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I'm having an issue where my NetInstall setup works on some computers and fails on others. I am not able to diagnose the issue.

I created an image of a Mac Mini and then created a NetRestore image using the System Image Utility found on Snow Leopard Server. NetBoot and NFS all seem to be working fine on the server, which is an XServe.

Then I select the NetInstall image from the Startup Disk on a machine. On some of the machines, the process works as expected. On some of them, I see the globe icon blink a few times and then the system boots to the regular hard drive.

I have captured the tracedump and the system.log logs from the server on both cases where NetInstall seems to work and fail. Here is the link that has all the logs

http://gist.github.com/232232

The gist of the failure seems to be from the lack of BSDP DISCOVER in the failure but I'm not able to identify why that exactly is happening.

I'd really appreciate any help on this issue.

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In your examples on github, a MacMini1,1 (Core Solo or Core Duo, "Early 2006") was failing, while a MacMini2,1 (Core 2 Duo, "Mid 2007") was working. This might be an interesting data point. Can you see if your breakdown of which machines work and which don't comes down to MacMini1,1 vs. MacMini2,1? Also, was the original machine you imaged a MacMini2,1? –  Spiff Mar 22 '10 at 19:28

3 Answers 3

some routers do not pass on the BSDP traffic. If you have clients sitting behind such routers, they will not be seen by the server, hence they can not do the NetBoot/NetInstall.

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I totally agree with Tony (@Honestpuck) from a troubleshooting standpoint.

The gist of the failure seems to be from the lack of BSDP DISCOVER in the failure but I'm not able to identify why that exactly is happening.

Sometimes if a lot of clients try to find your server at boot (via BSDP), some of them will fail. This will happen more frequently if you have a lot of switches/routers between your client and your server. BSDP gives you a very short window at boot to find the server.

Is it the same clients failing every time?

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First off, try a couple of diagnostic steps.

If you hold down Option at boot rather than the 'N' key you should get a choice of boot devices that includes all your Netboot volumes. Try doing this rather than an 'N' boot and see how that goes.

You might also try booting one of the 'broken' machines all the way to the desktop and then see if your Netboot image appears as a choice in the 'Startup Disk' in System Preferences.

I'm assuming that both the 'broken' machines and working machines are in the same network segment so you are sure there are no firewall issues.

// Tony

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