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John Stroy

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02:26 am: Windows 2003 booting off of iSCSI
This a recipe to boot Windows 2003 off of iSCSI:

- Set up an iSCSI target.  I used StarWind iSCSI Target because I'm a cheapass.
- Enable anonymous connections.

- Match the hardware of the preparation system with your deployment system.  Try to use SCSI for both systems to avoid the IDE migration problem.
- Install Windows 2003 on the preparation system.
- Install the network drivers.
- Update to the latest service pack.
- Install the Microsoft iSCSI Software Initiator 2.08 on the preparation system.  Use the Boot Initiator (x86-32, x86-64) near the middle of the page.
- Configure the iSCSI initiator to start at boot time, and specify the network adapter for it to use.
- Configure the iSCSI initiator to use the iSCSI target.  I chose not to use CHAP, and I left the checksum/header options disabled so that it would work with StarWind iSCSI Target.
- Clone the disk of the preparation system.  For a virtual machine, copy the virtual hard disk image in the host machine, and attach it as another SCSI device on the virtual machine.
- Add a disk with enough temporary storage space to store a complete backup of the clone image.
- Start the preparation system again.
- In Disk Management, initialize and create a partition on the iSCSI target.  Format as necessary.
- Mount all relevant disks in the Disk Management utility; give each one a unique drive letter.
- Start Backup.  Configure Backup, removing all exclusions.
- Make a complete copy-style backup of the clone of the system drive on to a file in the temporary storage drive.
- Restore the backup file to the iSCSI target.
- Set the iSCSI target to be the active partition in Disk Management.

Your iSCSI boot drive is ready.

- With your iSCSI target still running, use a boot-time initiator such as gPXE.  Choose the right version of gPXE for your Ethernet adapter, download and burn it to a CD or copy it to a floppy or put it in your bootloader.
- Start gPXE on the deployment system.  Type control+b.  Type "autoboot".  Type "sanboot  " followed by the FQDN of the iSCSI target, followed by "::::", followed by the name of the iSCSI image.
- You should soon see Windows 2003 start without a hitch.


Date:April 8th, 2011 12:56 pm (UTC)
Thank you for sharing the info. I found the details very helpful.

Date:April 14th, 2011 03:14 am (UTC)
Just want to say what a great blog you got here!

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