New servers that support Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) 2.5 and above are now shipping. UEFI is an industry standard that is a set of interfaces between the system firmware, the operating system, and various components of the system firmware that deliver enhanced benefits.HTTP Boot is a client-server communication based application. It combines the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), Domain Name System (DNS), and Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) to provide the capability for system deployment and configuration over the network. This new capability can be utilized as a higher-performance replacement for Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP) based Preboot Execution Environment (PXE) Boot methods of network deployment.
UEFI 2.5 and 2.6 include a lot of features, but we are especially excited about the long awaited HTTP/HTTPS boot and NVMe drive boot options that are now supported. As usual, the Linux world is ahead of Microsoft on these topics, but 2Pint Software got you covered. Our iPXE Anywhere solution already supports this. A whitepaper on how to configure this on Windows DHCP servers will be coming soon as well.
As usual, the Linux world is ahead of Microsoft on these topics
iPXE has supported UEFI 2.5 HTTP boot for a long time: Information on iPXE Network Boot Loader HTTP Support
More information on the network stack changes
- UEFI supports PXE boot for IPv6 networks allowing a unified network stack to PXE boot from any network controller while maintaining backward compatibility and continuing to support IPv4 PXE.
- Supports PXE Multicast boot for image deployment to multiple servers at the same time.
- UEFI Extended Network Stack for IPv4 enhancements overcome the limitations of PXE and TFTP by using more reliable TCP connections instead of UDP.
- Modern booting from HTTP or HTTPS with a URL boot option that can be an EFI boot loader or a deployment ISO image, using the UEFI virtual RAM drive.
- New System Utilities BIOS/Platform Configuration (RBSU) IPv6 DHCP Unique Identifier menu that allows users to select how the UEFI BIOS will use the DHCP Unique Identifier (DUID) for IPv6 PXE Boot.
More on the individual server vendors support (not limited to)
Hewlett Packard Enterprise
The HPE ProLiant system BIOS is a UEFI solution based on the latest UEFI Specification revisions. This includes UEFI supports for iLO RESTful API and is Redfish API conformant.
The following whitepaper has a lot of good info and is a good read.
WhitePaper: Using HTTP Boot to Install an Operating System on Lenovo ThinkSystem servers
Now we just have to wait a little longer for desktop and server machines supporting this. Typically Intel Skylake machines ship with UEFI 2.5 or above, but that doesn’t mean it supports HTTP PXE boot.