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Help w/RHEL Kickstart CD

Posted on 2006-07-24
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Last Modified: 2011-10-03
The RH part of our Linux environment has a Satellite Server which holds our RHEL images.

We're getting ready to build out some new blades, and we'd like to speed things along with Kickstart and the Satellite Server.

I'm looking for instructions on how to build a bootable CD that will bring up the installation and use the Kickstart file (also on the CD), but will pull the images from the Satellite Server. We already have the Kickstart file written, what we need to figger out is exactly what needs to be on the CD, in addition to the Kickstart file, to have the installer pull the images from the Satellite Server.

Anyone done this?
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Question by:PsiCop
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13 Comments
 
LVL 16

Accepted Solution

by:
xDamox earned 1500 total points
ID: 17168583
Hi,

The first step is to burn the FIRST redhat CD as this will allow you to boot redhat Linux. Also the rest of the information
can be read at:

http://www.redhat.com/docs/manuals/linux/RHL-7.3-Manual/custom-guide/s1-kickstart2-putkickstarthere.html

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LVL 34

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by:PsiCop
ID: 17168711
xDamox,

Assume a floppy/USB is NOT available.

Do you have any references on how to do it using ONLY the CD as the boot media.
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LVL 11

Expert Comment

by:kblack05
ID: 17169395
You will probably need to have a script on the startup disk that has the network configuration, and also does two additional steps, uses SMB or similar function to mount the remote server install package directory, and also you will need to pass network installation options to the kernel at boot time...

See the startup section of http://www.faqs.org/docs/Linux-HOWTO/Network-Install-HOWTO.html
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by:kblack05
ID: 17169408
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LVL 22

Expert Comment

by:pjedmond
ID: 17169464
http://kickstart-tools.sourceforge.net/howkickstartworks.html#bootdisk

Following directives are probably of interest.

ks=http://<server>/<path>
ks=cdrom:/<path>

I think that your problem is not that you don't understand kickstart, but more that you cannot conceive how to put the boot information onto a CD. BAsically, the simplest way is add/edit the necessary files in the boot image of you first CD of the install set. NOTE - This messes up the CDROM validity check...but then again, it never gets that far...so who cares!

http://256.com/gray/docs/redhat_boot/

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LVL 22

Expert Comment

by:pjedmond
ID: 17169499
Basically, using the ks directives means that you can potentially use just install disc 1 to install, but you need to manually enter the ks directive....or the second approach is a completely customised CD:)

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LVL 34

Author Comment

by:PsiCop
ID: 17169807
Actually, I do understand Kickstart - it's just all the online references are either very old/outdated (and their applicability to a *modern* version of RHEL is therefore suspect), or refer to placing the Kickstart file on a floppy (or on the Satellite server, or on USB). I've only found oblique references to placing the file on a CD, and then there seems to be different assertions as to WHERE on the CD it needs to go (I've seen articles claiming variously that it needs to be put in /, /tmp, /boot and other places).

However, between what I've been able to piece together from various FAQs, online manuals and "how-to" documents, plus what's been said here, it seems like the best way is to create a custom version of the first installation CD, with the Kickstart file on it, located in /.
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LVL 22

Expert Comment

by:pjedmond
ID: 17169953
You say that it's outdated - It's actually very simple, and hasn't really changed. It works well, and the process is exactly the same as it was in the RH 7 days.

Obviously if you want a smaller CD (business card), then you can remove most of the files from the CD.

You can put the kickstart file wherever you want! - If you're likely to change the kickstart file on a regular basis, put it on an http server (ks=http...). That way, you won't need to reburn CDs when you decide to change the config.

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LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:xDamox
ID: 17170065
Hi,

As I said earlier burn the first Redhat CD and place it into the cd-rom for booting then once it boots type the following:

linux ks=http://build-server/kickstart/ks.cfg

This is assuming that your ks.cfg file is on a webserver
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LVL 34

Author Comment

by:PsiCop
ID: 17170305
Oh, I believe the process hasn't changed from RH 7.x to the present day.

Now, find documentation EXPLICITLY STATING that. The sort of documentation you can take to a non-tech manager in a highly regulated (think "ITIL") environment. The sort of manager who says, when you bring him a 3-year-old doc from a much older version of RH, says "But that's not the version we're using".

For whatever reason, the environment here insists that the Kickstart file be on the CD, not on the server.

And yes, xDamox, you were the first to suggest burning a customised version of the first RH CD.
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LVL 22

Expert Comment

by:pjedmond
ID: 17170395
http://www.redhat.com/docs/manuals/enterprise/RHEL-4-Manual/sysadmin-guide/s1-kickstart2-howuse.html

Redhat 4 docs....

http://www.redhat.com/docs/manuals/enterprise/RHEL-4-Manual/sysadmin-guide/s1-kickstart2-file.html

File configuration...

(Under RHEL4 for manager) - The creation of a boot disk or a boot CD is more of a general boot process understanding. Any boot floppy drive can be coverted to an El Torito CD if you understand the process. Basically the CD presents a Floppy disc image!

http://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/Bootdisk-HOWTO/cd-roms.html

should help explain this better?

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LVL 48

Expert Comment

by:Tintin
ID: 17173072
As you have a Satellite server, why not use the Satellite server to build your servers.  Naturally, that depends a little on how your network is setup, but you can setup PXE boot and automate the entire install without needing any media.
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LVL 34

Author Comment

by:PsiCop
ID: 17235801
As it happens, we eventually *did* use the Satellite Server.

Our original plan to not use it came about because, in our specific network environment, we didn't think we'd be able to get network connectivity to the VLAN with the Satellite Server. We were eventually able to get the necessary connectivity.

I'm going to award the points to xDamox, whose answer came the closest to being what we wanted to try (before we managed to get connectivty to the SatServ). The admin who tried building a custom CD thinks he messed up the boot sector, so we didn't actually use that method.
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