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

Les Mikesell lesmikesell at gmail.com
Thu Feb 18 15:41:54 UTC 2010

On 2/18/2010 8:58 AM, Toby Bluhm wrote:
>>> 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.
> +1
> 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.

That's going to be true of any installation that involves your DHCP 
server since you typically have only one and it has to be set up 
specifically for your subnets.  For the moment at least, we run drbl in 
a lab setting using its DHCP/PXE booting only on a separate subnet that 
we use for cloning.  If we want access to the images from other networks 
we use a CD or USB boot to clonezilla and connect to the other interface 
on the server.  If I did that more often, I'd probably set up the drbl 
box to handle all dhcp or configure the main dhcp server to have the 
same booting options.

   Les Mikesell
    lesmikesell at gmail.com

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