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I'm running the NetBoot service on a box running Mac OS X 10.5.6 server. I've been changing images to serve up, and most of them work, but the last one I tried doesn't -- if you go to System Preferences -> Startup Disk on a client, it doesn't see a specific network startup option.

It occurs to me to ask how the server advertises its services. I know it uses the Boot Service Discover Protocol (BSDP) which (as I understand it) can also act as a DHCP server. It would seem then that running:

ipconfig getpacket en0

possibly as root, would show something related to NetBooting, but it doesn't appear to.

Likewise, I know that a NetBoot server does not have to be your DHCP server. Therefore one would think it uses mDNS to advertise itself. When I fire up Bonjour Browser, though, I don't identify anything that says to me, "Ah, there is my NetBoot service."

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Is the client on the same subnet as the server? I believe that you have to configure something additional on the switches if this is not the case, as BSDP is a broadcast.

Poke around here: http://www.bombich.com/

He is the god of Mac image deployment. He recently stopped developing his remote deployment software, because there was a lot of overlap with deploy studio, but the concepts in his documentation are still entirely relevant.

Edit: Relevant link on Bombich's site: http://www.bombich.com/mactips/nbas.html

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Yes, I'm on the same subnet. Things were working just fine when I was using a different image. I've never actually read the article on netbooting across subnets before. I wish it mentioned how the information is disseminated, beyond that fact the BSDP is involved. –  Clinton Blackmore Jul 3 '09 at 16:20
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Actually bombich.com/mactips/bootpd.html will give you some detailed insight into how BSDP, DHCP and everything plays nice together. It may not help you but the entire bombich.com site is incredible for anyone doing image deployment whether it be netboot or netinstall. If you're distributing images, could I recommend Deploy Studio. The documentation is sparse, but it is free and build on existing apple protocols, it just gives them a nice manageable front-end. A Senior Engineer at Apple actually recommended it to me. –  MDMarra Jul 3 '09 at 16:25
    
FWIW, NetRestore (Mike Bombich's product) has been made part of Mac OS X 10.6 Server (as he works for Apple) –  Chealion Jul 4 '09 at 17:28
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