How to install Server 2008 R2 directly to a SAN with Intel 10 gigabit nics.

IT

How to install Server 2008 R2 directly to a SAN with Intel 10 gigabit nics.

by Tuan Nguyen
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This can be regarded as a continuation to my previous post: “How to boot from iSCSI on an Intel x-520 mezzanine card (Dell Blades).”

Pretty much the only reason you want to boot from iSCSI is so that you can install an operating system directly to the LUN that it attaches to. Well booting to iSCSI isn’t does not automatically allow you to install an operating system to the LUN that is attached. In order to do so you must have a driver loaded to allow the WinPE environment to detect the LUN at the software level. The prerequisite for this of course is that it be seen at the BIOS level first. Refer here for those instructions.

The instructions available for doing this are pretty vague, and are more specific to Broadcom. They don’t mention the extra steps you must take to make it work. It should work like this:

  1. Set up iSCSI targets and initiators for iSCSI boot.
  2. Ensure LUN is seen by Intel iSCSI BIOS.
  3. Boot to 2008R2 media.
  4. When asked where you want to install, choose the appropriate network driver.
  5. LUN should populate in selection screen, and you proceed to install OS.

Unfortunately it’s not so simple to do with the Intel network cards, especially the 10 gigabit variety.

Let me revise the instructions so it does work:

We need to do some prep work before we install. Download the newest driver for your Intel network card and extract them to a temporary directory. You can use winzip to do that. Find the NDIS62 directory in the package. Copy all the files in that directory to your thumbdrive, say E:temp. Delete all the .inf files in that directory. You’ll notice there’s a WINPE directory in there as well. In there should be 2 or 3 zip files. Extract all those zips. It will be new .inf files to replace the ones you just deleted. Copy them to the E:temp directory you just made. Now stick this thumbdrive in the server that you’re going to boot from.

  1. Set up iSCSI targets and initiators for iSCSI boot.
  2. Ensure LUN is seen by Intel iSCSI BIOS.
  3. Boot to 2008R2 media.
  4. When asked where you want to install, do NOT click anything.
  5. Hit Shift-F10 to bring up the command prompt.
  6. Navigate to the thumbdrive (x:temp), where x is your drive letter.
  7. Execute “drvload ixe62x64.inf”
  8. Type “exit” to close the command prompt. Now click refresh.

At this point you should be able to see the LUN. If you do not, wait a minute and hit refresh again. This will NOT work if you tried to load the drivers with the GUI. Reboot before trying to load them with the drvload command. You are also welcome to try doing “Drvload ixXXXX.inf” on the other two inf files if it does not work for you. I only had to try the first one ixe62x64.inf for it to work.

 

Have fun!

More About the Author

Tuan Nguyen

Systems Engineer
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