PXE (Preboot eXecution Environment) is the predominant standard for
network booting on the x86 platform. The facilities provided and
required by plain old PXE are somewhat archaic.
The open-source iPXE project
provides a free (GPL) implementation of PXE with many enhancements
not found in legacy PXE implementations, such as:
iSCSI boot - the ability to boot an operating system (such as
Linux or Microsoft Windows Server 2003) directly from an iSCSI
AoE (ATA-over-Ethernet) boot - the ability to boot an operating
system (such as Linux or Microsoft Windows XP) directly from a
Coraid Etherdrive NAS.
HTTP boot - the ability to boot directly from a web server.
Boot scripts - the ability to write a script to control the
network boot process.
Fen Systems has been responsible for implementing most of these
value-added features. If you have a feature that you would like to
be added to iPXE, please contact us
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