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Fedora boot from SAN

Fedora supports booting from an iSCSI SAN. You can install directly to the iSCSI target.


The Fedora installation process is somewhat fragile, and the built-in support for iSCSI installation does not function properly. However, it is possible to work around this limitation and install to an iSCSI target.

Start a Fedora network installation in the usual way, and proceed up to the point of the graphical welcome screen:

Start of Fedora installation

Before clicking on Next, press Ctrl-Alt-F2. This should take you to a root shell prompt. Configure and start up the iSCSI initiator:

  sh-3.2# mkdir /etc/iscsi
  sh-3.2# echo > \
  sh-3.2# iscsid

Fedora iSCSI installation connection to disk

where is your DNS name in reverse order. (For completeness, you should also replace 2007-08 with the year and month in which you first obtained your DNS domain. The iSCSI naming schemes are somewhat pedantic, but it won’t affect anything in practice; as long as the initiator name is unique then everything will work just fine.)

Connect to the iSCSI target to be used for installation:

  sh-3.2# iscsiadm -m discovery -t sendtargets -p

where is the DNS name or IP address of your iSCSI target. You will see a list of available target IQNs. Log in to the installation target:

  sh-3.2# iscsiadm -m node -T -l

where is the IQN of the target that you want to install to.

You are now logged in to the installation iSCSI target. Press Ctrl-Alt-F6 to return to the graphical installation process, and click on Next to proceed to the disk selection screen:

Fedora iSCSI installation disk selection

You must tick the “Review and modify partitioning layout” box before proceeding to the disk partitioning screen:

Fedora iSCSI installation swap removal

Select and delete the swap partition. This is required for two reasons: firstly, swap over iSCSI (or over any network device) is generally a bad idea; secondly, doing so works around a bug in the Fedora installer which would otherwise result in the partition table never being written to disk.

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