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HOWTO Use a Compaq Remote Insight Lights Out Edition for a Headless, Remote
Linux Installation

Marc Nozell

Compaq Computer Corporation

Revision History                                                             
Revision v1.1         10 April 2002                Revised by: MN            
Update for new Red Hat release, new RIB/LOE firmware v2.41 release           
screenshots, add grub.conf suggestion, misc cleanup of filenames/hostnames.  
Revision v1.0         25 October 2000              Revised by: MN            
Initial public release.                                                      

This document describes how to install Linux on a headless Compaq ProLiant
server with a Compaq Remote Insight Lights-Out Edition card without physical
access to the system. The installation is done remotely through the use of a
Java-enabled browser.

Table of Contents
1. Introduction
    1.1. Trademarks
    1.2. Feedback
    1.3. Distribution Policy
2. Compaq Remote Insight Lights-Out Background
    2.1. Key Features
3. Linux Installation using a Remote Insight Lights-Out
    3.1. Hardware Installation
    3.2. Setting up a Linux Distribution Point
    3.3. Creating a Virtual Floppy Disk
    3.4. Downloading a Virtual Floppy Disk to the Server
    3.5. Power on and Booting
    3.6. Post-installation configuration

1. Introduction

This document is a quick guide which shows how to install Linux on a remote,
headless Compaq ProLiant system equipped with a Compaq Remote Insight
Lights-Out Edition (RIB/LOE) card without needing physical access to the

This document further describes how to use a virtual floppy disk for the
initial install of Linux, and to setup an Apache server to provide the
distribution media for completing the installation.

1.1. Trademarks

Compaq, Compaq Insight Manager, ProLiant, are registered with the United
States Patent and Trademark office.

Microsoft, Windows, Windows NT are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of
Microsoft Corporation.

Red Hat is a trademark of Red Hat, Inc., in the United States and other

SuSE is a trademark of SuSE GmbH.

Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds.

Other product names mentioned herein may be trademarks and/or registered
trademarks of their respective companies.

1.2. Feedback

  Feedback will make this HOWTO more useful. If you have any suggestions,
corrections, or comments, send them to

1.3. Distribution Policy

Copyright (c) 2000-2002 Compaq Computer Corporation.

The information in this publication is subject to change without notice and

The limited warranties for Compaq products are exclusively set forth in the
documentation accompanying such products. Nothing herein should be construed
as constituting a further or additional warranty.

  This publication does not constitute an endorsement of the product or
products that were tested. The configuration or configurations tested or
described may or may not be the only available solution. This test is not a
determination or product quality or correctness, nor does it ensure
compliance with any federal, state, or local requirements. 

This document may be distributed under the terms set forth in the LDP license
at []

This HOWTO is free documentation; you can redistribute it and/or modify it
under the terms of the Linux Document Project (LDP) license. This document is
distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but without any warranty;
without even the implied warranty of merchantability or fitness for a
particular purpose. See the LDP license for more details.

2. Compaq Remote Insight Lights-Out Background

The Remote Insight Lights-Out is an optional management PCI card with a
dedicated LAN connection. It provides full access and control of servers even
when the server is in a failed state.

2.1. Key Features

  The key features of the Remote Insight Lights-Out card:

��*�Self-contained with on-board processor, memory, NIC, and ROM
��*�External power adapter ensures continuous server access
��*�Enables 'headless' server deployments in data centers
��*�Virtual Floppy Drive allows host server to remotely boot from a standard
    1.44 MB floppy diskette in a network client, enabling remote OS
    installation from a network drive, and remote server ROM updates
��*�Full control of your server with browser-based, virtual graphical remote
��*�No additional software required for Compaq ProLiant servers - the client
    just requires a browser that supports Java.
��*�Virtual Power Button provides full control of remote server power state -
    turn your server on or off remotely
��*�Remote Reboot allows cold reboot when system is not responding.
��*�SSL encryption of HTTP data before transmitting over the network
��*�Dedicated, low-bandwidth network connection provides secure access over
��*�Group administration for user accounts

  To get more information about the Remote Insight Lights-Out Edition see the
Compaq web page at []

3. Linux Installation using a Remote Insight Lights-Out

After you have installed the card into the server system you will need to set
up a Linux distribution repository, build and download a special boot floppy,
and drive the installation through a browser.

3.1. Hardware Installation

The first step is to install the Remote Insight Lights-Out Edition card in a
Compaq ProLiant Server and configure it for network access. Using DHCP is the
easiest way to get the Remote Insight Lights-Out card on the network.

3.2. Setting up a Linux Distribution Point

On another server, make the contents of the Red Hat installation CD available
via HTTP or FTP. For this example, the server is named and
HTTP is used.

Copy the entire CD to the local hard disk and give appropriate file
protections to allow the web server to read it. For Red Hat V6.2, use the
following commands.
         # mount -t iso9660 -o ro /dev/cdrom /mnt/cdrom                       
         # mkdir /usr/src/distros/RH62                                        
         # (cd /mnt/cdrom && tar cf - . ) | (cd /usr/src/RHCD && tar xvfp - ) 
         # umount /mnt/cdrom                                                  
         # chmod +x -R /usr/src/distros/RH62                                  
Red Hat V7.0 and later versions contain two binary distribution CDs, so both
need to be copied into the same directory structure. This example shows the
steps for Red Hat 7.2. Put the first binary distribution CD into the drive
and as above use the following commands:
         # mount -t iso9660 -o ro /dev/cdrom /mnt/cdrom                               
         # mkdir /usr/src/distros/RH72                                                
         # (cd /mnt/cdrom && tar cf - . ) | (cd /usr/src/distros/RH72 && tar xvfp - ) 
         # umount /mnt/cdrom                                                          
Then put the second binary distribution CD into the drive and issue the
following commands.
         # mount -t iso9660 -o ro /dev/cdrom /mnt/cdrom                               
         # mkdir /usr/src/distros/RH72                                                
         # (cd /mnt/cdrom && tar cf - . ) | (cd /usr/src/distros/RH72 && tar xvfp - ) 
         # umount /mnt/cdrom                                                          
         # chmod +x -R /usr/src/distros/RH72                                          

Edit httpd.conf to add the following lines near the section wehre other
Aliases are defined. The location of the configuration file varies. On a
default Red Hat system, it is in /etc/httpd/httpd.conf. If the Apache server
was installed from sources using the default location, it is in /usr/local/
apache/conf/httpd.conf. You can also try locate httpd.conf to find it.
        <Directory /usr/src/distros/>                                        
                Options Indexes                                              
                AllowOverride all                                            
        Alias /distros  /usr/src/distros                                     

Restart the Apache server. If you are still running the default Apache
shipped with Red Hat, do this:
        # /etc/rc.d/init.d/httpd restart                                     

Other Linux distributions may put the Apache Web Server startup script in a
different place.

The location of of apachectl may vary; find it with locate apachectl. If you
installed the Apache server yourself, you may want to use apachectl. If you
used the Apache default file locations, it would be the following.
        # /usr/local/apache/bin/apachectl restart                            

Verify that the Red Hat content is available:
        # lynx                             

3.3. Creating a Virtual Floppy Disk

  Create a special Red Hat boot floppy that can perform a network
installation. The file from the Red Hat CD is in images/bootnet.img;in this
example, /usr/src/distros/RH72/images/bootnet.img or http:// Other distributions can
also install across the network using similar steps.

From a Linux or UNIX system follow these steps. Put a floppy in the drive.
        # dd if=/usr/src/distros/RH72/images/bootnet.img of=/dev/fd0 bs=1440k 

Take that special boot floppy to a Microsoft Windows system that has the
CPQIMAGE program to build an IMG file from a floppy to be uploaded to the
Compaq Remote Insight Lights-Out card. This is the only step that requires
the use of a Microsoft platform. The CPQIMAGE program is not available on any
other platform.

The CPQIMAGE program for Microsoft Windows 95/98/NT 4.0/2000 is available for
download from [] http:// Choose the "Diskette Image
Utility" download.

Build a file named redhat-bootnet.img using that Windows-based application.
Note for multi-system installations, this file can be reused or simply
provided to the customer.

3.4. Downloading a Virtual Floppy Disk to the Server

Now that a special version of the bootnet.img has been created, it needs to
be loaded into the Virtual Floppy Disk on the Remote Insight Lights-Out card.

 1. Connect to the Remote Insight Lights-Out card of the Linux system from a
    Java-enabled browser (Netscape, MSIE) using the URL https://XX.XX.XX.XX
    where the X's are the IP address assigned to the card. You can use a
    Linux system running Netscape or a Windows system running Netscape or
    Microsoft Internet Explorer. Just have the redhat-bootnet.img local to
    the system running the browser. Note that this special image file is
    larger than a regular 1.44MB floppy. Note: You may want to use FTP to
    move the file to the system that you will run the browser on.
 2. Log in to the Remote Insight Lights-Out card by using a web browser to
    connect to the IP address assigned to the card.
 3. Select the "Insert Virtual Floppy" from the web interface, link (on left
    near the bottom) and load the redhat-bootnet.img file you just created
    into the virtual floppy.
    Figure 1. Uploading bootnet floppy image
    Uploading a floppy image to the Virtual Floppy
 4. Select the "Virtual Floppy Boot Option" of 'Boot Once' in the "Virtual
    Floppy Status" section.
    Figure 2. Virtual Floppy Boot Once Dialog
    Image of Virtual Floppy Options

3.5. Power on and Booting

Now the system is ready to be powered. From the browser, click on the
'Virtual Power Button' and power on the server.

 1. Turn on the virtual console by selecting 'Remote Console (2-cursor) under
    the "Remote Console" section. This starts a Java applet that will show
    you exactly what is being displayed on the console, for example, the
    memory self check, BIOS startup, SCSI probe, etc. If you have a Compaq
    SmartArray card, you can click on the button to send an F10 keypress.
    Figure 3. BIOS bootup
    Browser window showing memory check during BIOS boot
 2. Enter "text" for a non-GUI installation method at the boot: prompt. The
    graphical interface would work also, but it is slower over the network.
 3. Follow the Red Hat installation. When it gets to the place where it asks
    for where the distribution media location (CDROM, HardDrive, HTTP, NFS,
    FTP), select 'HTTP'.
    Figure 4. Red Hat bootup
    Red Hat text-based installation
 4. Put the name of the web server with the Red Hat distribution for the
    hostname, in this example, The directory for this
    example is /rh. If you didn't previously specify a DNS server in the TCP/
    IP configuration step prior to this, you can use the IP address of the
    system serving the distribution.
    Figure 5. Red Hat bootup
    Selecting HTTP based installation
 5. Proceed with a normal Red Hat installation.
 6. Skip the configuration of the X server when it gets to the X11
    configuration step.
    If you want to run a graphical interface on your server system, it can be
    configured later using Xconfigurator or xf86config. Compaq suggests that
    the server resolution be set to 640x480 at 16-bit color depth and mouse
    acceleration to be 1x.
 7. Proceed with a normal Red Hat installation. Note that there is a 15
    minute timeout for the Remote Console, if your Red Hat installation takes
    longer than that you may be disconnected from the Remote Console. If this
    happens, simply reconnect to the URL https://XX.XX.XX.XX, where the X's
    are the IP address assigned to the card, and continue from where you left

3.6. Post-installation configuration

  The default configuration for the grub bootloader that Red Hat 7.2 installs
goes into graphics mode for the boot selection. While the Remote Console will
work properly, it looks nicer if there is no splash image. To do this, edit /
etc/grub.conf and remove or comment out the line that looks like:
and add the following line:
                terminal --dumb --timeout=3 console                          

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