you really need to try to disable the onboard NIC becfore using a card otherwise it might get confused.
I tend to doubt it got confused... it got an IP address from DHCP using eth1 and definitely recognized that there was no available connection on eth0. But it's still worth trying.
... But when that kernel starts, it has its own NIC drivers which take over from the PXE boot software. When that happens, what I am concerned about is whether it is setting eth1 to DHCP as it would normally expect to set eth0 to DHCP.
I hear what you're saying. Makes sense. Turns out that's not a problem. The real cause: bad network card
However, I ran into a few more problems due to my own stupidity... which I should probably record for posterity (in case anyone else runs into similar problems).
First off, this computer only supports PXE boot from the on-board NIC, which doesn't work with LMCE. So I recompiled GRUB with support for the RealTek 8319 and created a "boot cd" with a simple grub config, following the instructions at: http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/GRUB_PXE_network_boot
However, to make matters more complicated, I forgot that I had already tried setting up a different MD with that network card - so LMCE had already created an MD (#35) associated with that MAC address. The default target for the kernel and initrd image did not include a reference to the MD object number. Specifically, the lines in my menu.lst for GRUB looked like the following:
kernel /tftpboot/default/vmlinuz root=/dev/nfs acpi=off vga=normal ramdisk_size=10240 rw ip=all apicpmtimer
When I boot that way, it continually times out with the same message:
NETDEV WATCHDOG: eth0: transmit timed out
eth0: link up, 100Mbps, full-duplex, lpa 0x45E1
So I manually launched the network boot (I'll update my boot cd later) using the following settings instead (culled from Grub PXE wiki page):
kernel /tftpboot/35/vmlinuz ramdisk=10240 rw root=/dev/nfs boot=nfs nfsroot=192.168.80.1:/usr/pluto/diskless/35
And voila. Problem solved. I'm a happy camper and my faith in LMCE has been restored.
Thanks again for your assistance. I really appreciate it.