Thursday, February 21, 2013

Booting over network - Use ipxe and forget etherboot/gpxe

I was playing around with diskless options and decided to see if I could boot Puppy Linux over the network. As usual, it was easy to find a recipe on the net. I got the gpxe boot linux kernel image for forcedeth driver.

The surprise was the terrible performance I got on a 100mbps network. I did not wait for it to finish booting! On a 1GB network, the performance was 'merely' bad. I did not expect tftp to be so bad!

Searching the net, I realized that gpxe allows html as the protocol instead. There was no change if I used pxelinux.0 and it was even worse if I used gpxelinux.0! I tried pxelinux.0 and gpxelinux.0 from version 5.01 of Syslinux with no improvement. However, the performance was better on my lenovo netbook which needed the r8169 driver. The performance using html protocol was still not any better.

The search for an answer led to the ipxe project. Mercifully, the ipxe.krn from the iso file worked for both the cards. Now, the performance over html was significantly better. It took half the time to boot Puppy Linux using html protocol.

1 comment:

  1. see how to natively PXE boot this Puppy