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Installing Image on Linux server through network


We have Linux server scattered all across N. America and everytime there is a corruption on OS, we have to send a new server to distance location to replace the corrupted one. I was wondering is there any way to install new images ( using acronis or ghost) to these servers remotly or from central server without having to install the image here in HO and then send the server out to remote location. Its just adds to logestics cost becuase there servers are dell power edge 1850 and they cost lo of money to ship.

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  • khurramm Sep 17, 2008

    Oh great news, the linux distribution we are using is RedHat Enterprise
    3. I have no expreinece in writing kickstart but i am curious. Is it
    like a batch file?

    thanks for your reply


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If you're using any any flavor of redhat (RHEL, CentOS, Fedora), this can be easily done using kickstart. It's a preconfiguration utility to allow a user to simply type a single one line command after booting from a cd, and completely install a whole server remotely. Comment back with your linux distro, and maybe I can give more specific details.

Posted on Sep 17, 2008

  • Steven Parker
    Steven Parker Sep 17, 2008

    It's similar to a batch file, except it has a very specific syntax it's expecting. I've written quite a fdw for network deployment when I was a junior administrator for Cal State San Bernardino. Here's an example script here you can see. There is a tool that's distributed with RHEL3 to create a custom kickstart. Then, to use the kickstart, you need to boot the server and enter the following command:
    linux ks
    Enter your url of the kickstart file of course. At install, it will ask you to assign an IP via static or dhcp, then it will use that ip to fetch the kickstart file. It will then instruct the linux install on how to install to the server.
    You'll notice a section called post at the end. This is a simple shell script-style command list. It can include almost any legal shell command in the file. It's a great time to setup things like httpd, or samba. You can even fetch custom config files in the post section, so at first boot it's completely setup. For example, in the post section, include a line that looks like this:
    cd /etc
    tar zxvf httpd.conf.tar.gz
    And it will download all the apache config files, and put them in place before the firstboot even happens.
    You can also specify a remote system to pull the install files from, so at install you are pulling all the latest rpm's instead of the stale ones from the cd. However, this can go rather slow depending on the internet connection and the packages selected.
    Of course, I can offer premium assistance on this. I own a small computer consulting firm which is listed here on fixya called In Home Tech Support. (909) 724-4498. We setup and maintain a number linux installs all over the country.


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