Browse Prior Art Database

Publication Date: 2010-Apr-27
Document File: 7 page(s) / 89K

Publishing Venue

The Prior Art Database


TECHNICAL FIELD The present invention generally relates to the field of network technology. Particularly, the present invention relates to technology for increasing the efficiency of booting in PXE (Preboot Execution Environment). More particularly, the present invention relates to a system and method for resuming an aborted PXE-based booting in a multi-client network environment. TECHNICAL BACKGROUND In current enterprise network environment, it is very common that quite a few computer systems have no storages connected with them. Softwares that they need, like operating systems and other tools, are very often placed at a centralized server. In such architecture, adminstrators can ensure that different clients boot appropriate software images and acquire the tools they need using appropriate configuration parameters. PXE is a protocal designed to enable a diskless computer system boot from an indicated server with correspondant operating system image. In the protocal, clients and the boot server communicates using DHCP and TFTP, where some new DHCP tags are used to distinguish PXE-specific packets from standard DHCP specific ones. When a client is provided with the initial information, such as IP address (both the one of boot server and the one for itself) and filename for the operating system image, it begins to talk to the boot server for receiving the kernal image using TFTP. Usually, a single boot server serves a large amount of client systems. Simultaneous requests for boot images can be issued quite often, which may slow the downloading process, further more it will fail the data transfer. According to the standard PXE booting process, after several timeouts the boot ROM will use a non-PXE configuration, which means the failed clients will never boot from remote server as expected unless it is rebooted. This largely decreases the efficiency of the entire downloading process.

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  FIG.1 shows a data processing network which nowadays enterprises usually have as their IT architecture. Various kinds of computer machines will be grouped to work together for some certain data processing purpose. As shown in FIG.1, the computer machines in this group are mainly divided into two parts: Clients 101, 102, 103, 104 and Remote Servers 105, 106. To communicate with each other, they first should establish a good connection to the network 108, which provides the capability of data transfer. The implementation of the network is not necessarily to be a single choice. FIG.1 is just an example and not intended as a limitation to the architecture of the network.

  In the example described above, data processing tasks run mainly on the client machines. 101 is a traditional Tower-style computer machine, which is probably most often seen in SME (Small Medium Enterprise) for the sake of budget saving. 102 is a flat rack server coming into enterprises more recently for its advantage of space saving. 103 is an emerging machine called Blade, like IBM HS 22, which is usually accompanied with other blades in one chassis. Typically an IBM Blade Chassis can hold up to 14 blades in share with same resources like power and network.

  From the remote server part, there are 3 servers described in the above example. DHCP server 105 is a component described in the standard PXE protocol. Though a solution with proxy server might work as well, a standalone DHCP server solution is intended for simplification. It provides in the early stage of a PXE booting both the IP address of boot server and one for the requesting clients. The boot server 106 has a storage 107 connected which holds all necessary booting images for clients. It tracks all incoming requests with client's identifier information and image downloading status so as to enable the resumption of a previous downloading from a specified client.

  FIG.2 is a flowchart illustrating the initial process of a new PXE booting, in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

  A PXE booting starts with a DHCP request of PXE specific tags specified in the request packet. After the pre-configured DHCP server 105 recognizes this request, it assigns an IP address for the incoming client and makes a record in its IP renting table 210. Besides, it appends the IP address of the boot server to the ACK packet. Once the client gets the above information, it tries to establish a connection to the boot server 220. The boot server 106 first compares it with the tracking table....