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frisbyvlieger
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PXE booting with Leostream, please post your experience.

Hello community,

This time, I really can't think of anything anymore to fix this matter. I have been looking on the internet for solutions but I couldn't find a thing that helps me.

Here is my problem: I have set up a VDI a week ago with the help from this forum too and I'm really glad it works now. Leostream connect works totally fine on my Windows XP desktops and the connection broker does its part too with assigning users to VM's. Now the thing is, how can I make it so that with PXE boot you can somehow connect to Leostream Connect? Because a VDI's big advantage is to use Thin Clients without any hard disks right? Then you don't need Windows either if I am correct? So just to be very straight, how do I set up a PXE boot server on my Windows 2003 server?

I hope it is a bit clear where I am trying to get since this is very hard for me to explain. That is mainly because I don't have very much experience with PXE at all.

Thanks for the help in advance.

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mreferre
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Ronald,

I think I see where you are coming from. The problem in this whole VDI space is that every Connection broker ISV (Leostream etc etc) has been working with Thin Client vendors to integrate their devices into the broker of choice. So, to stick on Lestream, they have been working with Wyse to integrate the S10 code to connect to the broker, they made available a Leostream connect for CE to be integrated with CE-based thin clients etc etc etc.

The problem with PXE booting old PC's is that usually the booting image you are using (that you get with the PXE boot server) does not have any of these integration features. So what you need to do (manually) is to integrate either the Win32 Leostream Connect into a Win32 PXE boot image (but I am sure you wouldn't want to use a Win32 OS for this....) or the JAVA Leostream Connect into a stripped-down Linux PXE boot image. That way you can set the Leostream Connect to austoart after the PXE image has been activated providing a sort "transparent login experince" for the end-users.

I have always advocated with Connection Broker vendors that it would be a great feature for thier products to provide an out-of-the-box PXE solution to repurpose old PC's instead of buying new thin clients. This shouldn't be too much of a problem as you can include with the broker an open-source PXE boot server with a customized linux image that comes with the proper "broker client" loaded. This is exactly what 2X has done with their PXES product ..... which has both a PXE boot engine as well as brokering capabilities.

Until they get to that point .... it's a manual process to integrate the whole thing.

Massimo.

Massimo Re Ferre' VMware vCloud Architect twitter.com/mreferre www.it20.info

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tbrouwer
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I am very interested for an answer to this as well. I have been using Wyse terminals for the users to use to connect to their remote desktops, but I know there are some "terminal" OSes out there that you can run. Being able to boot to one with PXE would be fabulous.

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frisbyvlieger
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Now that you mention Wyse terminals, are there needed some kind of special Thin Clients for Leostream, like Wyse Thin Clients? I mean, I can't just remove the harddisk from my Thick Client and say "Heh, now I have a Thin Client"?

This is just a sidequestion though, I am currently most interested on how to get users assigned to desktops using PXE because I just can't find the solution.

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tbrouwer
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You might want to check this out:

http://www.2x.com/pxes/

It was pretty simple to setup, and allows you to boot diskless clients via PXE like what you're asking for.

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frisbyvlieger
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Thanks for your reply,

So you do need "special" Thin Clients to boot PXE eh? But then I'm kind of stuck on this again: If I will be able to boot with PXE, what comes next? What does Leostream do? What do I need to configure? Because now even if I can PXE boot, what then? I'm sure I need to configure something on my Windows 2003 or even my Leostream?

That is what is bothering me the most. Thanks again.

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tbrouwer
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You do not need "special" thin clients to boot PXE ... any old PC will do as long as it supports booting PXE.

I'm not sure about what needs to be done with leostream as im not that familiar with it. How do you normally connect to the leostream broker? Through a web browser?

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frisbyvlieger
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I am sorry, I did reply without checking the link first. This reply about "special" thin client was just an idea that lived in my mind but now it's cleared up.

Anyways, thanks for your reply so far. How I normally connect to the connection broker to manage it is through a web browser, and to connect to VM's I use Leostream Connect from a Thick Client with Windows XP.

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sgrinker
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You will need something that is capable of taking the PXE (Pre-Boot Execution Environment) boot from the device and pointing it at the remote disk. Similar to a connection broker for the actual connection, you will basically need what could be looked at as a disk broker. In other words when you connect to a desktop with a Connection Broker,

- You log on to the broker,

- The broker then matches your credentials to the machine

- Then a remote connection is established to the machine

A similar process would need to happen with using PXE, but this would be at the Disk I/O level.

- The device (old computer, thin client, etc) will boot

- BIOS will attempt a PXE boot

- it will find the PXE server.... which if you have all of the correct pieces in place, will be able to point you at a remote bootable disk.

- The device will then boot to the remote disk and run over the network bandwidth.

Check out Citrix Provisioning Server (formerly Ardence) for an example (http://www.citrix.com/English/ps2/products/product.asp?contentID=683392) of the mechanism you are looking for. I believe there are currently other solutions capable of performing similar tasks. I know a few others in the industry are working on similar technologies, that should be released in the coming months/year. Yes you can technically PXE boot a device, but the key is something needs to direct that device at a usable disk image on a centralized network location. Hopefully this helps a little, and someone else that has more hands on with some of these technologies should be able to provide more details if needed.

Thanks

Steve

sgrinker
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Note that the video in the link above demonstrates the technology with server class machines and OS's, but the same can be acomplished with desktop class machines and workstation OS's.

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frisbyvlieger
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Hello Steve,

I'll be checking out the link you gave and be looking for more information on this PXE server and how to set up etc. This should help me, but I think I might get some questions again ... hehe

For now, thank you people for your replies it's really appreciated.

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frisbyvlieger
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Ok, this is good, I can get Thin Clients to boot via PXE now thanks to Thinstation. It was a bit confusing at first but after some time I got used to Thinstation and the config file. Anyways I am able to boot succesfully via PXE and I can even get to make a remote session with it.

But now there is this obstacle, I want to PXE boot to the Leostream connection broker automatically. I can let aThin Client automatically make a remote session to a VM with WindowsXP but not to the connection broker. Now my question is how to do that? Do I need to change something in the config file of Thinstation?

At this point even a direction where I have to look might be enough, but if someone knows how to directly make a connection to the leostream CB via PXE...please post it here. It will be a very great help.

Thank you all.

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tarnett
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Has anyone been able to get wyse thin clients to work with vdi. I am doing a trial and can not get them working. I am receiving a nullpointerexception error when trying to connec to the broker. I can connect every other method java client, web etc...

Tony Arnett

Sr. System Engineer

Pentair Water Pool and Spa

1620 Hawkins Ave.

Sanford NC, 27303

Office: 919 566 8003

Fax: 919 566 8910

tony.arnett@pentairwater.com

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tarnett
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No not saying that I'm jus having trouble with the thin clients I'm testing.

Tony Arnett

Sr. System Engineer

Pentair Water Pool and Spa

1620 Hawkins Ave.

Sanford NC, 27303

Office: 919 566 8003

Fax: 919 566 8910

tony.arnett@pentairwater.com

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frisbyvlieger
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I have been trying some things last days, in the config file of thinstation I direct the network boot that the thin clients use to the IP adress of the connection broker. When making a remote desktop session to a Windows machine's IP adress it works fine. But what do I need to configure to get this network boot directly to Leostream Connect? Does something needed to be configured on the thin client? or is it on the tftp/dhcp server?

Or do I need to make a custom image for the network boot with a Linux box? I've been looking on the website of Thinstation and the guide of Leostream but none could help me so far. Any suggestions or directions which can help me?

Thanks

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sgrinker
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frisbyvlieger

Going back to one of my earlier posts, I think there's a component missing in what you are trying to acomplish. Others can correct me if I'm wrong here, but I don't believe that the Leostream broker is able to directly accept an incoming PXE boot. In other words, you may have pointed the thinstation configuration at the Leostream broker, but the broker may not know what to do with that request. The Leostream broker is able to be accessed via a web interface, their own client (Leostream Connect), or from various Thin Clients. On top of that, the Leostream broker needs username and password credentials in order to authenticate. Directly connecting to it wouldn't give you an interface to log on to by default. If you can point the thinstation at another OS or some other interface, that may be able to provide you the ability to logon to the Leostream broker. Now again, all of this may have changed with the newer version of Leostream, and there may be something I'm not aware of.

It's all together possible I'm incorrect here as I said. I haven't looked at the newest version(s) of Leostream, but I don't recall seeing anything related to a direct PXE boot in the 4.4.x versions.

Thanks

Steve

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frisbyvlieger
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Steve,

First, I can see you fully understand my problem looking at how you describe it, thats good thank you.

Second, you might be indeed right in this all. I also have the feeling I'm missing some kind of component. A web interface correct, Leostream Connect also correct, and that last one various Thin Clients I am kind of stuck. I have also mailed Leostream about it and when I asked the same as in this topic I got a reply telling me about Wyse S10 Thin Client. But I didn't see anything of an old PC that will work. That does make some sense too. I'm waiting for a next reply from Leostream and hope they give a clear answere about it. The last thing you said to point thinstation to a different OS and start Leostream Connect from there...I tried it but that is not really giving a nice work experience.

Again all about VDI and this Leostream broker is getting more clear. Thanks for all the help so far, I will be posting what Leostream replied to me here to make your fact be proven wrong or right. I have one little question though, do you know by any chance about other brokers? Do other brokers support the PXE boot or do you also need a specific Thin Client for those just like Leostream?

Thanks

Ronald

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mreferre
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Ronald,

I think I see where you are coming from. The problem in this whole VDI space is that every Connection broker ISV (Leostream etc etc) has been working with Thin Client vendors to integrate their devices into the broker of choice. So, to stick on Lestream, they have been working with Wyse to integrate the S10 code to connect to the broker, they made available a Leostream connect for CE to be integrated with CE-based thin clients etc etc etc.

The problem with PXE booting old PC's is that usually the booting image you are using (that you get with the PXE boot server) does not have any of these integration features. So what you need to do (manually) is to integrate either the Win32 Leostream Connect into a Win32 PXE boot image (but I am sure you wouldn't want to use a Win32 OS for this....) or the JAVA Leostream Connect into a stripped-down Linux PXE boot image. That way you can set the Leostream Connect to austoart after the PXE image has been activated providing a sort "transparent login experince" for the end-users.

I have always advocated with Connection Broker vendors that it would be a great feature for thier products to provide an out-of-the-box PXE solution to repurpose old PC's instead of buying new thin clients. This shouldn't be too much of a problem as you can include with the broker an open-source PXE boot server with a customized linux image that comes with the proper "broker client" loaded. This is exactly what 2X has done with their PXES product ..... which has both a PXE boot engine as well as brokering capabilities.

Until they get to that point .... it's a manual process to integrate the whole thing.

Massimo.

Massimo Re Ferre' VMware vCloud Architect twitter.com/mreferre www.it20.info
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frisbyvlieger
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Massimo,

Thanks for your reply, yeah that is the case what I am trying to get to. It's too bad CB vendors haven't added this functionality yet since I have to few knowledge of Linux based OS's. I also got a reply from Leostream today telling me the same as you in a way that PXE booting with an old Pc is not possible. I might look into how to integrate Leostream Connect in a Win32 or Linux OS but I think I won't come as far since my time to work on this project is getting close to Time Up.

Well thank you all for your replies so far, I now have a clear answere to what bothered me and all. You've all been a great help!

Ronald

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Cosmic_Onion
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This thread is a little old ... but worth saying now with the java version of Leostream Connect for Linux it is now possible to directly run a broker client from within inside a thinstation PXE image. If you are running icewm inside thinstation you can also have mutiple Leosteam Connect agents running (i.e. one for each workspace) so could have a RDP window for up to 4 VDI machines concurrently and quickswicth between them. Thinstation PXE also nicely integrates with Altiris DS as an easy booting solution.

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