Understanding the Kernel and Its initrd

From a management perspective, loading the kernel and the initrd is not very interesting; if everything is in order, they will just load. The interesting part occurs when they don't load. In that case, you need to do some troubleshooting. If the kernel has always worked, it will usually work this time as well. If, however, you have recently added a new piece of hardware, this may lead to problems. Also, if some vital system component has gone mad, it may lead to the infamous kernel panic.

When loading the kernel, the initial RAM drive must be loaded as well. This initrd is loaded to make sure that all the drivers that are needed to complete the boot procedure are present on your system while booting the kernel. You can probably imagine what happens if the kernel tries to access the hard drive on your server but the module that allows access to this same hard drive currently is not loaded. This is why your system works with an initial RAM drive. In Chapter 26 you will learn much more about the kernel and the initrd and how you can tune them when something is wrong.

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