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AppNote: Installing NetWare 6.5 SP4a / OES-NW SP1 onto HP Blades

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By Greg Riedesel

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Updated: 15 Dec 2005

"A great time-saving AppNote!"

Kirk Coombs–
Product Specialist
Novell, Inc.

Greg Riedesel
Senior Operating System Manager
Western Washington University

Abstract: This article describes how to install NetWare 6.5 or Open Enterprise Server -- NetWare to an HP Bladeserver, using HP supplied tools. This compliments a BrainShare 2005 session that discussed getting OES-Linux onto the same hardware. At the end of the process you will have a blade image from which installations of Open Enterprise Server - NetWare can be run quickly.

Table of Contents

Getting Ready
Preparing the Image
Taking the Image
Deploying the Image and Installing
Trade Offs


The BrainShare 2005 session TUT291 titled, "Installing Open Enterprise Server, Linux and applications software on HP ProLiant blades", detailed the procedure to install Open Enterprise Server - Linux (OES-Linux) on blades. What was not covered was how to install the other half of OES on HP Blades. This article is intended to supply a method to do just that.

There are a couple of reasons why you have to go to special lengths to install a NetWare or Linux kernel based operating system on an HP blade. The blade architecture does not include any way of attaching a CD-drive to the blade, which complicates deployments. Secondly, the Rapid Deployment Pack, HP's supported method of deploying servers, only supports Windows servers. The Brainshare session mentioned that a Rapid Deployment Pack update this summer will include support for both. Unfortunately, this didn't happen so we need extra steps.

Getting Ready

If you have an HP blade rack, you already have a large percentage of the things you need to get OES-NW installed. The intent of this article is to create an installation image from which you can install OES-NW quickly on other blades. There are a couple of additional things that are needed, but happily only one of those is a cost-item.


  • HP Rapid Deployment Pack (RDP), version 6.1(394) or newer
  • Integrated Lights Out (iLO) Advanced (rev 1.50 or newer) for each Bladeserver, configured, and reachable by the workstation
  • An ISO-Linux, preferably a smaller one to save time
  • A workstation on a fast connection to the bladeserver's iLO
  • The bladeserver connected to the network, so RDP can see it
  • A server the bladeserver can pull data from, by either HTTP, FTP, or SFTP once it gets an IP address
  • The NW65OS or OES Disk 1 disk on CD, or ISO, depending on your iLO version.

Presuming you already have RDP set up for your Windows servers, you should already have in place a DHCP subnet for your blade infrastructure. RDP can't work without it, and we'll be using that DHCP subnet during the setup. It is our experience that you can't really use RDP without iLO configured, so you probably have that too.

The one area that is make or break is iLO Advanced. iLO Advanced includes a number of features that are critical to this process. The most key features are the ability to use a Remote Console from iLO to a graphical console, which is needed during the OES-NW install, and the ability to mount a CD-Rom drive from your local workstation onto the blade-server. Current documentation says that iLO Advanced ships with all blade-servers, but this may not have been the case for older servers.

The ISO-Linux disk is needed to provide essentially a boot-disk that allows you to pull data from the network and get it onto the blade. I have found that Knoppix-based ( ISO-Linux distributions work on HP-Blades. There are many derivations of the base Knoppix disk. I recommend a smaller version from pure speed concerns, such as the INSERT distribution from Inside Security ( that was designed to run on a credit-card sized CD-ROM. The Knoppix-based ISO-Linux distributions include drivers for the Ethernet ports, and include support for the Smart Array RAID controller included on the blades.


  1. Start with a blank blade. Use the built in RDP methods to prep your bladeserver for service. If you have to blank it out, do so. The instructions for this are included in the RDP, and is not an unusual procedure.

  2. Create the source archives. Create a pair of ZIP, or if you can, TGZ, archives of the OS and PRODUCTS disks. Due to how we get these onto the blade, I recommend using the CD media to create these archives rather than the DVD media. Creation is very simple, just put everything on a CD into one big archive. Windows XP has tools built in for this, but WinZip and other archival tools can make this process easier or quicker.

  3. Make sure you have the OS CD on-hand. This is needed during the install phase. You don't need to have the Products CD on hand.

Preparing the Image

Now we will prepare the blade for imaging. This involves a couple of steps, so I will break it down.

Getting a bootable OS on the Image

This stage goes a lot faster if you are on a fast (100MB Ethernet or faster) to your bladeserver.

  1. Enter the blade's iLO.

  2. Insert the OES-NW OS disk (disk 1) into your own CD drive.

  3. Go to the Virtual Media part of the Virtual Devices tab.

  4. Select the CD-drive that has the OS Disk in it, and click connect.

  5. On the iLO Virtual Devices tab, select Virtual Power. Turn the blade on.

  6. Go to the Remote Console tab, and start a Remote Console session. This will allow you to follow the boot of the blade. Since your local CD-ROM drive is captured to the blade, it will start the standard NetWare setup. I am assuming you know what to do from there. You could in theory do the entire setup from here, but that would take a very long time.

  7. From the Remote Console session, follow the OS install. Create a bootable partition, and allow it to create the data structure it needs on C:\

  8. When the OS install gets to the selection of the PSM (which will be ACPIDRV.PSM) cancel the OS install. At this point you have a bootable C:\ drive. Progressing beyond this point in the install is not needed. This has the added benefit of providing a DOS environment that Novell knows will work with NetWare.

  9. In iLO, detach your CD-ROM from the blade, and reboot the blade.

  10. At the DOS prompt, use FDISK to create a D:\ drive, sized to 1.5GB.

  11. Reboot, and format the D:\ drive.

  12. Delete the C:\NWSERVER directory tree. We will be rerunning the install process later, and this directory isn't needed for booting. C:\NWSERVER will be recreated at a later stage, when we are doing the actual install of OES-NW.

  13. Delete the C:\NWTEMP.TMP directory tree. This may cause the later install we run to complain in unusual places. It is best to remove it at this stage.

At this point you have a bootable blade! The next step will be to get the NetWare source files onto the blade so you can perform an install without a CD-ROM drive.

Getting the OES-NW install files onto the blade

As with the first stage, this goes a lot faster if you have a fast network between your workstation and the blade.

  1. Insert the ISO-Linux disk into your CD Drive

  2. In iLO, attach your CD-Drive to the blade-server. Steps 3 and 4 from the previous stage.

  3. Turn the blade on. Step 5 from the previous stage.

  4. Start a Remote Console session to the blade.

  5. Watch the boot of the ISO-Linux. If possible, enter text-mode for booting. The Knoppix-based ISO-Linux disks usually have a way to avoid booting X-Windows. Since this is booting over the network, the GUI system would triple your boot-time if it is allowed to load. The install can work in the GUI, but it will take longer. If you are using INSERT, enter the line: "insert 2" at the boot: prompt.

  6. Watch the boot process. You will get a command-line once it is done.

  7. Verify you have a network. At the command-line enter 'ifconfig'. One interface should have an ipaddress in your RDP DHCP range. If you have multiple network connections to this blade and more than one DHCP range to pull from, you may have multiple adapters with addresses. This is fine.

  8. Set up the device for the DOS drives. Sadly, these disks do not include a standard /dev point for SmartArray drives. Therefore, you have to make it yourself. And this is how.

    1. Get the partition information. You get this by entering the command: "cat /proc/partitions". Output below:

    2. Identify the partition that corresponds to D:\. Because D:\ was created in DOS, you had to put it in a Logical Partition within an Extended partition. In the above display, the name, "cciss/c0d0" is the name of the drive itself. The name, "cciss/c0d0p1" is the first partition on the drive, which is C:\. Partitions 1 through 4 are 'primary' partitions, and DOS only recognizes one of them. One of the primary partitions can be an Extended Partition, which you created when you created D:\ in FDISK. Logical drives are Partitions 5+. So here, our D:\ is named "cciss/c0d0p5".

    3. Create the device. To create the appropriate /dev entry, you have to use the command "mknod", and use information in the partitions output.

      The format of the command is pretty simple. The first argument is what /dev device to create. This has to be in /dev. The second argument is "b", which tells the system that this is a block device (a disk-drive). The third argument is the major number for the partition we want, and the fourth argument is the minor number for the partition we want.

  9. Mount the drive. Mount the drive to /mnt/hd.

  10. Download the OS-archive into /ramdisk. You can use FTP, HTTP, or SFTP, whichever works best for you. NOTE: The size of /ramdisk depends on how much RAM you have in the blade. If you only have 1GB, you may not be able to fit the PRODUCT archive into it. You may have to slice the PRODUCT archive into smaller pieces, or get more creative in how you retrieve it.

  11. Expand the archive onto /mnt/hd.

    The exact command depends on how you archived the data. Since the archive is on a RAMDISK, and the processor is pretty zippy, this extraction shouldn't take very long at all.

  12. Delete the OS-archive. You don't need it any more.

  13. Download the Products archive into /ramdisk

  14. Expand the archive onto /mnt/hd. This installs into the same directory as the OS-disk, but that's the point. Once this step is done, we have all the files we need to install OES-NW on a drive visible from DOS.

  15. Issue the command "sync". This forces the server to sync the disk-cache to disk and commit the writes. If you reboot too soon after the expansion, you can end up with zero-byte files.

  16. From iLO, reboot the server.

  17. Before POST gets to the boot process, from iLO, detach the CD-Drive from the blade, and boot into DOS.

  18. Verify that the files look right on D:\

Congratulations, you now have a disk set up to install OES-NW without a CD-Drive.

Taking the Image

The next step is to take the image now that you've prepared a disk. This is done through the RDP console. Since this isn't a Windows server we are imaging, some care is needed to make sure that the image process works correctly.

Also, in the summer of 2005 HP released a new build of RDP. This included new task names and somewhat changed behavior in several of the tasks. This AppNote reflects the new lay-out. The older version of this should be followed if the 6.1(392)SP2 version is not being used yet.

  1. Launch RDP Console.

  2. Open the Server Deployment Toolbox, and expand "2A - OS Installation (Imaged)".

  3. Right-click on "2A OS Installation (Imaged)" and select New Job.

  4. Name the job, "Read NetWare Image".

  5. In the right-hand pane, click the "Add > >" button:

  6. Select "Create Disk Image".

  7. Give a location to store the image.

  8. Click the Advanced button.

  9. Under the "Additional Options" make sure the "Do not boot to Windows" box is checked.

    This is critical, since if it is left checked, the Imaging process will wait until the server boots to Windows and the Windows Altiris agent handles the imaging process. Clearly this will never happen with a NetWare box, so we have to use this option.

  10. Click OK. It will complain, but select Yes to confirm you wish to not boot to Windows first.

  11. Click Finish.

  12. Launch an iLO Remote Console session to the blade we prepared in the last phase.

  13. At the RDP Console, drag the task you just edited and drop it onto the blade you have an iLO session on.

  14. Wait for the Status of the job to read,

  15. From iLO, reboot the blade.

  16. When prompted, boot to PXE by hitting F12.

  17. Once PXE gets going, the image process will start.

  18. When the image process is done, the image will be on the RDP Server. Rename the image however you wish, so it won't be overwritten if you have to do it again.

Deploying the Image and Installing

Now that we have an image, deploying it is pretty simple. This part is something that RDP can do most of the work for us. We'll still have to hand-boot into PXE if the blade needs it, but the image will be deployed.

  1. As above, expand "2A - OS Installation (Imaged)"

  2. Right click "2A - OS Installation (Imaged)" and select "New Job

  3. Name the job, "Write NetWare Image"

  4. In the right-hand pane, click the "Add > >" button:

  5. Select "Distribute Disk Image"

  6. Select the image you wish to distribute:

  7. Uncheck "Automatically perform configuration task after completing this imaging task."

    It will complain when you uncheck it, just click through. If this was a Windows box, we would be worried. But it is NetWare, and the image is just a source image anyway, so networking doesn't matter.

  8. Click Finish.

  9. Drag and drop the task to the Blade to kick off the deployment process.

  10. Once the Image is applied, go into an iLO Remote Console session.

  11. Reboot the blade

  12. From DOS, go to the D: drive, and start install.

  13. The NetWare Setup screen will start. From here, the standard OES-NW install documentation should be followed.

    The installation process goes very fast since all the files are on the local file-system and not on a CD-ROM or DVD.

  14. Install ProLiant Service Pack. Optional. If you do install Service Packs from HP, do so after the base OS is up.

Trade offs

The copying of the Products archive assumes you have a ram-drive big enough to handle a 660 megabyte archive. If your blade has only a gig of RAM, that may not be the case. If that is so, you can change the process a little to accommodate the cramped conditions.

  • When making the D: drive, make it 2GB instead of 1.5GB
  • Download the PRODUCT archive first, and download it to /mnt/hd instead. Expand the archive from there. Once done, delete the archive. Then do the OS archive, as that archive is smaller and will fit on the disk better after the product archive has been expanded.

This process does require you to use 1.5GB of space as 'dead' DOS space. This can be recovered post-install if needed, and another NSS partition put in its place. Drive sizes are big enough these days that this should not present a major problem.

Alternately, you can use a more featured ISO-Linux such as the full blown Knoppix and use either smbmount or ncpmount to gain access to the zip-files. People experienced with desktop support may be familiar enough with BartPE to use it for this function; I'm not, which is why I didn't include instructions for how to make it work.

This functionality is officially unsupported by HP so far as I know. At BrainShare 2005 they said that they would have a method of installing OES-NW onto blades by summer, but no such solution exists. Because of this, the functionality of RDP can't be assumed to be as robust as it is with Windows installs.


At this point you have an RDP image of an OES-NW server, a task in RDP to take that image, and a task in RDP to deploy that image. This procedure can be used to update that image with newer service-pack overlays. With this image, deploying NetWare-kernel servers on HP blades is a lot easier, and faster than doing it all through iLO.

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