Fuel Master Node Deployment over PXE

Fuel Master Node Deployment over PXE

Tech Explanation of the process

In some cases (such as no installed CD-ROM or no physical access to the servers) we need to install Fuel Master node somehow other way from CD or USB Flash drive. Starting from Fuel 4.0 it’s possible to deploy Master node with PXE

The process of deployment of Fuel master node over network consists of booting linux kernel by DHCP and PXE. Then anaconda installer will download configuration file and all packages needed to complete the installation.

  • PXE firmware of the network card makes DHCP query and gets IP address and boot image name.
  • Firmware downloads boot image file using TFTP protocol and starts it.
  • This bootloader downloads configuration file with kernel boot option, kernel and initramfs and starts the installer.
  • Installer downloads kickstart configuration file by mounting contents of Fuel ISO file over NFS.
  • Installer partitions hard drive, installs the system by downloading packages over NFS, copies all additional files, installs the bootloader and reboots into new system.
So we need:
  • Working system to serve as network installer.
  • DHCP server
  • TFTP server
  • NFS server
  • PXE bootloader and its configuration file
  • Extracted or mounted Fuel ISO file

In our test we will use network. will be IP address of our host system.

Installing packages

We will be using Ubuntu or Debian system as an installation server. Other linux or even BSD-based systems could be used too, but paths to configuration files and init scripts may differ.

First we need to install the software:

# TFTP server and client
apt-get install tftp-hpa tftpd-hpa
# DHCP server
apt-get install isc-dhcp-server
# network bootloader
apt-get install syslinux syslinux-common
# nfs server
apt-get install nfs-server

Setting up DHCP server

Standalone ISC DHCPD

First we are going to create configuration file located at /etc/dhcp/dhcpd.conf:

ddns-update-style none;
default-lease-time 600;
max-lease-time 7200;
log-facility local7;

subnet netmask {
    option routers;
    option domain-name-servers;

host fuel {
    hardware ethernet 52:54:00:31:38:5a;
    filename "pxelinux.0";

We have declared a subnet with only one IP address available that we are going to give to our master node. We are not going to serve entire range of IP addresses because it will disrupt Fuel’s own DHCP service. There is also a host definition with a custom configuration that matches a specific MAC address. This address should be set to the MAC address of the system that you are going to make Fuel master node. Other systems on this subnet will not receive any IP addresses and will load bootstrap from master node when it starts serving DHCP requests. We also give a filename that will be used to boot the Fuel master node.

Using subnet requires you to set on the network interface connected to this network. You may also need to set the interface manually using the INTERFACES variable in /etc/default/isc-dhcp-server file.

Start DHCP server:

/etc/init.d/isc-dhcp-server restart

Simple with dnsmasq:

sudo dnsmasq -d --enable-tftp --tftp-root=/var/lib/tftpboot \
    --dhcp-range=,  \
    --port=0 -z -i eth2 \

Libvirt with dnsmasq

If you are using libvirt virtual network to install your master node, then you can use its own DHCP service. Use virsh net-edit default to modify network configuration:

    <bridge name="virbr0" />
    <forward />
    <ip address="" netmask="">
        <tftp root="/var/lib/tftpboot"/>
            <range start="" end="" />
            <host mac="52:54:00:31:38:5a" ip="" />
            <bootp file="pxelinux.0"/>

This configuration includes TFTP server and DHCP server with only one IP address set to your master node’s MAC address. You don’t need to install neither external DHCP server nor TFTP server. Don’t forget to restart the network after making edits:

virsh net-destroy default
virsh net-start default

Dnsmasq without libvirt

You can also use dnsmasq as a DHCP and TFTP server without libvirt:


In /etc/dnsmasq/hostsfile you can specify hosts and their mac addresses:


Dnsmasq provides both DHCP, TFTP, as well as acts as a DNS caching server, so you don’t need to install additional external services.

Setting our TFTP server

If you are not using a libvirt virtual network, then you need to install tftp server. On Debian or Ubuntu system its configuration file will be located here /etc/default/tftpd-hpa. Checking if all we want are there:

TFTP_OPTIONS="--secure --blocksize 512"

Don’t forget to set blocksize here. Some hardware switches have problems with larger block sizes. And star it:

/etc/init.d/tftpd-hpa restart

Setting up NFS server

You will also need to setup NFS server on your install system. Edit the NFS exports file:

vim /etc/exports

Add the following line:


And start it:

/etc/init.d/nfs-kernel-server restart

Set up tftp root

Our tftp root will be located here: /var/lib/tftpboot Let’s create a folder called “fuel” to store ISO image contents and syslinux folder for bootloader files. If you have installed syslinux package you can find them in /usr/lib/syslinux folder. Copy this files from /usr/lib/syslinux to /var/lib/tftpboot:

memdisk  menu.c32  poweroff.com  pxelinux.0  reboot.c32

Now we need to write the pxelinux configuration file. It will be located here /var/lib/tftpboot/pxelinux.cfg/default:

DEFAULT menu.c32
prompt 0
MENU TITLE My Distro Installer


LABEL localboot
MENU LABEL ^Local Boot

LABEL fuel
KERNEL /fuel/isolinux/vmlinuz
INITRD /fuel/isolinux/initrd.img
APPEND biosdevname=0 ks=nfs: repo=nfs: ip= netmask= gw= dns1= hostname=fuel.example.com showmenu=no

LABEL reboot
KERNEL reboot.c32

LABEL poweroff
MENU LABEL ^Poweroff
KERNEL poweroff.com

You can ensure silent installation without any Anaconda prompts by adding the following APPEND directives:

  • ksdevice=INTERFACE
  • installdrive=DEVICENAME
  • forceformat=yes

For example:

installdrive=sda ksdevice=eth0 forceformat=yes

Now we need to unpack the Fuel ISO file we have downloaded:

mkdir -p /var/lib/tftpboot/fuel /mnt/fueliso
mount -o loop /path/to/your/fuel.iso /mnt/fueliso
rsync -a /mnt/fueliso/ /var/lib/tftpboot/fuel/
umount /mnt/fueliso && rmdir /mnt/fueliso

So that’s it! We can boot over the network from this PXE server.


After implementing one of the described configuration you should see something like that in your /var/log/syslog file:

dnsmasq-dhcp[16886]: DHCP, IP range --, lease time 1h
dnsmasq-tftp[16886]: TFTP root is /var/lib/tftpboot

To make sure all of daemon listening sockets as they should:

# netstat -upln | egrep ':(67|69|2049) '
udp        0      0    *                           30791/dnsmasq
udp        0      0  *                           30791/dnsmasq
udp        0      0  *                           -
  • NFS - udp/2049
  • DHCP - udp/67
  • TFTP - udp/69

So all of daemons listening as they should.

To test DHCP server does provide an IP address you can do something like that on the node in the defined PXE network. Please note, it should have Linux system installed or any other OS to test configuration properly:

# dhclient -v eth0
Internet Systems Consortium DHCP Client 4.1.1-P1
Copyright 2004-2010 Internet Systems Consortium.
All rights reserved.
For info, please visit https://www.isc.org/software/dhcp/

Listening on LPF/eth0/00:25:90:c4:7a:64
Sending on   LPF/eth0/00:25:90:c4:7a:64
Sending on   Socket/fallback
DHCPREQUEST on eth0 to port 67 (xid=0x7b6e25dc)
DHCPACK from (xid=0x7b6e25dc)
bound to -- renewal in 1659 seconds.

After running dhclient you should see how it asks one or few times DHCP server with DHCPDISCOVER and then get If you have more than one NIC you should run dhclient on every one to determine where our network in connected to.

TFTP server can be tested with tftp console client:

# tftp
tftp> get /pxelinux.0

NFS could be tested with mounting it:

mkdir /mnt/nfsroot
mount -t nfs /mnt/nfsroot
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