Using NetBoot

As was mentioned earlier in this chapter, NetBoot is used to boot a computer to an operating system that is hosted on a network. Lion Server has a NetBoot Service that is managed using Server Admin, located in /Applications/Server. NetBoot has a few uses, including lab systems that boot from a lab server and imaging. The use for imaging is now the most prevalent use of NetBoot: because you don’t want to image either your source or your target, you can NetBoot a client to image it, rather than use Target Disk Mode.

To use Lion Server’s NetBoot Service, first create a NetBoot set. This is a disk image located inside a NetBoot bundle (a file with a .nbi extension). Once a NetBoot set has been created, it gets activated in Server Admin and voilà, you have a network-based operating system.

NetBoot has options for disabling various models of computers (you wouldn’t want a G3 to try and boot off a Lion image after all), running diskless clients (great if you are so secure an environment that you don’t believe in actually using hard drives—or if you own hats made of tin foil), and hosting multiple NetBoot images.

Building a NetBoot Set

The first step in configuring the NetBoot service is to create a NetBoot set. This is a disk image containing the operating system that is used to boot client computers to the Lion Server. To get started, first install a computer with an operating system that you want client systems to use. Then, boot that system to target disk mode and connect ...

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