7 Replies Latest reply on Aug 25, 2010 4:04 PM by Bill Robinson

    Linux provisioning and kickstart

    Gerardo Bartoccini


      I'm discussing how to provisioning Linux systems with a customer and I told them we don't use any vendors' tool for this (opposite to what we do for AIX with NIM, Solaris with jumpstart, etc.)


      They ask if they can reuse something they used to do with kickstart.


      I have seen topics here where kickstart is mentioned, but what I would like to understand is if kickstart integration is standard or if we have to customize it, and what the flow would look like if we do.



        • 1. Re: Linux provisioning and kickstart

          Customer can reuse their own kick start file with few tuning.


          For x86 provisioning, we use our own tftp, PXE server. But then for the provisioning phase itself we use standard OS vendors methodology. For redhat, you can find in the System package a tab about kickstart file that is by default automatically generated regarding what you put on other tab. But you can customize the kickstart entry and if you want to reuse a kickstart file that you already have, you can just do a copy and past on this tab.


          Hope this answer to your question.

          • 2. Re: Linux provisioning and kickstart
            Bill Robinson

            anything is possible   but what specifically do they want to do?

            • 3. Re: Linux provisioning and kickstart
              Gerardo Bartoccini

              I double-checked with them.

              They think kickstart is needed, but they don't mind if we use it or not.


              So, do we need it? :-)


              I am asking this because they already have it up and running, so, just in case...

              • 4. Re: Linux provisioning and kickstart
                Bill Robinson

                We use kickstart... but we bring our own.

                • 5. Re: Linux provisioning and kickstart

                  We're not using a separate kickstart box OTB but our PXE and tftp + datastore. By the way a kickstart box is usually just a DHCP, PXE and tftp box with a datastore

                  Now if they want to reuse the datastore they already have, it's possible.

                  1 of 1 people found this helpful
                  • 6. Re: Linux provisioning and kickstart
                    R V

                    It seems there is some confusion about what kickstart is or does. I'm no expert for this topic BTW: I did some kickstart-installation and here is my "knowledge":


                    kickstart is a "way to do an automated installation for RedHat", more exactly it is THE way to do this. "kickstart" starts just after booting, so kickstart does NOT deal with PXE or TFTP. If you do a very normal unattended installtion with RedHat you will insert your DVD and somehow (I never did a manual kickstart-installation ) provide the "kickstart"-file, which is just a normal textfile. Then installation goes on without personal interaction.


                    The BL-part of kickstart is to provide this textfile. And this is generated, as Fred (hi Fred ) said in his first posting, from the data you enter in the different tabs or areas of the SystemPackage.


                    Can someone please confirm (or deny...) this thoughts about what kickstart essentially is?

                    • 7. Re: Linux provisioning and kickstart
                      Bill Robinson

                      Kickstart does deal w/ tftp and pxe.  To use kickstart w/ network boot w/o Bladelogic you need:


                      A dhcp server w/ some options set, notably filename and next-server.  Those 2 options tell the pxe-enabled nic on your target where to pull the tftp image from.  Typically the admin will setup a simple text menu so you can choose what install to begin, or if it will be non-interactive, there will be a file in tftproot/pxelinux.cfg named like the hex of the hostid, or the mac that contains what kickstart file to use, how to get to it, and other boot-time kernel options to be used during the run of the installation.


                      If you boot from the redhat dvd, there's a text menu that pops up briefly.  You can add kernel boot options here - so you could add something like:

                      Ks=http://server/blah.cfg  which would tell anaconda (rh installer) to us the kickstart file from http:// whatever.  That's stuff that you could put on your tftp server in the scenario above.


                      Blade does 2 things:

                      It generates the files for tftp/pxe boot - to tell the target what boot images to use - eg the anaconda installer images for redhat and it generates the kickstart file.