Creating an Installation Server

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 offers an integrated utility in YaST to create an installation server. You can access this module by selecting Miscellaneous > Installation Server. The installation server will offer its services across the network using three kinds of protocols: HTTP, FTP, and NFS.

Since the NFS option offers the best performance, in this section you will learn how to create an NFS installation server. The installation procedure consists of two steps: in the first step, you add the files that must be used by the installation server from CD or ISO images, and in the second step you configure a network protocol to access these files. Once you have created an installation server in this way, you can boot a node from installation CD 1, select the network installation type, and copy files from the installation server. The following are the steps you need to accomplish:

1. From YaST, navigate to Miscellaneous > Installation Server. This opens the interface to configure the installation server shown in Figure 35-1.

Figure 35-1. You configure the installation server using YaST's Miscellaneous tab.

2. On the screen shown in Figure 35-1, you need to specify several options. First, you need to tell the installation program what protocol to use. You can choose from HTTP, FTP, and NFS. If the protocol you choose as the source type is already active (for example, if you already have an NFS server that's operational), select Do Not Configure Any Network Services. Next, click Select Directory to specify where you want to put the installation source files. Choose a name that is clear and descriptive, such as SLES10. Then click Next to continue.

3. Now you need to configure the network protocol that gives access to the installation server. In Figure 35-2 you can see what it looks like for an NFS installation server. The default settings are fine; you could, however, add some security by not allowing just any host to access the installation server. For example, use for the Host Wild Card setting to give access to all hosts that have an IP address that starts with 192.168.1. After entering all the configuration parameters for the network protocol, click Next to continue.

Figure 35-2. After specifying what protocol you want to use, you need to configure the network service that gives access to that protocol.

4. Now you'll see the Installation Server screen, as shown in Figure 35-3. On this screen, you need to add the installation sources. To do this, click Add. You don't need the Server Configuration button, which brings you back to the screen where you configured the network protocol.

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Figure 35-3. Click Add to add an installation server.

Figure 35-3. Click Add to add an installation server.

5. On the Source Configuration screen shown in Figure 35-4, you need to enter the source name. This is the name of the directory to where the installation files for your server are copied. Choose a name that is easy to recognize, such as SLES10. You can also select the Announce As Installation Service with SLP option. When using this option, the installation program uses SLP to locate the available installation servers. This is a useful option, because if it is used, you don't need to specify the exact location of the installation files.

Figure 35-4. The source name is the name of the subdirectory that is created for the installation files.

6. Now you need to specify from where to read the installation files (see Figure 35-5). Choose Read CD or DVD Medium if you have a physical disk to install from, and select Use ISO Images if you want to copy the files from ISO images. In the latter case, you need to specify from what directory to copy the ISO files.

Note Need to copy the ISO files from one server to another? Of course you can use scp as described in Chapter 18 of this book. But you can also just tar a complete directory and use a pipe to netcat to send the output to another host. If, for example, the installation files are located on the server host1 in the directory isos and you want to copy them to the directory isos on the server labeled host2, first make sure that on both hosts /isos is your current directory.Then on host1,use tar cv . | netcat host2 2200 to start the tar command and redirect its output to netcat on port 2200. Netcat will make sure the files are sent to this host on port 2200. Next, make sure that when the files are arriving netcat is waiting on host2 by issuing the command netcat -l -p 2200 | tar xv. When the tar command has finished, all files will have been copied to your server. As an alternative, you could also create a central ISO vault on one of your servers and access that through NFS or Samba.

7. After selecting the installation source, click Next. You will now be prompted to provide the first installation medium. Do this, and then click OK.

8. After copying all the installation files, click Next to finalize the procedure.

Figure 35-5. Next select the installation medium from which you want to copy the files.

Now that you have successfully created the NFS installation server, you can boot the server you want to install from a CD (or DVD, although in that case it doesn't make much sense to use an installation server).

Now press the F4 key, and choose NFS for the installation source (see Figure 35-6). Then enter the IP address of the NFS server and the name of the shared directory on that server, and click OK. If your installation server is SLP enabled, you can select SLP as well. After the initial installation program loads from the CD you have mounted, you will contact the NFS server to load all the other installation files. Proceed with the normal installation procedure.

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