel, who does not have this module, I'd need to patch the freenas, which is an appliance, so fuck that.
Like a year later, freenas has finally added good VM support, so why not make a VM for the dhcpserver?
Well, about a year ago, I didn't know that the virtual Intel nic is a fucken unstable piece of garbage, crashing nearly any OS at some point.
So that was it for a while again.
Now to the last few weeks.
Finally dnsmasq is running in a freebsd VM with a good and working configuration which is rather simple, if those tutorial fuckers out there would explain shit instead of just telling you to copy, paste and replace X.
Now back to the PXE side.
I'm using iPXE because I have no clue how to boot anything over tftp so iSCSi it is, since that is what I can relate too.
The idea behind iscsi is to fake a SCSI disk over the network. Attached devices appear as if they are actually directly connected to the machine instead of over the network.
iPXE gets a lease from the server, can connect to it, everything is fucken great. Finally.
Except that if it "sanBoots" the iscsi drive, it can't find anything to boot.
If I attach a Linux live USB over iscsi, it boots, finds grub, and crashes because the live iso isn't configured for network-boot.
But it boots.
So what's so different?
Well iPXE is booted in legacy mode, where as the content of the target is windows 10 in efi mode.
Ok. Can I get iPXE to boot in EFI mode?
Well yes, after like 3 days fiddling with it.
But it only finds the onboard Intel nic instead of the new Mellanox CX3 cards, and can't even connect to the target....
Sooo, I guess my options are as follows.
Either, get PXE efi to work on the network cards directly, its called flexboot and might be able to since I just found some firmware options for that.
Or give up on efi and install windows in legacy mode.
Which isn't that easy when it has to end up on a drive on my nas.