Prepare to provision a machine by querying a PXE boot server for a network boot strap program (NBP). You can configure the NBP to then download and execute any boot image-based provisioning method to deploy an operating system.

The Preboot eXecution Environment (PXE) allows computers to be booted using a network interface. A system that uses PXE can boot a machine from a network bootstrap program (NBP) independently of its data storage devices or any installed operating system. You can configure the NBP to then boot the machine by using one of the boot image-based provisioning methods that vRealize Automation supports (WIM, kickstart/autoYaST, or SCCM).

The following is a list of requirements for PXE provisioning:

  • Ensure that the PXE server is available on a VLAN that is accessible to the physical machines being provisioned.

  • Create a network boot program (NBP) that boots the physical machine from the desired image.

  • Configure the PXE server to deliver the desired NBP in response to a query from the physical machines that you intend to provision. Optionally, this can be accomplished by using PowerShell scripts during machine provisioning.

Depending on how your PXE server is configured, there are a number of different approaches you can take to provision machines by using PXE. The following is a high-level overview of a common approach you can take to provision a machine by using PXE:

  1. Configure an NBP to boot machines by using one of the boot image-based provisioning methods that vRealize Automation supports:

  2. If you are provisioning Cisco UCS Manager machines, gather the following information for your tenant administrators and business group managers to include in blueprints:

    • The name of the service profile template

    • The name of the boot policy to apply on reboot

  3. Configure vRealize Automation to run custom PowerShell scripts either before the machine is booted with the NBP or during machine provisioning.

    • Install vRealize Automation Designer, see Installing vRealize Automation Designer.

    • Create your custom PowerShell scripts.

    • Ensure that the PowerShell execution policy on your DEM machines is properly configured to execute your custom PowerShell scripts.

    • Import your custom PowerShell scripts into vRealize Automation, see Import Custom PowerShell Scripts.

    • Gather the names of the custom PowerShell scripts so that tenant administrators and business group managers can include them in their blueprint. These must be the names you assigned the scripts in the vRealize Automation Model Manager.

    Note:

    You can create a build profile using the property set PXEProvisioningProperties to call the PowerShell scripts during provisioning. This makes it easier for tenant administrators and business group managers to include this information correctly in their blueprints.