Booting from ISO file on remote computer via ILO console on HP Proliant servers

Accessing an ISO file for new OS installation a new HP Proliant server can be tricky if we don’t have manual access to the server or if we intend to do this remotely.

In page number: 237 of the ILO 4 user guide available at HPE iLO 4 User Guide, I found below paragraph, which can be an option to access the ISO image from new physical server.

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Using an image file through a URL (IIS/Apache) You can connect scripted media by using the .NET IRC or Java IRC.

Scripted media supports only 1.44 MB floppy disk images (.img) and CD/DVD-ROM images (.iso).

The image must be on a web server on the same network as iLO.

  1. Start the .NET IRC or Java IRC.
  2. Depending on the image type you will use, select Virtual Drives→URL Removable Media (.img) or Virtual Drives→URL CD-ROM/DVD (.iso). The Image file at URL dialog box opens.
  3. Enter the URL for the image file that you want to mount as a virtual drive, and then click Connect. The virtual drive activity LED does not show drive activity for URL-mounted virtual media.

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Following is the process flow which has been mentioned in the HP blog ILO 4 Scripted Media URL

  1. Use an existing web server, or install a new web server for the purpose of delivering the ISO files

2. Create a folder to hold the ISO images

3. Add ISO file(s)

4. Enable directory browsing in Web Services. You can do this with the IIS manager if          its a Windows web server. If you created a custom folder for the files, enable        directory browsing on that folder.

5. You must add a MIME type for the ISO extension. In Server 2008 IIS, you can do this          from the HTTP Headers selection in IIS Manager.

a> .ISO application/octet-stream

b> .IMG application/octet-stream

6. Login to the ILO target server, and open the remote console

7. At the top of the window, click on Virtual Drives, and then select URL DVD ROM

8. Input the HTTP path to the image file, including the file name. Click connect and it              will mount the drive. Path will resemble “http://hostname or IP/folder/filename.ISO

Now the problem with this approach is network latency, especially when the infrastructure is globally spread.

So what can be solution here. Virtual folders?

lets read below two paragraphs taken from the user guide.

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Operating system considerations: Virtual Folder

  • Windows—A Virtual Folder appears automatically after Windows recognizes the mounting of the virtual USB device. You can use the folder the same way that you use a locally attached device. Virtual Folders are nonbootable. Attempting to boot from the Virtual Folder might prevent the server from starting.

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Virtual folders enable you to access, browse to, and transfer files from a client to a managed server. You can mount and dismount a local or networked directory that is accessible through the client. After you create a virtual image of a folder or directory, the server connects to the image as a USB storage device, enabling you to browse to the server and transfer the files from the virtual image to the server.

Using iLO Virtual Media The Virtual Folder is nonbootable and read-only; the mounted folder is static. Changes to the client folder are not replicated in the mounted folder.

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Apart from this virtual folders also have a size limit of 2 GB.

So we come down to our next option -> Image File CD/DVD-ROM

For this option we first need to copy the ISO file to a temporary server in the network where we are installing the new physical server. From this temporary server, we should access the ILO of new server. And select VIrtual Drives Option as Image File CD/DVD-ROM. We then have to browse to ISO file stored locally on temporary server and mount it. As this time the ISO file is in the same network as the new server, the network latency would be eliminated and access speed would be greatly enhanced.

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