This is a good blog..especially for DevOps guys. These types of blogs really help with automating infrastructure deployments. Enjoy!
Originally posted on Semi-Empirical Shenanigans:
When working on an IaaS product, there is a constant need to have an easy and quick way to re-provision bare metal quickly. At Eucalyptus we utilize Cobbler and a home grown solution that allow us to setup servers automatically. PXE along with kickstart/preseed configurations create an easy, consistent and automated way to setup bare metal on the fly. Setting this up though is not always as easy as one would like for some operating systems and hardware configurations.
When netbooting Debian on a Dell server with a Broadcom Netextreme II network card, a missing firmware error will occur with the stock Debian netboot ramdisk. The Broadcom Netextreme II network card uses non-free firmware so Debian will not pack it by default with its stock images. So, the firmware needs to be added to the netboot ramdisk manually before the machine will be able to successfully boot and access the network.
The Debian Wiki’s Netboot Firmware page contains some instructions on how to add the non-free firmware deb package to the stock ramdisk. Unfortunately, I was unable to get this to work. So, another method was performed to get the firmware into the netboot ramdisk and below is what I did. (NOTE: the below example uses the Debian Squeeze release. The same instructions will work with other versions of Debian as well.)