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I want to setup a cluster. On each machine Windows XP and Linux should be installed and the OS should be selectable by a boat loader (e.g. grub). All machines have IPMI cards. Is it possible when starting the machines over IPMI to also select the OS to boot? And how? Thanks!

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Why would you want a cluster booting XP? – Chris S Jul 27 '10 at 0:44

This is possible if your IPMI card supports Serial over LAN. You have to make sure your BIOS is configured to redirect the serial port on the server to the IPMI device so the IPMI device can make the output available from over the network (this is called Console Redirection on most serverboards). At this point everything from and to your serial port is redirected to/from your IPMI SoL device. But at this point nothing is send to the console so you have to configure a few other things.

I will use the first serial port as an example. If you want to use the second one you have to replace unit=0 by unit=1 and ttyS0 by ttyS1.


You need the following two lines in your grub.conf. Also make sure all splashimage related configuration directives are disabled, this isn't possible with serial text consoles.

serial --unit=0 --speed=19200 --word=8 --parity=no --stop=1
terminal --timeout=10 serial console

Linux Kernel

If you want to see the boot process of your Linux kernel, you need to edit the kernel line in the Grub configuration for example:

title CentOS (2.6.18-164.6.1.el5)
root (hd0,0)
kernel /vmlinuz-2.6.18-164.6.1.el5 ro root=LABEL=/ console=tty0 console=ttyS0,19200n8
initrd /initrd-2.6.18-164.6.1.el5.img

Please note: I have removed the quiet parameter.

Linux login

To be able to login from the serial console you have to start a tty on the serial port. You can do this by editing /etc/inittab and add the this line:

s0:2345:respawn:/sbin/mingetty ttyS0 DT19200 
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Thanks! I will try the setup. But I also want to know how to start all machines in the cluster booting a specific OS from a script which calls impitool... – yoursort Apr 30 '10 at 12:12
@yoursort: never tried that before. Maybe you can use expect ( to interact with the SoL output. – PowerSp00n Apr 30 '10 at 12:31

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