Bare Metal servers provide full control of the hardware, allowing many unique configurations. Vultr provides several standard OS images and One-Click applications to deploy your Bare Metal server. If you prefer a custom Bare Metal OS, use this guide to install from a custom ISO. Please read and understand all steps before proceeding to deploy your Bare Metal cloud, including the troubleshooting guide.
Bare Metal servers have dual SSDs. This guide temporarily uses the second SSD to boot an ISO image. The primary steps are:
The ISO image needs to be a hybrid disk image. Most popular Linux ISOs are hybrid ISOs. See the isohybrid utility for more information. Regular ISO-9660 and UDF filesystems will not work for this process.
Due to licensing requirements, we cannot provide support for custom Windows installations. If you intend to attempt a Windows installation on a Bare Metal instance, make sure you have a valid Windows license before proceeding. The majority of Windows licenses are not valid for cloud server deployment.
Visit the customer portal and deploy a bare metal instance.
SSH to the new instance with the root account and password from the server information page.
Download your desired ISO. For example:
# wget http://example.com/CentOS-8.iso
Write the ISO image to the second SSD with
dd. The second SSD is /dev/sdb. For example:
# dd if=CentOS-8.iso of=/dev/sdb bs=4096 status=progress
dd completes, the second SSD is bootable with the ISO image.
The hybrid image must match the server configuration, either Legacy (BIOS) or UEFI. Verify Boot Mode Select is correct for your ISO type.
Press F4 to Save & Exit.
Choose "P3", which is the second SSD containing your ISO image. This changes the boot order one time only. The server will revert to the first SSD on the next boot unless intercepted with F11.
The server will boot from the ISO image. Proceed to install your OS to the first SSD. Most Linux distributions refer to this as /dev/sda.
When finished, reboot the server. The server will boot from the first SSD as usual. If you need to force the server to boot from the ISO, intercept the boot sequence with F11 as before.
After installing the custom operating system, use your OS-specific tools to reclaim it as a data device. For example, set it up as a second data volume, or configure software RAID. How to use the second SSD are specific to your installation.
You can adapt this technique to install many custom ISOs. It's impossible to cover every scenario, but check these basic troubleshooting steps if you have issues.
In BIOS setup, try resetting the BIOS to default with F3