AoE - ATA over Ethernet

Classic/“normal” Operating systems, like:

  • many Linux releases
  • DOS
  • Windows 1.0 - 3.11
  • Windows 9x

…just need the Interrupt 13 to run and to do file operations, such as:

  • loading Operating system components and booting the Operating System itself
  • writing log files
  • reading settings
  • loading drivers

So, the EtherBoot currently supported protocols:

  • TFTP
  • FSP
  • NFS
  • HTTP

provide a certain environment level, which is adequate and sufficient to boot the operating systems mentioned above.

New Operating systems, like Windows NT, 2000, XP, 2003 require a more in-depth hard disk environment.

In contrast to the default EtherBoot supported protocols the ATA over Ethernet specification additionally provides/emulates all necessary components for Operating Systems which require an in-depth hard disk / hard disk controller environment[…]

Chart / Diagram

Directory or hard disk (or hard disk image) containg an installed Operating System


AoE Server

| ⇐ network connection



EtherBoot binary with AoE support


Boot priority set to "EtherBoot" in the BIOS setup menu


EtherBoot with AoE support will be used as boot device


EtherBoot with AoE support provides in-depth hard disk environment and loads the Operating System from the harddisk from the AoE Server.

AoE server applications for Linux/Unix

AoE server applications for Windows/DOS

…article will be continued

AoE state of development in EtherBoot

zpxe files have been handed out to demonstrate successful AoE boot. A RTL8139.zpxe demo file has been published by Michael Brown. A prebuilt Fedora 5 hard disk image can also be downloaded.

To get you started, retrieve those files (you will need a RTL8139 card in the client). Setup DHCP reasonably (so the .zpxe file will be loaded). Download the virtual hard drive blade server (or use a real AoE capable drive, of course).


vbladed 0 0 eth0 aoedemo.img

you should be able to boot the client into Fedora.

This is proof-of-concept only, and the code is only in developer codetree yet.


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