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PXE Lot or PXE Lite

PXE Lot or PXE Lite

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How 1E’s PXE Lite provides the lowest cost network booting solution. It eliminates the need for local servers and the associated costs of managing them.
How 1E’s PXE Lite provides the lowest cost network booting solution. It eliminates the need for local servers and the associated costs of managing them.

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Published by: 1E : Empowering IT Efficiency on Feb 23, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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07/10/2013

 
 
All rights reserved. No part of this document shall be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic,mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without permission from 1E. No patent liability is assumed with respect to the use of theinformation contained herein. Although every precaution has been taken in the preparation of this document, 1E and the authors assume noresponsibility for errors or omissions. Neither is liability assumed for damages resulting from the information contained herein. The 1E name is aregistered trademark of 1E in the UK, US and EC. The 1E logo is a registered trademark of 1E in the UK, EC and under the Madrid protocol.NightWatchman is a registered trademark in the US and EU.
 
PXE LOT OR PXELITE
 
THE LOWEST COST NETWORK BOOT SOLUTIONDAVE FULLER1EJANUARY 2011
ABSTRACT: Being able to boot PCs from the network is a must-have requirement for any zero-touch Operating
System deployment solution, especially where new (‘bare
-
metal’) machines are being delivered, or you need torebuild a broken PC that can’t otherwise boot up. We are convinced that the best solution for deploying Microsoft
Windows desktop operating systems is Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager. However, to achieve acomprehensive zero-touch solution with System Center requires servers to host the Pre-Execution Environment (PXE)service that enables booting from the network. T
his paper demonstrates how 1E’s PXELite solution eliminates the
need for these servers and the associated costs of managing them, providing the lowest cost PXE solution for alldistributed IT environments.
 
 © 1E 2010 3
The need for Network Booting
You are no doubt already familiar with the concept that applications cannot be successfully updated on a PC whilethey are running. Software updates nearly always involve updating executable code files that the application uses.When an application is running, the executable code files are held in memory, so changing them on the disk while adifferent version is in memory causes the application to become unstable. Some applications share files with otherapplications, making the update process even more risky if any of those applications are running. When you attemptto update such an application you will typically be prompted to close down the associated applications beforecontinuing.Well, an Operating System is similar in that much of its executable code is in memory when it is being used, howeverthe problem of shared applications is much bigger as
every 
application and process that runs on the PC uses some of those files. So we need to close the Operating System down to get it out of memory so that we can copy all the filesfrom the new operating system to disk, then we can start the new Operating System back up again and load it intomemory. However, the Operating System provides all the core functions, most importantly the communicationbetween the network and the hard disk to enable the new Operating System files to be copied. If we close theOperating System down, we lose the ability to copy the new Operating System files to disk. What we need is a
‘temporary’ Operating System that we can load into memory once the ‘real’ Operating System has been closed
down.This is where Windows PE (Pre-installation Environment) comes in. Windows PE is a cut down version of Windowsthat includes all the necessary components to install the new Operating System to a point where it can boot up and
finish the process itself. So how do we boot up a PC to Windows PE once we’ve shut down the ‘real’ Operating
System? We need some
boot media
.In the old days we used floppy disks, now we use CDs, DVDs or USB drives. This boot media contains the Windows PE
Operating System (in the form of a WIM file) and a couple of extra ‘boot’ files that are required to load Windows PE
into memory. Once the Windows PE Operating System is loaded into memory, we can do what we want with the filesthat are on the hard disk. We can back up user files, completely wipe the disk and then install the files required by
the new operating system. When we’re done, we simply remove our boot media and reboot the PC from the local
hard disk.Great! Except this requires someone to insert or connect the boot media, reboot the machine to the chosen bootdevice (CD, DVD, USB), wait for the WinPE process to finish then remove the boot media so the PC can boot to thenew Operating System. If you have 200 offices, each with 50 PCs to be upgraded to Windows 7, you are going toneed an engineer to babysit 10,000 boot-ups for around 10 minutes per PC. If an engineer costs $30 per hour you aregoing to spend $50,000 just getting Windows PE loaded. We need to do this without physical boot media or devicesbeing connected. This is where PXE comes in.
What is PXE?
PXE
(pronounced ‘pixie’)
stands for Preboot-Execution Environment and is a standard that is included in PC hardwareto enable the PC to use the network as a boot device. The Windows PE Operating System image, along with the initialboot files, is stored on a
PXE Server 
. The process of booting a PC from a PXE Server is typically referred to as
PXE booting.

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