Posts Tagged Boot from SAN

Cisco UCS 101: Windows Boot from SAN

I’ve had a number of customers ask me about the steps needed in order to setup Windows boot from SAN in a Cisco UCS environment.  There are a number of resources out there already, but I wanted to go ahead and create my own resource that I could consistently point people to when the question comes up.  So, without further ado…

Assuming the service profile has already been built with a boot policy specifying CD-ROM and then SAN storage as boot targets, complete the following steps to install Microsoft Windows in a boot from SAN environment on Cisco UCS:

1.  First, download the Cisco UCS drivers from Cisco.com.  Use the driver .iso file that matches the level of firmware you are on:
CiscoDrivers

2.  Next, boot the server and launch the KVM console.  From the “Virtual Media” tab, add the Windows server boot media as well as the drivers .iso file downloaded in the previous step and map the Windows boot media.  After the server is booted, zone only one path to your storage array (e.g. vHBA-A -> SPA-0).  Once the path has been zoned, you can also register the server on the array and add to the appropriate storage groups.  Remember, it is very important that you only present one path to your storage array until multipathing can be configured on Windows after the installation.  A failure to do this will result in LUN corruption.
WindowsBootMedia

3.  Once the installation reaches the point where you select the disk to install Windows on, the installation process will notify you that drivers were not found for the storage device.  Go back to the “Virtual Media” tab and map the drivers .iso file:
DriversISO

4.  Next, go back to the KVM tab and select “Load Driver”:
LoadDriver

5.  Navigate to the CD-ROM drive and drop all the way down to the exact folder appropriate for the OS you are installing:
Driver

6.  After selecting the appropriate driver, the new drive should appear (you may have to  select “Refresh” if it does not show up immediately).  Re-map the Windows media and continue with  the installation:
DriveAvailable

7.  After Windows is fully installed, configure the desired multipathing software and zone and register the rest of the paths to the array.

That’s about it!  This is really a very simple procedure, the most important things to note are to get the appropriate drivers and zone only one path during installation.

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