[CentOS] best practice: how to setup a central "network installation server"?

Toby Bluhm tkb at alltechmedusa.com
Thu Feb 18 14:58:35 UTC 2010

On 2/18/2010 8:49 AM, Les Mikesell wrote:
> Rudi Ahlers wrote:
>> Hi,
>> I want to setup a central installation server, but haven't done this
>> before, so I want to find out what would be best practices for this?
>> The server I have already runs as a central repo, which is updated from
>> one or our local centos mirrors, and the other CentOS servers (both i386
>> &  x64), as well as CentOS VPS's get their updates from this server.
>> But, now I want to allow a client to perform a quick network
>> installation, using either a netbood CD, or preferably with the server's
>> network bootrom. I understand this can be done with bootp, or am I on
>> the wrong track?
>> the server is a general file server and also acts as our in-office
>> internet gateway, and has Webmin installed for convenience sake. I don't
>> know if this is of any use?
>> Generally we would be (re)installing CentOS servers&  desktops, but I
>> guess it could be useful for other distro's like Fedora Core / Debian /
>> FreeBSD? / etc. What would be a good option to go for, or could someone
>> point me to a good documentation? Doing a google search I found a lot of
>> instructions on how to perform a network installation on the client
>> PC's, but not how to configure the server. Maybe I used the wrong key words?
> If you want to do disk cloning (any OS, including windows) or PXE boot into a
> running, look at drbl and clonezilla http://drbl.sourceforge.net/.  You can find
> a yum repository for Centos in the list at http://drbl.sourceforge.net/one4all/.
> It has a menu configuration that I think can be made to boot into an installer
> but I've never used it that way since our machines are mostly identical and a
> lot of them are windows based.


This is how I have it setup. Reboot any PC, hit F12, PXE boot a menu of 
selections: Clonezilla backup/restore, Centos5 install/rescue, DBAN, 
memtest, systemrescuecd, etc.

WARNING - drbl/clonezilla server should probably be tested/installed on 
a standalone test box as it likes to overwrite several conf's. Also, if 
you have a mix of 32bit & 64bit client hardware, use a 32bit server. 
Your 32bit machines will work & you can still PXE boot into 64bit stuff.


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