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Boot a guest using PXE - Do it now

This article covers how to boot a guest using PXE. PXE booting is supported for Guest Operating Systems that are listed in the VMware Guest Operating System Compatibility list and whose operating system vendor supports PXE booting of the operating system.

The virtual machine must meet the following requirements:

1. Have a virtual disk without operating system software and with enough free disk space to store the intended system software.

2. Have a network adapter connected to the network where the PXE server resides.

A virtual machine is not complete until you install the guest operating system and VMware Tools. Installing a guest operating system in your virtual machine is essentially the same as installing it in a physical computer.

To use PXE with Virtual Machines:

You can start a virtual machine from a network device and remotely install a guest operating system using a Preboot Execution Environment (PXE). 

You do not need the operating system installation media. When you turn on the virtual machine, the virtual machine detects the PXE server.

To Install a Guest Operating System from Media:

You can install a guest operating system from a CD-ROM or from an ISO image. Installing from an ISO image is typically faster and more convenient than a CD-ROM installation. 

To Upload ISO Image Installation Media for a Guest Operating System:

You can upload an ISO image file to a datastore from your local computer. You can do this when a virtual machine, host, or cluster does not have access to a datastore or to a shared datastore that has the guest operating system installation media that you require.

How to Use a private libvirt network ?

1. Boot a guest virtual machine using libvirt with PXE booting enabled. You can use the virt-install command to create/install a new virtual machine using PXE:

virt-install --pxe --network network=default --prompt

2. Alternatively, ensure that the guest network is configured to use your private libvirt network, and that the XML guest configuration file has a <boot dev='network'/> element inside the <os> element, as shown in the following example:


   <type arch='x86_64' machine='pc-i440fx-rhel7.0.0'>hvm</type>

   <boot dev='network'/>

   <boot dev='hd'/>


3. Also ensure that the guest virtual machine is connected to the private network:

<interface type='network'>

   <mac address='52:54:00:66:79:14'/>

   <source network='default'/>

   <target dev='vnet0'/>

   <alias name='net0'/>

   <address type='pci' domain='0x0000' bus='0x00' slot='0x03' function='0x0'/>


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