Boot from an ISO and ruin (or Fix) Your Dedicated Hosting


OK so you went and splashed out on a Dedicated Hosting Pack only to find out you do not like the OS list included. You have IP KVM Access to the Machine and you feel you want to ruin it (OR Fix it). Lets assume you have debian and you want to install ESXi Here is How!

Install Some software

This was done on Debian 5.04. I am assuming that most of the apt-get(s) can turn into some yum install(s) or the like.

Give it an update first

apt-get update
apt-get upgrade
apt-get install syslinux unzip

Modify memdisk

At the time of writing the syslinux pack did not support fully ISO boot so replace memdisk with this

cd /boot

Do the rest of the Configuration

Edit you /boot/grub/menu.lst

nano /boot/grub/menu.lst

Add this boot option

title           ESXi Installation from ISO
root            (hd0,0)
kernel          /boot/memdisk iso raw
initrd          /boot/esxi.iso

And you are ready to boot and destroy your partition.

NOTE For ESXi you will need more than 2Gbyte of RAM since the requirement is 2GByte + the memory needed by the RAM drive.  Alternatively You can boot from another Partition IF you have this luxury.

BOOT ESXi from a different Partition or Disk

cfdisk /dev/sdb

Create a fat32 partition

mkdosfs -F 32 /dev/sdb1

Syslinux the disk

syslinux /dev/sdb1

Mount the new partition and copy all the ISO contents in the new partitition

mount /dev/sdb1 /disk2/
mount -o loop /boot/esxi.iso /media
cp -R /media/* /disk2

Edit the Grub menu:

nano /boot/grub/menu.lst
title          ESXi Installation From Partition
root           (hd1,0)
chainloader    +1

Do the final SYSlinux.cfg adjustments

cd /disk2/
mv isolinux.cfg SYSlinux.cfg

Make sure you got something like this in your config

default menu.c32
menu title VMware VMvisor Boot Menu
timeout 80

label ESXi Installer
menu label ^ESXi Installer
kernel mboot.c32
append vmkboot.gz --- vmkernel.gz --- sys.vgz --- cim.vgz --- ienviron.tgz --- image.tgz --- install.tgz

label ^Boot from local disk
menu label ^Boot from local disk
localboot 0x80

There! Off you go! Play with your newly revamped Toy.

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