Jumpstarting VMWare fusion clients

I updated my jumpstart server last weekend, and wanted to test out the new bits I added. All of the systems I use for testing were tied up, so I decided to jumpstart a VMWare fusion client. By default, VMWare fusion will create and present an Intel pro series adapter to the guest. There appears to be a bug in VMWare fusion that slows PXE booting on clients that use this adapter to a craaaaawl. For a reason yet undetermined, switching to the vlance driver seems to work around whatever issue is present in VMWare fusion. To switch drivers, you can edit your guest’s VMX file and replace the existing Ethernet adapter settings with the following:

ethernet0 = “vlance”

After the adapter setting is updated, things should be significantly faster (at least they were for me!).

1 thought on “Jumpstarting VMWare fusion clients”

  1. Thanks for the tip! I ran into this problem yesterday and a coworker suggested Blog O’Matty might have the answer — sure enough!

    The slowness is probably due to the fact that the emulated e1000 does not generate interrupts when packets are received, as described here:

    http://sourceforge.net/mailarchive/message.php?msg_id=8657ee3f0709091545u56a42d5au50f61b9407e06868%40mail.gmail.com

    Pxegrub is probably polling for packets, which, if it’s doing it at a low frequency, may explain the slowness.

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