6.4. Creating Guests with PXE

This section provides information on creating guests with PXE.
Requirements

PXE guest installation requires a PXE server running on the same subnet as the guest virtual machines you wish to install. The method of accomplishing this depends on how the virtual machines are connected to the network. Contact Support if you require assistance setting up a PXE server.

PXE Installation with virt-install

virt-install PXE installations require both the --network=bridge:installation parameter, where installation is the name of your bridge, and the --pxe parameter.

By default, if no network is found, the guest virtual machine attempts to boot from alternative bootable devices. If there is no other bootable device found, the guest pauses. You can use the qemu-kvm boot parameter reboot-timeout to allow the guest to retry booting if no bootable device is found, like so:
# qemu-kvm -boot reboot-timeout=1000

Example 6.2. Fully-virtualized PXE installation with virt-install

# virt-install --hvm --connect qemu:///system \
--network=bridge:installation --pxe --graphics spice \
--name rhel6-machine --ram=756 --vcpus=4 \
--os-type=linux --os-variant=rhel6 \
--disk path=/var/lib/libvirt/images/rhel6-machine.img,size=10
Note that the command above cannot be executed in a text-only environment. A fully-virtualized (--hvm) guest can only be installed in a text-only environment if the --location and --extra-args "console=console_type" are provided instead of the --graphics spice parameter.

Procedure 6.2. PXE installation with virt-manager

  1. Select PXE

    Select PXE as the installation method and follow the rest of the steps to configure the OS type, memory, CPU and storage settings.
    Step 1 of 5 for creating a new virtual machine with virt-manager, with Network Boot (PXE) chosen for the method of installation.

    Figure 6.8. Selecting the installation method

    Step 2 of 5 for creating a new virtual machine with virt-manager, with Linux chosen as OS Type and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 chosen for version.

    Figure 6.9. Selecting the installation type

    Step 3 of 5 for creating a new virtual machine with virt-manager showing memory and CPU settings, with 1024MB of RAM and 2 CPUs selected.

    Figure 6.10. Specifying virtualized hardware details

    Step 4 of 5 for creating a new virtual machine with virt-manager, with check boxes selected next to "Enable storage for this virtual machine" and "Allocate entire disk now". 8GB is selected under the heading "Create a disk image on the computer's hard drive".

    Figure 6.11. Specifying storage details

  2. Start the installation

    The installation is ready to start.
    Step 5 of 5 for creating a new virtual machine with virt-manager reads "Ready to begin installation of (guest name)" with a summary of options already chosen, and advanced options to choose from.

    Figure 6.12. Finalizing virtual machine details

A DHCP request is sent and if a valid PXE server is found the guest virtual machine's installation processes will start.