Install to / boot from SAN support (FC, not FCoE)

  • It appears that while iPXE supports FCoE via sanboot, there is no support for traditional FC HBA booting. In my physical server environment, all systems are boot-from-FC-SAN and have no local drives whatsoever.

    Without FC HBA support (Emulex in my case), I don’t believe there is a way for iPXE to boot from the local hard drive from the menu system, as FC HBA drivers simply are not present. FCoE works because it’s over the ethernet adapters which are supported and do have drivers in iPXE.

    rEFInd should be able to go back to UEFI and from there boot from the FC LUN that was attached during EFI POST when the Emulex EFI ROM was loaded – however this is also not working for me. I have not performed any significant troubleshooting steps on this, so it may be possible.

    I am loading iPXE via the server BMC via iPXE ISO, so my workaround there is to simply reboot to the FC LUN after imaging is finished - and this is satisfactory.

    However, my biggest issue is that I cannot create/deploy images using FOG against my FC LUNs, I assume because the FOG OS does not contain Emulex FC drivers and hence the same issue occurs. I’m wondering if anyone here has successfully solved this problem, or if you could point me to the right resource on compiling drivers and creating new kernel/ramdisk for FOG OS that would include the Emulex drivers so that I can at least create/deploy images using FOG? As mentioned, I’m less worried about booting from the FC LUN from the iPXE menu as I am about having an imaging solution in general.

    Thanks !!

  • Senior Developer

    @jms FOS is based on buildroot. Building your own custom init is definitely possible but we don’t have a nice wiki article on this.

    On the other hand it’s all available in a script. Clone a copy of the FOS repo and run the build script:

    git clone
    cd fos
    ./ -fn -a x64

    Make sure you have enough of disk space available (roughly 7 GB as it downloads and compiles a huge amount of code) and lots of CPU power and RAM. On our designated compile workhorse it takes more than an hour to build. On my laptop it’s more like 8 hours.

  • Thanks – I will add the Emulex drivers and rebuild the kernel for FOS - I believe that will get me 90% of the way there and I will at least be able to capture/deploy images etc., although I may need to add some user space tools as well (for multipath etc). Can you tell me which Linux distro FOS is based upon - or if it is a completely custom Linux OS in case I need additional user space packages to install or compile?

    I will also post to the iPXE message boards about native FC HBA support or also utilizing the EFI FC HBA driver (already loaded during POST) when wanting to boot directly to the FC LUN from iPXE menu.

  • Senior Developer

    @jms For drivers to be added to the FOG OS (FOS we also call it) you can simply build your own kernel:

    Rebuilding the inits is not needed as we have all kernel drivers included in the binary instead of loadable modules. Just give it a try following the wiki article and build your custom kernel. Then play with the kernel options and see if you can add the correct driver and make it work. We might even add those to the official build if you have success testing it on your hardware.

    Concerning the boot from disk still. Not having this kind of special hardware at hand it is very hard to help you. You probably need to test yourself. Keeping my fingers crossed that there are other people active in the forums who have the same piece of hardware and can help.