Tip: Remote FAI install

John G Heim jheim at math.wisc.edu
Mon Feb 8 19:31:22 CET 2021

In these days when so many of us are working from home, I thought I'd 
give a tip I discovered today on how to trigger an FAI install remotely.

For years I've been triggering an FAI install remotely by wiping the 
hard drive and hoping PXE boot was somewhere in the boot sequence. That 
had the drawback of making the machine unbootable if anything went 
wrong. But on a machine with a EUFI, you can tell it to reorder the boot 
sequence for the next reboot.

1. Display a list of the boot devices with the efibootmgr command:

# efibootmgr -v

Take not of the hex number assigned to your network interface. On my 
desktop, the disk is device 0 and the NIC is F.

2. Change the boot  sequence for the next boot:

# efibootmgr -o F,0

This tells the EUFI to boot from the NIC first, and if that fails, to 
boot from the hard disk. The sequence should return to the previous 
sequence after one reboot.

3. Reboot.

If you have FAI configured to reboot the target machine when it is 
finished, you should be able to ssh back into a fully loaded Linux 
machine once the install is done.

John G. Heim; jheim at math.wisc.edu; 608-263-4189

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