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Boot on Bare Metal with PXE

There have been a lot of requests from all of you about running CoreOS on physical gear. You want to use all of the features of CoreOS like atomic system upgrades, distributed configuration and Docker containers with the increased speed, flexibility and simplicity of bare metal. It makes a lot of sense to us too and we have been working to get the pieces in place for you to get CoreOS on your bare metal.

Run from RAM

This first version of bare metal CoreOS boots over PXE. If you aren't familiar PXE is a way to do network boots and is a common way to bring up installers.

But, we didn't want to force people to install CoreOS on disk and by default the PXE image runs completely out of RAM. This means you can use all of the features of CoreOS with zero on-disk installation. Plus, the image takes an ssh public key on the commandline passed from the PXE server so that you can log right in using your existing keypair.

The process simply becomes: boot up a machine, ssh in, and start running containers without touching storage.

# pxe boot and wait
ssh core@10.0.2.15
docker run -i -t busybox /bin/sh

To get started with this new feature checkout our guide on PXE Booting CoreOS.

Or Install to Disk

Of course if you want to have data persistant over reboots that is easily done. You can configure CoreOS to use a partition as it's STATE partition. The CoreOS image and root filesystem comes from PXE still but all of your data stays on disk.

mkfs.ext4 -L STATE /dev/sda1

Or even install CoreOS completely to disk. This will make everything on bare metal behave similarly to the current VM images.

coreos-install -d /dev/sda -V 72.0.0

Hardware Support

Give it a shot, but we are still working on the full set of hardware that we will be supporting. We have most of the common hardware working. If you run into issues ping on us #coreos or email Carly.