Overview

Equipped with TFTP support and Synology’s DHCP Server package, DiskStation can serve as an integral part of your Preboot Execution Environment (PXE) setup. With PXE, client devices can boot over the network using network bootstrap programs stored on your DiskStation, instead of booting up with operating systems stored on local storage.

This is an ideal solution for companies that wish to centralize and simplify management in mass deployment environments.

What is PXE?

Preboot Execution Environment (PXE) is an environment that allows devices to boot up over the network prior to booting up with the operating system on local storage. Instead of using the operating system on its local storage, a client device can boot up using a network bootstrap program (NBP) stored on your Synology NAS.

In this type of environment, operating systems can be installed on client devices from your Synology NAS, eliminating the need to physically visit each client PC with a stack of installation CDs. Setting up a new client PC is as simple as connecting it to the network and powering it on.

This can dramatically reduce administration time.

To implement PXE, network bootstrap programs are stored on your Synology NAS in the folder of your choice.

After modifying the settings of your existing DHCP server to redirect client devices to the appropriate file path, client devices can access the network bootstrap programs via TFTP.

Alternatively, you can install Synology’s DHCP Server package, which allows you to provide both DHCP and TFTP service with the same Synology NAS, thus implementing an all-in-one PXE solution.

 

Setting up PXE

In the sections below, we’ll take a look at two ways DiskStation can help you implement PXE:

  • If you have an existing DHCP server and would like to provide TFTP service with your DiskStation, you can refer to 3.1 Setting up PXE with TFTP Service on DiskStation and an external DHCP server.
  • If you would like to provide both TFTP and DHCP service with a single DiskStation, please refer to 3.2 Set up DHCP Server and implement PXE on one DiskStation.

 

a) Setting up PXE with TFTP Service on DiskStation and an external DHCP server

Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP) is a simple file transfer protocol, which is often used to transfer network bootstrap programs to PXE client devices. Enabling TFTP service on your DiskStation allows it to transfer network bootstrap programs to client devices. When combined with your existing DHCP server, client devices will be able to obtain and boot up using the network bootstrap program stored on your DiskStation. Figure 1 below illustrates the role of each device in this type of PXE setup.

PXE-2

The image illustrates the three devices which are essential for this type of PXE setup.

  1. The DHCP server provides the client device with the IP address of the TFTP server and network bootstrap program information (e.g. file path, etc).
  2. The TFTP server (i.e. your DiskStation) transfers the network bootstrap program to the client device via TFTP.
  3. The client device boots up using the network bootstrap program.

To enable TFTP on DiskStation:

  1. Go to Main Menu > Control Panel > FTP and select the TFTP/PXE tab.
  2. Tick Enable TFTP service.
  3. In the TFTP root folder section, select the folder where you stored the network bootstrap program and any other files required for booting up your client device. (Your settings and environment will differ from the example below.)

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  1. Click Apply to save the settings.
  2. Log into your DHCP server and finish setting up the appropriate network settings. (Alternatively, you may also refer to the section below to set up DHCP Server on your DiskStation and complete PXE on one DiskStation.)
  3. Power on your client device. You will now be able to boot it up using PXE.

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b) Set up DHCP Server and implement PXE on one DiskStation

If you wish to provide both TFTP and DHCP service with your DiskStation, you can install Synology’s DHCP Server package from Package Center. When running DHCP Server, the necessary services for PXE can be provided by one DiskStation, thus simplifying your environment. Figure 2 illustrates the role of each device in this type of PXE setup.

ds-pxe-5

The image illustrates the role of each device to when running DHCP Server and implementing PXE on one DiskStation.

  1. The TFTP + DHCP server (i.e. your DiskStation) provides the client device with the network bootstrap program information (e.g. file path, etc).
  2. The client device boots up using the network bootstrap program.

To set up DHCP service on the DiskStation:

1. Go to Main Menu > Control Panel > FTP and select the TFTP / PXE tab.

2. Tick the box marked Set up DHCP service on this server for PXE. You’ll be prompted to install DHCP Server from Package Center if you haven’t installed it already.

3.

In the Boot loader section, select your network bootstrap program stored in the TFTP root folder you specified above. (Your settings and environment will differ from the example below.)

4. Modify the DHCP subnet settings appropriately. PXE client devices will be assigned IP addresses based on these settings.

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5. Power on your client device. You will now be able to boot it up using PXE.

 

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