WDS and DL580 G7

We recently received a shipment of Hewlett Packards all-new DL580 G7. While I’m impressed with what they did with the iLO3, I’m quite disappointed with what they did to the PXE-ROM.

Sure, gPXE may be the future and is offering more possibilites than “normal” PXE, however breaking customers deployment option(s) — at least for Windows that is — really wouldn’t be an option.

Now for the long story, we needed to install a temporary Windows on this DL580 (one with testing purposes). That said, we tried for three days to actually make this work (trying different things with the boot image), but it kept ending with the same result.

WDSClient: there was a problem initializing wds mode
WDSClient: there was a problem initializing wds mode

As you can see from the screenshot, the error message isn’t exactly clear as day. However, after pressing SHIFT + F10, working my way into X:WINDOWSPanther, digging around in the logs I saw a message that the WDS environment wasn’t getting information from the boot controller (like IP address and subnet mask, which is apparently passed on from the controller). So I opened a case with Hewlett-Packard, and guess what they said …

Exactly right, please open up a case with Microsoft, since this is a problem with WDS .. then again, I don’t have the luxury of opening a case with Microsoft since we don’t exactly have Microsoft support … 😛 So in the end, we installed them DL580’s with the addon NC362t network adapters, since that works.

Install issues with Proliant BL460c G6 and Windows Deployment Services

We’ve been dealing with authentification issues on newly delivered HP Proliant BL460c G6 blade servers. Most threads on HPs customer forum, suggests changing the NIC driver, embedded within the WDS boot image.

We tried that, but still were getting the following error:

As it turns out, it ain’t really so damn hard .. we tried several times changing various things within the boot image, but it still didn’t change anything. Somehow it was rather easy.

A quick look at the date/time on the blade turned up a surprising fact:

The current time/date is way off. No clue why, and apparently there’s no NTP client (in any variant – no VBS, no command line) to fix this.

So a  simple date, followed by time fixed the issue. Afterwards the boot image is able to logon with the passed credentials.

However, this change isn’t just limited to the ProLiant BL460c G6, it’s applicable to any system being installed through a WDS that authenticates against Active Directory and is brand new (as in the system time is still waaay off!).