The majority of computer users are familiar with BIOS options as long as they don't go further than selecting the main bootable device or ordering that priority list such as HDDs first, then optical drives, and so forth. In the past few years, however, another option has appeared there. Itís called Network Boot or the infamous PXE Boot. In this article we will give a brief overview of the basics of network booting.
As you can see, we have arrived at the end of this article. By now you should be familiar with network booting and know the real deal about PXE. Moreover, should you really need to set up a PXE server to take advantage of this technology, you now know where to look and how to do it all. We'd especially advise implementing network-based booting if you have diskless or thin clients.
Depending on what kind of operating system you are going to bootstrap onto via PXE, there are numerous options, as discussed earlier, in terms of choosing the operating system of the PXE server. Probably one of the easiest is using your favorite Linux distribution. Or if you already have a FTP, NFS, or HTTP server running, then you can set up PXE on that as well. The same goes for Windows Server operating systems, too.
As you surely could guess, system administrators are managing dozens/hundreds of computers with the same specifications. This means they are actually cloning the operating systems (or even the entire main system partition) for back up purposes, but also for easy and quick reinstallation, if necessary. Acronis is a prime example of a disaster recovery commercial suite that also does this. Clonezilla is an open-source alternative.
This article was a brief overview of network booting that presented the basics of PXE. An upcoming article will pick up from where we left off and present a step-by-step process for setting up a PXE server that runs a bootable rescue media, such as the one based on Acronis, or launches Clonezilla to restore some partition images or do any other tasks. You won't want to miss that!
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