2.2.3. Install on bare metal using PXE

This chapter explains how to deploy Turbo Router on a set of physical machines via PXE and make them available for remote access (e.g. SSH, Ansible, etc.).

The procedure relies on the Turbo Router iso file and requires a deployment infrastructure enabling PXE by providing DHCP, TFTP, DNS and HTTP services.

Install a PXE server

This section describes the installation and the configuration of the required packages on an Ubuntu 16.04 server to provide DHCP, DNS, TFTP and HTTP services for PXE.

First, install the required packages as root:

# apt-get update
# apt-get install -y apache2 apache2-bin apache2-data apache2-utils dnsmasq \
   dnsmasq-base grub-common grub-pc grub-pc-bin grub2-common

Configure the network interface that will answer DHCP requests in /etc/network/interfaces (adapt address and netmask to your environment):

auto eth1
iface eth1 inet static

And bring this interface up:

# ifup eth1

Then, configure dnsmasq to provide DHCP, DNS and TFTP services for your network. Edit /etc/dnsmasq.conf with the following contents:

# vi /etc/dnsmasq.conf
# Listening interfaces
# DNS configuration
# DHCP configuration
# TFTP configuration

See also

the dnsmasq man page for more information about the configuration options.

Create the root directory for the TFTP server:

# grub-mknetdir --net-directory=/var/lib/tftpboot


in the rest of this document, /var/lib/tftpboot will be referred to as $TFTP_DIR.

Then, restart the dnsmasq service:

# systemctl restart dnsmasq

Finally, configure the apache2 HTTP server.

Edit the default configuration file in /etc/apache2/sites-available/000-default.conf:

<VirtualHost *:80>
        ServerAdmin webmaster@localhost
        DocumentRoot /var/www/html
        ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/error.log
        CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/access.log combined
        RewriteEngine On
        RewriteRule ^/cloud-init/(.*) /%{REMOTE_ADDR}/$1


in the rest of this document, /var/www/html will be referred to as $HTTP_DIR.

Enable the URL rewriting module:

# a2enmod rewrite

Then, restart apache2:

# systemctl restart apache2

You are now ready to configure the PXE server.

Configure the PXE server

This section describes how to use the Turbo Router deliverables and the PXE server together to finalize the PXE infrastructure.

First, copy the Turbo Router deliverables into the proper directories.

Kernel and filesystem of the installer:

# cp vmlinuz initrd.img $TFTP_DIR/

Turbo Router ISO image:

# cp 6wind-turbo-*.iso $HTTP_DIR/turbo.iso

Then, create the $TFTP_DIR/boot/grub/grub.cfg file that will be provided to PXE targets:

# vi /var/lib/tftpboot/boot/grub/grub.cfg
set timeout=5
menuentry 'Turbo Router network installer' {
        set root='(pxe)'
        set kernel_image="/vmlinuz"
        set ramdisk="/initrd.img"
        set boot_opts="ro rd.debug console=tty1 fsck.mode=skip"
        set boot_opts="$boot_opts BOOTIF=01-$net_default_mac boot=live nonetworking console=ttyS0,115200n8 splash"
        set boot_opts="$boot_opts live-media-path=/iso/"
        set boot_opts="$boot_opts persistence persistence-storage=directory,filesystem persistence-path=/iso/ persistence-label=ramdisk_Data"
        set boot_opts="$boot_opts fetch=http://$pxe_default_server/turbo.iso ds=nocloud-net;s=http://$pxe_default_server/cloud-init/"
        echo "Boot options: $boot_opts"
        echo "Loading kernel image $kernel_image ..."
        linux $kernel_image $boot_opts
        initrd $ramdisk

See also

the GRUB documentation for more information about the configuration options.

Next, prepare per-target cloud-init configurations. The previous configuration will make targets retrieve their respective cloud-init meta-data and user-data configurations from $HTTP_DIR/$CLIENT_IP, $CLIENT_IP being the address assigned to the host by DHCP.


# cat > $HTTP_DIR/$CLIENT_IP/meta-data <<EOF
instance-id: host1
local-hostname: host1

# cat > $HTTP_DIR/$CLIENT_IP/user-data <<EOF

 - name: root
   lock_password: true
    - ecdsa-sha2-nistp256 AAAAE2VjZHNhLXNoYTItbmlzdHAyNTYAAAAIbmlzdHAyNTYAAABBBNqR+NMuQUywXp5+uqSc6WSFjxLRpRZoA9b7ekBeL9FRKiX3LztZA9SjJ8ibfKZIHgsUNRLoTe7VKcBDr+cfotM=

 - '/usr/bin/wget "" -O /etc/sysrepo/data/vrouter.startup'
 - '/usr/bin/install.sh -r -d /dev/sda'
 - '/sbin/reboot'

This user-data file aims at:

  • disabling password access and installing an authorized public SSH key for the root user for security reasons,
  • retrieving a startup Turbo Router configuration from the HTTP server (see below),
  • performing the installation on the given /dev/sda disk,
  • rebooting.
# cat > $HTTP_DIR/$CLIENT_IP/vrouter.startup <<EOF
  "vrouter:config": {
    "vrouter-system:system": {
      "hostname": "host1",
      "vrouter-auth:auth": {
        "vrouter-embedded:default-users-enabled": false,
        "user": [
            "name": "admin",
            "role": "admin",
            "authorized-key": [
              "ecdsa-sha2-nistp256 AAAAE2VjZHNhLXNoYTItbmlzdHAyNTYAAAAIbmlzdHAyNTYAAABBBNqR+NMuQUywXp5+uqSc6WSFjxLRpRZoA9b7ekBeL9FRKiX3LztZA9SjJ8ibfKZIHgsUNRLoTe7VKcBDr+cfotM="
    "vrf": [
        "name": "main",
        "vrouter-interface:interface": {
          "physical": [
              "name": "mgmt0",
              "ipv4": {
                "dhcp": {
                  "enabled": true
              "port": "pci-b0s8"
        "vrouter-ssh-server:ssh-server": {
          "enabled": true,
          "port": 22

This startup configuration:

  • sets host1 as the hostname,
  • disables Turbo Router default users and passwords for security reasons and configures an admin user with admin role and a SSH key,
  • configures a management interface in main vrf with DHCP enabled.

You can now deploy Turbo Router.

Deploy Turbo Router on the target

You target must be configured to boot in Legacy BIOS mode (UEFI is not supported) and first on the hard drive selected for installation.

To start the installation, configure the target to boot using PXE. For example, using an IPMI request to perform a PXE installation on next boot only:

# ipmitool -I lanplus -H <BMC_IP> -U <user> chassis bootdev pxe
# ipmitool -I lanplus -H <BMC_IP> -U <user> chassis power reset

On boot, the target will perform the following tasks:

  • retrieve an IP address, a hostname and the TFTP server address through DHCP,
  • boot the Turbo Router installer kernel and initrd, using the Turbo Router iso as root filesystem
  • execute the cloud-init script to:
    • configure the root account (no password, SSH key)
    • install Turbo Router locally on the target disk device
    • install the startup configuration
    • reboot

On reboot, the normal boot sequence of the server will boot on the freshly installed hard drive, now running Turbo Router.

Thanks to the startup configuration, an IP address will be obtained on the first network interface and the console will be accessible through SSH. At this step, it is possible to automate other deployment tasks, for example using Ansible.