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Introduction

Like for most hardware companies HP documentation is dismal. But for ILO it is so bad that you need to use some other more strong word.  Trying to understand  HP docs related for ILO and  working with HP ILO sometimes reminds me Alice in Wonderland ;-). From HP documentation is impossible to understand (or at least very difficult) what exactly is the functionality provided. But in reality this is a pretty powerful feature. 

Virtual CD/DVD ROM functionality in ILO is close to functionality to a real CD/DVD ROM reader connected to the server of blade.  As long  as you can read the filesystem you can read the data. Among the features supported

You can also create image from your existing folder (image here means the "image of floppy drive"; there was such thing many 20 years ago ;-).   After that you can mount this image and read files in Linux.  Or you can create ISO from you files and read them too.

When Virtual CD/DVD-ROM is connected, virtual devices are available to the host server until you close the ILO session.  that means that after OS is installed you need to disconnect virtual DVD or it will boot again.

When you are finished using the Virtual CD/DVD-ROM, you can iether choose to disconnect the device from the host server or close the ILO console.

Those capabilities are useful in case for example you got the server and need to install OS on it but you for some reason do can't connect  Ethernet card on the server to the switch, but you can connect ILO (for example using WiFi adapter).  I encountered one such case when we got HP enclosure without QSFP cable that is need to connect the switch on the enclosure to our server room switch. And needed to wait a couple of week (HP is really slow with such orders).  This two weeks gave me unique opportunity to learn capability of ILO virtual CD ROM. 

NOTES:

Among the best ways for installation of Linux using ISO mounted as virtual CD/DVD ROM in HP ILO  are:

There is always alternative to this with PXE boot, but you need to know how to configure it and have TFTP and DHCP servers that are configured according to specs. HPC clusters predominantly use this type of booting with great success. 

NOTES:

  1. If your PC is connected to local network I strongly recommend using FTP or HTTP protocol for virtual CD ROM in all cases. they provide access log and that helps troubleshooting immensely. With ILO 4 working with HTTP server requires advanced license which HP sells for $352 for three years.  You can get 60 day trial license from HP (good for 10 servers) though and that's enough for the initial install.
  2. Over regular VPN transfer of the amount of data in "full" DVD is not reliable and disconnects are common.  While HP ILO handle disconnects well it is rather annoying.

Use FTP or HTTP protocol for installing OS using ISO on nearby server

ISO images are recognized only in virtual CD/DVD ROM menu item

In ILO 4, at the top of the window, click on Virtual Drives, and then select URL DVD ROM (the last item in the menu).

ILO interface allow copying URL from the browser, the feature you should use to help to  avoid mistakes.

The performance of iLO virtual media is really fast on one gigabit network. Linux installation (server with X11 GUI) takes less then ten minutes.

You can use FTP and HTTP protocols with or without authentication.

IMPORTANT: Please note that if you want to use DNS name you need to configure DNS server on ILO. Otherwise use only IP.  As you do not use this feature often I once spend a couple of hours trying to understand why it is not booting from the URL (and learn couple of interesting things in the process ;-).

For example

http://10.201.54.53/SLES-11-SP1-DVD-x86_64-GM-DVD1.iso
If this does not work, the most common reasons are:
  1. Wrong URL. You need to verify the UTL using wget or similar tool to make sure that the ISO is really present at this URL.
  2. Some of necessary ports are blocked between your PC and ILO. This is a typical problem when the server is behind proxy.

     There are certain ports needed in order to gain ILO and remote media access to an HP ProLiant system. The G7 systems with ILO3, so the general port cheat-sheet is:
    ====================
    List Forwarded iLO Ports
    ====================
    22 Secure Shell (SSH)
    23 Remote Console / telnet
    80 Web Server Non-SSL (HTTP)
    443 Web Server SSL (HTTPS)
    3389 Terminal Services
    17988 Virtual Media
    9300 Shared Remote Console
    17990 Console Replay
    3002 Raw Serial Data

    If you have Linux VM on your Windows desktop, on Linux workstation on you desk,  you can use nmap to see the ports which are open

Use local drive on your PC for storing ISO image

NOTE: ISO interface allow copying path to avoid mistakes.

Here documentation is especially bad. It looks like translation from some other language to English. Here is pretty telling part:

To use a physical CD/DVD-ROM drive in your client PC:
1. Select IRC within the Remote Console section.  --[There is no IRC section in Remote control section, there is "Integrated Remote control" section which might be abbreviated to IRC ;-) ]
2. Select the Virtual Drive tab   --[ Here they man the "virtual Drive tab at the top menu of virtual consol which will be opened after clicking on the link in point 1]

and then select the drive letter of the desired physical CD/DVD-ROM drive on your client PC from the drop-down menu. --[This not the only option and probably not the best option -- it is better to work with ISO files.  ]

The trick to understand this paragraph is that they are talking about a tab named "Virtual drive" on the remote console screen, not about Remote console/Remote console section of ILO main menu :-).

Image files is another ILO mystery that is difficult to solve

Image file is legacy of floppy existence. So this an image of a floppy disk (which were quite popular medium 20 years ago; they stored up to 2.88 MB but  format used -- 16 bit  FAT (File Allocation Table - Wikipedia) is good for much larger size ). But it does not matter what this format means  as along as you have the tool which create an image from a directory with files. And such tool is provided directly by HP remote console. That's the key idea which helps to understand the value of this feature provide. You instantly create this image from you directory and export it from you PC to remote server using ILO. So it is very similar to burning your own DVD from a folder (or writing ISO image on the harddrive) with necessary files and exporting this actual DVD or ISO image via ILO. Essentially the same thing, just different underlying formats.

To create an image file using Remote consol applet

Floppy images have an extension .img.

To use an image file [from local drive]:

  1. Select IRC within Remote Console section (should be  "Intergrated Remote control" section  -- NNB).
  2. Select the Virtual Drive tab and then select Image.
  3. Enter the path and file name of the image in the textbox or click Browse to locate the image file using the Choose Disk Image File dialog.

To use an image file through URL[IIS\Apache]:

  1. Select IRC within Remote Console section.
  2. Select the Virtual Drive tab and then select URL.
  3. Enter the path or file name of the image in the textbox.

When Virtual CD/DVD-ROM is connected, virtual devices are available to the host server until you close the session. When you are finished using the Virtual CD/DVD-ROM, you can choose to disconnect the device from the host server or close the ILO console.

The Virtual Media applet must remain open when using a Virtual Media Device. iLO 3 Virtual Media CD/DVD-ROM will be available to the host server at run time if the operating system on the host server supports USB floppy drives.

Refer to "Operating system USB support" for information on which operating systems support USB mass storage at the time of the publication of this manual.

iLO 3 Virtual Media CD/DVD-ROM appears to your operating system just like any other CD/DVD-ROM.

When using iLO 3 for the first time, the host operating system might prompt you to complete a New Hardware Found wizard.

When you are finished using iLO 3 virtual media and disconnect it, you might receive a warning message from the host operating system regarding unsafe removal of a device. This warning can be avoided by using the operating system-provided feature to stop the device before disconnecting it from the Virtual Media. 86 Using iLO 3 Virtual Media CD/DVD-ROM operating system notes.

Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2003 The virtual CD/DVD-ROM displays automatically after Windows has recognized the mounting of the USB device.

Use it as you would a locally attached CD/DVD-ROM device.

Linux Red Hat Linux On servers with a locally attached IDE CD/DVD-ROM, the virtual CD/DVD-ROM device is accessible at /dev/cdrom1.

However, on servers without a locally attached CD/DVD-ROM, such as the BL c-Class blade systems, the virtual CD/DVD-ROM is the first CD/DVD-ROM accessible at /dev/cdrom.

The virtual CD/DVD-ROM can be mounted as a normal CD/DVD-ROM device using: mount /mnt/cdrom1 .

SLES 9 , SLES10 and SLES 11 The SLES 9 operating system places USB-connected CD/DVD-ROMs in a different location and the virtual CD/DVD-ROM can be found at /dev/scd0, unless a USB-connected local CD/DVD-ROM is present, if so, it would be /dev/scd1.

The virtual CD/DVD-ROM can be mounted as a normal CD/DVD-ROM device using: mount /dev/scd0 /media/cdrom11 For step-by-step instructions, see

Mounting USB Virtual Media CD/DVD-ROM in Linuxh (page 87).

Mounting USB Virtual Media CD/DVD-ROM in Linux

1. Access iLO 3 through a browser.

2. Select IRC within Remote Console section.

3. Select the Virtual Drive tab.

4. Select the CD/DVD-ROM to be used.

5. Mount the drive using the following command: mount /dev/cdrom1 /mnt/cdrom1 For SLES 9: mount /dev/scd0 /media/cdrom1 Creating iLO 3 disk image files The iLO 3 virtual media feature enables you to create diskette and CD-ROM image files within the same applet.

Creation of DVD image files using the Virtual Media applet is not supported.

The image files created from the applet are ISO-9660 file system images.

The performance of iLO 3 virtual media is faster when image files are used.

The utility to create iLO 3 Virtual Floppy and CD-ROM disk image files is integrated into the Virtual Media applet; however, images can also be created using industry-standard tools, such as DD.

To create an image file: 1.

Select Java Integrated Remote Console within the Remote Console section.

2. Select the Create Disk Image option from the Virtual Drive tab.

Virtual media 87 3. Enter the path or file name in the textbox, or click Browse to select an existing image file or to change the directory in which the image file is to be created.

4. Click Create. The virtual media applet begins the process of creating the image file. The process is complete when the progress bar reaches 100%. To cancel the creation of an image file, click Cancel. The Disk>>Image option is used to create image files from physical diskettes or CD-ROMs. The Image>>Disk option is not valid for a Virtual CD-ROM image. The Disk>>Image button changes to Image>>Disk when clicked. Use this button to switch from creating image files from physical diskettes to creating physical floppy diskettes from image files. Virtual folder The iLO 3 Virtual Folder emulates a USB device, dynamically creating a media image of a selected folder or directory. After creating a virtual image of a folder or directory, the server connects to the created image as a USB storage device, enabling you to browse to the server and transfer the files from the iLO 3 generated image to any location on the server. The Virtual Folder feature is only available within the IRC. The virtual folder is non-bootable, read-only, and the mounted folder is static. Changes to the client file are not replicated in the mounted folder.

Virtual folder feature

Virtual folder looks like NSF for FAT 16 filesystems.

Virtual Folder is a licensed feature available with the purchase of iLO 3 Advanced or iLO 3 Select.

The virtual folder feature enables you to access, browse, and transfer files from a client to a managed server.

The virtual folder feature supports the ability to mount and dismount a directory on a local or networked directory that is accessible through the client, mounted and dismounted as a Virtual Media device.

Virtual folder operating system notes .

You cannot use a physical local floppy drive and the Virtual Folder simultaneously.

Windows Virtual Folder appears automatically after Microsoft Windows recognizes the mounting of the virtual USB device.

You can use the folder as you would a locally attached device.

Virtual Folder is non-bootable.

Red Hat and SLES Linux Linux supports the use of Virtual Folder.

Virtual Folder uses a FAT 16 file system format.

For more information, see Mounting USB Virtual Media/USB Key in Linux (page 84).


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Old News ;-)

[Jul 24, 2017] ILO 4 user guide

iLO 4 will accept URLs in HTTP or HTTPS format. FTP is not supported.

Linux-The requirements for Red Hat Linux and SLES follow:

Red Hat Linux

On servers that have a locally attached IDE CD/DVD-ROM, the Virtual CD/DVD-ROM device is accessible at /dev/cdrom1. However, on servers that do not have a locally attached CD/DVD-ROM, such as BL c-Class blade systems, the Virtual CD/DVD-ROM is the first CD/DVD-ROM accessible at /dev/cdrom.

You can mount the Virtual CD/DVD-ROM as a normal CD/DVD-ROM device by using the following command:

mount /mnt/cdrom

... ... ..

Using iLO Virtual Media from the iLO web interface

The Virtual Media page allows you to perform the following tasks:

  1. View or change the Virtual Media port. You can also change this value on the AdministrationAccess Settings page.

  2. View or eject local media, including locally stored image files, floppy disks, USB keys, CDs/DVD-ROMs, and virtual folders.

  3. View, connect, eject, or boot from scripted media. Scripted media refers to connecting images hosted on a web server by using a URL. iLO 4 will accept URLs in HTTP or HTTPS format. FTP is not supported.

[Jul 23, 2017] HP - BL460c G7 blade OS install

Server Fault

Q: I have an HP c7000 enclosure with a BL460c G7 blade. I need to install Windows server OS on it. I have a problem with iLO, so it will not mount the ISO in the remote console. Tried using both Active-X and the Java console. In the Active-X console i get a timeout mounting the ISO and in Java i get "network error (java.net.socketexception socket closed)".

Anyway the real question now, while waiting for the network guys: Is there any other way to install an OS on a BL460c G7 than mounting an ISO in iLO remote console? Can i connect a DVD ROM to a USB port or anything. Is there any way i can possibly get to read the install DVD so i can get the OS installed on the blade?

====

A: There are certain ports needed in order to gain ILO and remote media access to an HP ProLiant system. The G7 systems use ILO3, so the general port cheat-sheet is:
====================
List Forwarded iLO Ports
====================
22 Secure Shell (SSH)
23 Remote Console / telnet
80 Web Server Non-SSL (HTTP)
443 Web Server SSL (HTTPS)
3389 Terminal Services
17988 Virtual Media
9300 Shared Remote Console
17990 Console Replay
3002 Raw Serial Data
====================
In short, 23, 80, 443 and 17988 are the main ports you'll need access to in order to perform an installation through the GUI. Are you being blocked by a firewall? Do you have any way to get directly onto the ILO's network (assuming it's on a different network segment). I often end up using a convoluted SSH forwarding string to accomplish this at distant sites...

ssh -L 22:<iLO ip address>:22 -L 23:<iLO ip address>:23 -L 80:<iLO ip address>:80 -L 443:<iLO ip address>:443 -L 3389:<iLO ip address>:3389
-L 17988:<iLO ip address>:17988 -L 9300:<iLO ip address>:9300 -L 17990:<iLO ip address>:17990 -L 3002:<iLO ip address>:3002 user@gateway

There are other options, though. You can SSH to the ILO and force it to mount a .ISO file residing at a URL. From the ILO ssh interface:
vm cdrom insert http://192.168.1.100/path/to/Windows.iso
followed by
vm cdrom set boot_once will tell the ILO to source the .ISO from a specific location.

There's also a USB/KVM dongle that can be attached directly to the blade server. On is included with each enclosure. That would allow the use of a USB DVD drive, assuming someone has physical access to the server.


iLO4 Virtual Drive ISO URL - Hewlett Packard Enterprise Community

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