[CentOS] Network installation from CD

Sun Sep 28 20:59:25 UTC 2008
Dag Wieers <dag at wieers.com>


In a corporate environment we are not allowed to use DHCP/PXE for doing network 
installations. This means we have to look for other solutions. Our solution is 
to use an ISO image (mounted via a KVM solution) to kick off the network 

A big problem currently is that the order of the network interfaces is 
arbitrary (depends on the order of the drivers loaded) and is not influence by 
the order of the PCI slots. So in our case we have a bunch of e1000, bnx2 and 
tg3 in systems we have to install.

The first onboard interface (usually tg3 or bnx2) almost never is eth0, but 
instead can be eth2, eth3 or higher. (Depending on the number of "other" NICs) 
This is problematic because Anaconda never gives a very good analysis of why 
the download of the kickstart fails. Very unpleasant if you want system 
deployements done by Service Operations.

So our solution was to provide  ksdevice=MAC-ADDRESS , which works fine in the 
first phase for downloading the kickstart file, but then the kickstart file 
again has a network-directive with a  --device=  parameter to configure 
the network again in the second phase.

Here is where the trouble starts.

The  --device=  cannot handle MAC addresses, in other words if we ommit 
the  --device=  parameter we get a list of interfaces, which we do not 
want because the list does not indicate which one is the right interface.

Using  ksdevice=bootif  and providing  BOOTIF=MAC-ADDRESS  on the commandline 
does not help either because the second phase always wants to reconfigure the 

In fact we don't want the second phase to reconfigure the network, we want it 
to keep the working network configuration from the first phase which 
worked fine for downloading the kickstart file.

So here's my question:

    Is there a way to have the second phase network configuration NOT take
    place, or have it use the interface that was correctly downloading the
    kickstart file ?

I could not find it anywhere and none of my tests seem to indicate that this is 
at all possible.

This is on RHEL/CentOS 4.6.

--   dag wieers,  dag at wieers.com,  http://dag.wieers.com/   --
[Any errors in spelling, tact or fact are transmission errors]

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