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CCBoot - iSCSI Boot Windows 7 over Network

This article is for CCBoot v2.1 only. For CCBoot v3.0, please refer to the video - "How to Diskless Boot Windows 7
with CCBoot v3.0" on Youtube.
iSCSI boot technology can be used to diskless boot Windows 7 for computers without local hard disk (in this article we
call them client PC), so it's also known as diskless boot. As a Windows based iSCSI boot software, CCBoot is
compatible with windows 7 lan boot, and support install windows 7 over network. Win XP and Vista. The brief
process of diskless boot Window 7 with CCBoot is as bellow:
1. Client PC iSCSI boot over network and broadcast DHCP request.
2. CCBoot handles the DHCP requests and allocates IP address for the client PC.
3. Client PC get IP addresses and then download Win 7 system image via TFTP from CCBoot server.
4. Client PC iSCSI boot Win 7 over network.

To iSCSI boot Win 7 with CCBoot, we have 3 stpes to do.

I.

Install and Initialize iSCSI Boot Server with CCBoot


iSCSI Boot Server Installation
Download iSCSI boot software - CCBoot server installation package from
-http://www.ccboot.com/download.htm .
Launch ccbootsetup.exe on the server and keep press the next button to the end.

Figure 1
CCBoot uses the following ports - 67 (DHCP), 69 (TFTP), 3260 (iSCSI), 1000 (Image Upload), 8001 (Service
Control). Please open these ports on the server firewall to make sure client PC can diskless boot successfully.
Since CCBoot v2.1, you also need to open port 66. V2.1 uses port 66 as DHCP backup.
Note: To make sure client PCs can diskless boot well, please shut down the other DHCP services on the LAN
especially the DHCP service in the router.
Launch CCBoot and you will get the main interface as bellow:

Figure 2

iSCSI Boot Server Initialization


Demo Environment
Server IP: 192.168.1.10
Gateway: 192.168.1.1
DNS Address: 192.168.1.1
IP Mask: 255.255.255.0
DHCP Range: 192.168.1.101-192.168.1.254
Open the iSCSI boot software - CCBoot, "Options"->"Options Wizard" and configure step by step as bellow:

Figure 3
You need to select the correct local IP address as "DHCP Server IP". Press "Scan DHCP" to check if there are
other DHCP services on the LAN. If yes, shut them down so that client PC can get IP address from CCBoot
DHCP and then diskless boot Windows 7

Figure 4
Set "Server IP Address". Normally, its the same as "DHCP Server IP".
Set "Write-back File Path" and "Image Save Path" as you want.
"Write-back File Path" is used to store the diskless booted clients write-back data. Youd better use a big
volume hard disk as "Write-back File Path". This disk should be formatted as NTFS and 32K bytes per
cluster.
"Image Save Path" is used to store the iSCSI boot images. This disk should be also formatted as NTFS and
32K bytes per cluster. Youd better use a fast speed hard disk as "Image Save Path". For example, use an
SAS hard disk.

Figure 5
Keep default values in "Server Cache Settings".

Figure 6

Keep default values in "Other Settings". Press the "Finish" button and confirm the popup dialog box.

II.

Upload Win7 System Image for iSCSI Booting


To diskless boot Win 7, we need to create a system image for Win7 and save it on the CCBoot server.
1.

Choose one client PC as master PC used for uploading iSCSI boot image. Attach a hard disk on the
PC.

2.

Delete all partitions first. Allocate a small MBR partition about 40G size and leave the rest unallocated.
Format the 40G partition with NTFS. Install Window 7 into this partition.

3.

Install only NIC driver, chips driver and other low level drivers on this master PC.

4.

Open the local area connection network properties and configure as bellow:

Figure 7
Click "Properties".

Figure 8
Select "Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)" and click "Properties".

Figure 9
Select "Obtain an IP address automatically" and "Obtain DNS server address automatically", then click
"OK" to save.
5.

On the CCBoot server you will find a client in the client list (Figure 10) that was added by CCBoot
automatically when the client PC got IP address from the CCBoot DHCP service.

Figure 10
6.

Double click the client to edit and check both "Enable Upload Image" and "Keep Write-back File"
(Figure 11), when press "save" button it will ask you "Are you sure to delete write-back file?" Just
press "No".

Figure 11
7.

Download CCBoot client installation package from: http://www.ccboot.com/download.htm . Launch


ccbootsetupclient.exe and keep press the next button to the end. Then launch CCBoot client and you
will see the main interface as bellow (Figure 12).

Figure 12
8.

Press the "Install CCBoot Client" button. After finished, it will require reboot system. Reboot the client
PC.

9.

After reboot, launch CCBootClient again, input the correct "Server IP address", it should be the IP
address of the PC on which CCBoot server has been located. Input the image file name as you wish in
the "Image File Name". Press the "Upload Image" button to upload the image to the CCBoot server.
Then CCBoot will create an iSCSI boot image in the server "Image Save Path".
Note: CCBoot supports two types of image file format. It supports ".VMDK" image file format if you are
using Windows 2003 as CCBoot server system. It will support both ".VMDK" and ".VHD" image file
format if you are using Window 7 or Windows 2008. As you can see in Figure 12, the image file format
depends on the file extension you have set for the "Image File Name". For example, if you set
"Win7.vmdk" as the "Image File Name", it means you will use ".VMDK" image file format, while if you
set "Win7.vhd", it means you will use ".VHD" image file format.

III.

iSCSI Boot Windows 7 on LAN


1.

On CCBoot server, double click PC101 (Figure 10) to open the master PCs properties dialog box,
uncheck "Enable Upload Image" and "Keep Write-back File".

2.

Remove the HDD from the master PC, set it firstly boot from LAN (or network, PXE rom, or some
similar settings) in BIOS settings so that it will start diskless boot (Figure 13).

Figure 13
3.

The first time diskless booting the master PC, you can modify its computer name (Figure 14).

Figure 14
Set the computer name as you wish then press enter key to boot it (Figure 15).

Figure 15
Note: the first time you diskless boot Windows 7, you will get a startup list just like has not shut down
computer normally. Thats just because we uploaded the iSCSI boot image during Win 7 is running.
Bellow is how to prevent from this situation for future booting.
1) Select "Start Windows 7 Normally" to boot.
2) When this client PC diskless boot OK, shut it down. On the CCBoot server, press "Save to Image"
in this client's properties.
Now, clients can diskless boot Windows 7 from this image normally.

IV.

4.

On CCBoot server, "Options" -> "Settings" -> "Default Client Settings" -> "Disk Group" -> press the
">>" button, select "Win7.vmdk" as the default boot image in "System Image Selection" section.

5.

Do the same as Step 2 and Step 3 for other diskless PCs with the same specifications as the master
PC to diskless boot Win7 for them.

Additional Instruction
1.

If the image you have uploaded from the master PC can be used to iSCSI boot Windows 7 for all the
other client PCs, please install other drivers (display, sound etc), Windows updates, and various
application level softwares to the image by update image.

2.

If you want to iSCSI boot Windows 7 with a single image for client computers with different hardware
specifications, you need to implement PnP, please refer to this article for more details - how to create
a single image for all specifications .

How to Create a Single Image for All


Specifications
This article is for CCBoot v2.1 only. For CCBoot v3.0, please refer to the article in wiki, and the video on Youtube.
The PnP function of CCBoot makes it possible for you to create a single image for all client PCs with various
specifications so that they can diskless boot with this single image. Suppose you need to implement PnP for 30 client
PCs: PC-1, PC-2, PC-3... bellow are the steps for you.
1. Install Windows XP or Windows 7 on the client (suppose PC-1) which has the best hardare specifications.
2. Install NIC driver, chips driver and other low level drivers on PC-1.
3. Install CCBootClient on PC-1 and restart it as required.
4. Upload image from PC-1 to CCBoot server.
5. Diskless boot PC-1 with super client and install all the other drivers and various softwares you need on it, then
shut down PC-1.
6. Try to diskless boot all the client PCs with the image you have uploaded from PC-1. If all client PCs can boot
successfully, please go to Step 13, if one client (suppose PC-2) can not boot successfully, please go to Step
7.
7. Boot PC-2 with HDD and install the same Windows edition on it.
8. Install NIC driver on PC-2.
9. Diskless boot PC-1 with super client and insert a USB key on it, copy c:\ccbootclient\ccbootpnp.exe to the
USB key.
10. Insert this USB key to PC-2. Run ccbootpnp.exe and click the "Collect Local NIC" button, it will create a folder
in this USB Key named "Drivers" including NIC driver of PC-2.
11. Insert this USB Key back on PC-1. Run ccbootpnp.exe on the USB key and click the "Merge Collected NIC"
button. When finish, please shut down PC-1.
12. Now, you are able to diskless boot PC-2 with the image successfully.
13. Diskless boot PC-2 with super client, install other drivers on PC-2 if necessary and then shut down.
14. Do the same as Step 13 for PC-3, PC-4, PC-5..

Server Hardware Requirements


2014/07/09 11:37
Here is the recommended server hardware for diskless boot with CCBoot.
1. CPU: Intel or AMD Processor 4 Core or more.
2. Motherboard: Server motherboard that supports 8GB or more RAM, 6 or more SATA Ports.
3. RAM: 8GB DDR3 or more.
4. Hard Disk:
At first, we introduce some items.
Image disk: the hard disk that stores the client OS boot data. We call it as "image".
Game disk: the hard disks that store the game data.
Writeback disk: the hard disks that store the client write data. In diskless booting, all data are read and wrote
from server. So we need writeback disk to save the client's write data. Other products are also named it as
"write cache".
1) One SATA HDD is used for server OS (C:\) and image disk(D:\); some users put image file into SSD disk.
It's not necessary. We have RAM cache for image. All image data will be loaded from RAM cache at last. So
put image file into SSD disk is not necessary.
2) Two SATA HDD are set up on RAID0 for Game Disk.
We recommend to use Win2008 disk manager to setup RAID0 instead of hardware RAID in BIOS. We
recommend to set SATA mode as AHCI in BIOS. Because AHCI is better for writeback disks' write
performance. For more information, please refer to AHCI on wiki. In the BIOS, SATA mode can only be one of
AHCI and RAID. If we set it as AHCI, the RAID function of the motherboard will be invalid. So we use Win2008
disk manager to setup RAID0. The performance is same as hardware RAID0. Note: If you skip RAID0, the
read speed of the game may become slow. But if the clients are less than 50 with SSD cache, it is OK to skip
RAID0.
3) One SSD disk for SSD cache. (120G+)
4) Two SATA/SAS/SSD HDD is used for client write-back disk. We do NOT recommend to use RAID for writeback disks. If one disk is broken, we can use the other one. If using RAID for writeback disk, one disk broken
will cause all clients stop. On the other hand, CCBoot can do balance for writeback disk. Two disks write
performance is better than one RAID disk. Using SSD as writeback disk is better than SATA. SSD has good
IOPS. The street said the writing activities are harmful for the lifetime of SSD. In our experience, one SSD for
writeback disk can be used for three years at least. It's enough and worth.
Conclusion: You need to prepare 6 HDDs for the server normally. They are 5 SATA HDDs and 1 SSD HDD. 1
SATA for system OS, 2 SATA for game disks, 2 SATA for writeback disks and 1 SSD for cache.

5. For 25 - 30 client PCs, server should have 8G DDR3 RAM and two writeback disks.

6. For 30 - 70 client PCs, server should have 16G DDR3 RAM and two writeback disks.
7. For 70 - 100 client PCs, server should have 32G DDR3 RAM and two writeback disks.
8. For 100+ client PCs, we recommend to use 2 or more Servers with load balance.
9. Network: 1000Mb Ethernet or 2 * 1000 Mb Ethernet team network. We recommend Intel and Realtek 1000M
Series.

Server Hard Disk Allocation


2014/08/25 16:00

Use a SATA hard disk as the system disk of the server, which is divided into two
partitions; install the server system in the C disk; install the CCBoot and store the image
package in the D disk.
Three SATA hard disks

The other two SATA hard disks are used as the game disks, and the hard disks are
composed of soft arrays; the disk letter is "E". Recommend not using the hard arrays.

One is used as the cache disk; the disk letter is "S". If you want to use the "advanced
SSD initialization" function of the CCBoot, the initialization process takes about 10
minutes.
Three SSD hard disks

The other two SSD hard disks are used as the "write-back" disks. All need to format. The
disk letters are "I" and "J". Recommend not using any array pattern.

After allocating all the hard disks, you need to "format" all the hard disks. The steps are as follows:
1) Right-click the "Computer", clicks the "Manage".
2) In the pop-up "Computer" window, expand the "Storage" node; click the "Disk Management".
3) Right-click the disk, click "Format" to format the hard disk (Figure 1-1).

Figure 1-1
4) It will pop up "Format" dialogue box, in the "Allocation unit size" combo box, select the "32K", then click the "OK"
button (Figure 1-2).

Figure 1-2