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I am trying to install a client off the current 11.1 automated installation (AI) image. I have not modified any manifests and just run the default config after "installadm create-service" which should give me an interactive text install mode. The client has the Intel I350-T2 adapter installed. The PXE part finishes quite fine, the client receives the IP from the DHCP server, the boot loader and the subsequent boot_archive download quite fine over TFTP.

But just after the Solaris installer loads ("Probing for device nodes ..."), the connectivity is lost (ICMP echo requests are not answered anymore) and subsequently, the HTTP download of the solaris.zlib network image fails ("Connecting to: IP-address:5555... failed: Connection timed out."). I would suspect that the NIC driver's probing simply is unable to recognize the i350 network adapter, but when I can drop to the shell (after 10 failed connection retries), I can run ifconfig -a and see the igb0 interface plumbed and configured with DHCP (at least for a while until the lease expires) - so something appears to be detected by the driver and configured according to the lease granted to the host in the PXE phase. Unfortunately, /system/volatile/install_log does not exist at that point, /var/log/syslog is empty and the command set is very limited (no "dmesg"), so I am a bit stuck without any usable log files available.

Am I guessing correctly that I would need a specific NIC driver set upon install for the i350? If so, how would I go about integrating an additional NIC driver into the AI install procedure?

Edit: I have seen that the i350 has been listed as supported on from Solaris 10 8/11, so 11 11/11 presumably had it as well. I can't see a reason why the PXE boot archive of 11.1 would not support it.

Edit #2: I have installed S11.1 via a media text-based install to take a closer look at the system from the Solaris' point of view. The networking seems to be seriously broken for some reason (I am not quite sure yet what to blame, but I suspect the driver) - I see occasional bursty and massive packet losses on both i350 interfaces. No wonder the image download is failing.

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After tinkering with a USB-based install and seeing that the network interfaces are of virtually no use, I concluded this to be a non-AI problem. Apparently, the automated installer code loaded by boot_archive does not spill the fault messages from the hardware (at least not at this point) and there obviously has not been a fmadm in the subsequent shell to check.

The root problem with the network interfaces turned out to be a buggy BIOS. In my case, this had been with a Supermicro X9SRi-F board, sebsta over at hardforum.com reported a similar problem with a X9SCA-F and the i350, it seems like more boards may be affected. A BIOS update helped matters, the AI procedure (and the subsequently installed Solaris release) have connectivity now.

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