Installing Linux servers on IBM Systems, Part 2: Installing multiple Linux servers using the NFS-based network installation method

Learn how to install multiple Linux® servers at the same time using network-based installation. In this second article of Harish Chauhan's series, understand how to configure and install using Network File Share (NFS) on System x™ with Red Hat Enterprise Linux Version 4.

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Harish Chauhan (hchauhan@in.ibm.com), Solution Architect, IBM

Photo of Harish ChauhanHarish has been with IBM since 1998 during which he spent five years at the India Research Lab, one year at the IBM T.J.Watson Research Center, and over two years at the Linux Center of Compentence. Harish currently is a Solution Architect with the IBM Global Service Delivery Center.



06 April 2007

Also available in Chinese

Introduction

In this second of two parts on installing Linux server software, you discover the basic configuration and network installation techniques. This article focuses on the Network File Share (NFS)-based installation method, which is common to many IT organizations for installing servers in large numbers. The NFS-based installation method enables administrators to install many instances of a server at the same time, saving time and resources for other work. This article describes the NFS method and how to use it to configure and install your server software.

Before using the techniques described in this article, you can review the material in the first article in this series, Installing Linux servers on IBM Systems, Part 1: Basic Linux server installation and configuration.

Prepare the hardware, software, and setup

Use the following hardware and software to perform the tasks described in this article:

  • IBM System x346 - 02 NOS
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux Version 4.0, Update 4, for the x86 32-bit version

Figure 1 provides a schematic overview of the setup for this installation.

Figure 1. Setup diagram
Setup diagram

Configure NFS services

Start by configuring netra.ibm.com for NFS services by following these steps:

  1. Install Linux on netra.ibm.com as described in Part 1 of the series.
  2. Verify that NFS-related RPMs are installed on your system, as shown in Listing 1. If RPMs are not installed, install them, as shown in Listing 2.
    Listing 1. Check for NFS-related RPMs
      #rpm -qa|grep nfs
      nfs-utils-lib-1.0.6-3
      system-config-nfs-1.2.8-1
      nfs-utils-1.0.6-70.EL4
    Listing 2. Install NFS-related RPMs
      #rpm -ivh nfs-utils-lib* system-config-nfs* nfs-utils*
  3. Verify that NFS service is turned on, as shown in Listing 3. If NFS is not on, turn it on, as shown in Listing 4.
    Listing 3. Check for NFS service status
      #chkconfig --list|grep nfs
      nfs		0:off	  1:off  2:off  3:off	4:off	  5:off  6:off
    Note: 0-6 specifies the Linux initialization modes.

    Listing 4. Turn NFS service on
      #chkconfig --level 35 nfs on
      #chkconfig --list|grep nfs
      nfs		0:off	 1:off   2:off   3:on   4:off    5:on    6:off
    Note: NFS service is set to start automatically in init levels 3 and 5.
  4. Either copy RHEL4 ISO files or copy the contents of all the CDs into a temporary folder, as shown in Listing 5.
    Listing 5. Copy ISO files or CD contents
      #cp *.iso /dump/RHEL4 [if you have ISO files available]
    	  OR
      #cp -R /media/cdrom/*  /dump/RHEL4
  5. Edit the /etc/exports file to include your temporary folder holding RHEL4 ISO images and files, as shown Listing 6.
    Listing 6. Edit /etc/exports
      #vi /etc/exports
      /dump/RHEL4		*(ro,no_root_squash,sync)
  6. Verify that the NFS service is running. If the NFS service is not running, start or restart it, as shown in Listing 7.
    Listing 7. Check, start, and restart NFS service
      #service nfs status
      #service nfs start/restart
  7. Verify that the exported folder is available using the NFS service, as shown in Listing 8.
    Listing 8. Exported folder
      #exportfs -ra  [Refresh Export List]
      #exportfs
      /dump/RHEL4	 world
    	OR
      #showmount -e localhost
      Export list for localhost:
      /dump/RHEL4	*

The NFS server is now configured on netra.ibm.com.


Install the server

Now you are ready to install a new server using the network-based installation method. In this article, the example server is named joy.ibm.com. Follow these steps:

  1. Insert CD #1 or the DVD in the CD-ROM drive, and reboot the new server. You see the screen shown in Figure 1.
  2. Type linux askmethod after boot: (that is, after the boot prompt).
    Figure 1. Boot screen
    Boot screen
  3. The next screen prompts you to choose the language for the installation process, as shown in Figure 2. For this example, select English. After selecting your language, click OK.
    Figure 2. Select language
    Select language
  4. The next screen prompts you to choose the keyboard type so that you get the correct key definitions, as shown in Figure 3. For this example, select us. Click OK.
    Figure 3. Select keyboard
    Select keyboard
  5. The next screen prompts you to choose the installation method, as shown in Figure 4. For this example, choose NFS image. Click OK.
    Figure 4. Select installation method
    Installation method
  6. The next screen prompts you to enter IP details for the server you will install, as shown in Figure 5. For this example, specify the following details:
    • IP address: 192.168.128.102
    • Netmask (also known as subnet mask): 255.255.255.0
    • Default gateway: 192.168.128.254
    After you enter this information, click OK.
    Figure 5. Configure IP details
    Configure IP details
  7. The next screen prompts you to enter NFS server details, as shown in Figure 6. For this example, use the following information:
    • NFS server name: 192.168.128.101
    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux directory (dump location): /dump/RHEL4
    After you enter this information, click OK.
    Figure 6. Configure NFS server details
    Configure NFS server details

Conclusion

And that's it. If everything has gone well, joy.ibm.com should be communicating with netra.ibm.com for all necessary packages. Soon, you should see a GUI panel that prompts you to continue with your regular installation steps as explained in Part 1 of this series. The steps spelled out in these two articles will help make your job administering Linux servers easier, saving you time and trouble so you can focus on more difficult tasks.

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