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I would like to PXE boot from a TFTP server that is not on my local network. The server is running in a cloud VM.

Is it possible to specify the remote server's IP without utilizing DHCP?

If not, what would the simplest pass-through method be to proxy requests via another working PC on the local subnet?

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2 Answers

DHCP is an element of PXE. There is no PXE without DHCP.

There are older methods of network booting, such as DHCP's direct ancestors BOOTP and RARP, but then, those are also unrelated to PXE other than the shared ancestry.

I'd say the simplest way to do what you want is to run a DHCP server on the "other working PC on the local subnet". You likely already have a DHCP server, but if it's just the one within your Internet modem/router/gateway, it's probably not very featureful. You'll thus get other benefits by replacing it.

The two standard options are ISC DHCP and dnsmasq. Most of the instructions you'll find on PXE assume ISC DHCP, and it's fairly easy to set up, but dnsmasq is easier in some ways and also gets you a DNS server suitable for managing a small LAN.

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I suggest you take a look at ipxe.

It is possible to configure ipxe to take a specific IP address and then boot from the internet.

Their examples section is pretty extensive, I'm cannot guarantee you'll find exactly what you need, but you can probably work from there. There's documentation on how to build your own pxeboot.0 kernel, and even a boot ROM for your NIC.

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wow, that looks AWESOME. I'll see if my ROM can be flashed on this particular machine. Opens up a lot of possibilities... –  lalalalalalalambda Oct 12 '13 at 14:32
    
@lalalalalalalambda Well, the most interesting thing, is that you can boot from a server on the internet. It's what I use for a very sophisticated boot option. Even the menus are loaded from the server. So, no need for updating the USB pendrive... –  polemon Oct 12 '13 at 18:02
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