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Deploy Red Hat across multiple computers using Tivoli Provisioning Manager for OS Deployment

Sam Boucot (boucot@verizon.net), Developer and writer, Freelance writer
Author photo
Sam Boucot graduated with a degree in mathematics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1986. He has worked for many years as a database programmer.

Summary:  Any time you have employees, overhead costs are going to be substantial, especially when it comes to new hires. Of the many things new employees need, setting up their computer and its operating system, and installing and configuring appropriate applications is one of the most time-consuming. Tivoli® Provisioning Manager for Operating System Deployment greatly reduces this overhead by allowing you to create and manage deployable images and any associated software packages efficiently through a Web interface. This tutorial shows you how to use Tivoli Provisioning Manager for OS Deployment to create installation images and manage packages for an actual deployment of RedHat Enterprise Linux®.

Date:  22 May 2007
Level:  Intermediate PDF:  A4 and Letter (2310 KB | 42 pages)Get Adobe® Reader®

Comments:  

Create an unattended setup profile

An unattended setup allows you to deploy operating systems on target machines such that when the operating system is being deployed/installed the installation process will not ask any questions. Thus, it does not need to be manually watched, attended, and can complete without user input. This section shows you how to create an unattended setup profile that you'll deploy later.

A word about hardware requirements

Before proceeding, it's crucial to make sure that the hardware onto which you're going to be deploying RedHat Enterprise Linux 4 (RHEL4) is actually compatible with RHEL4. This might seem like a simple task, but it's not. The hardware not only has to work with RHEL4, it has to be configurable by RHEL4.

Pay particular attention to your motherboard and video card, and make sure you check the appropriate Hardware Compatibility List. It's not unusual for a salesman to be less familiar with the requirements of Linux in general, and RHEL4 in particular.

With your hardware in place, it's time to create a new profile.


Creating a new profile

You're going to create a new profile, and then designate it as an unattended setup profile.

  1. Open the Web interface, and then select (in the menu on the left side) OS Deployment > Profiles. Your screen should look like Figure 14.

    Figure 14. The System profiles page
    The System profiles page

  2. Here you can see existing profiles, if any, and options to create new profiles and/or CDs, or import/export from/to RAD. Because you're creating a new unattended setup profile, click New profile. You should see the screen shown in Figure 15.

    Figure 15. Select type of profile
    Select type of profile

  3. Select Unattended setup, which is basically a scripted installation that won't require any user input. Click Next, which brings you to the following screen:

    Figure 16. Select operating system type
    Select operating system type

Because Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 is a Linux OS, select Linux system profile shown in Figure 15. Next, configure more about the Linux system profile you're creating.


Configuring a Linux unattended setup profile

After selecting Linux system profile, you can configure the sizes of the swap, root and boot partitions, as shown in Figure 17.


Figure 17. Allocating hard disk space for partitions
Allocating hard disk space for partitions

This is where familiarity with installing Linux systems comes in handy. If you're not sure what to do, get assistance from your friendly neighborhood Linux administrator. This tutorial uses 1024MB for swap space, 100% disk space for root using the ExtFS file system, and 256MB for the /boot partition. Clicking next brings you to the next screen, as shown in Figure 18.


Figure 18. Where can the Linux CDs be found?
Where can the Linux CDs be found?

By choosing 100% as the root partition size, rather than a specific number of MB, you ensure that the deployment can be successful even if the disk drive is smaller than you anticipated.

The simplest way to provide access to the RHEL4 CDs is to use the CD-ROM drive on the Tivoli Provisioning Manager for OS Deployment server.

  1. Select On your local computer and click Next. You should see the screen shown in Figure 19.

    Figure 19. What drive can the Linux CDs be found in?
    What drive can the Linux CDs be found in?

  2. Enter which drive the Linux CDs can be found in, in this case E:\. In the next section you'll configure the installation with respect to RHEL4.

Configuring RHEL4

  1. After choosing the drive for the Linux CDs, place disk one into your CD drive, and click Next. The system searches the CDs to detect which operating system is contained therein, as shown in Figure 20.

    Figure 20. Searching the CD
    Searching the CD

  2. When Tivoli Provisioning Manager for OS Deployment finds an OS it can deploy, it alerts you, as shown in Figure 21.

    Figure 21. Operating system found
    Operating system found

  3. With the correct operating system found, you can now begin configuring it. The purpose of generating an unattended profile is essentially to answer, up front, any questions the installer would normally ask you in the course of installing the operating system you're going to deploy.

    For example, the first screen, shown in Figure 22, asks you to choose the RHEL4 windowing system.



    Figure 22. Choosing a Windowing system
    Choosing a Windowing system

    Every Linux environment needs a windowing system, and every Linux user has their favorite. For this tutorial KDE has been chosen as the desktop environment.

  4. Click Next to continue, as shown in Figure 23.

    Figure 23. Choosing software packages to install
    Choosing software packages to install

    One advantage to using Tivoli Provisioning Manager for OS Deployment is that you don't have to install absolutely everything -- but you can, if you like. Figure 23 shows available software packages you can add to the installation process.

  5. If you want everything installed, check all the boxes. This tutorial shows a minimal installation.
  6. Click Next to continue, as shown in Figure 24.

    Figure 24. Choosing a time zone
    Choosing a time zone

  7. Select your time zone and the appropriate language, and click Next.
  8. The next screen asks if you want to specify a custom configuration file, which enables you to set specific parameters for the installation. This tutorial doesn't use a custom configuration file, but if you wanted to this is where you would specify its location.
  9. Click Next to continue, as shown in Figure 25.

    Figure 25. Profile description and comment
    Profile description and comment

    In a real system, this profile would likely be one of many, so it's a good idea to make sure that your title is descriptive, or at least that the comment has enough information for you to know what machines and circumstances warrant using this particular profile.

  10. In this case, however, you won't need as much detail, you'll only be generating a single profile. Enter Linux RHEL4 Setup for the description and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 for the comment.

Now you're ready to generate the profile.


Generating the profile

  1. After entering an appropriate description and comment for the profile, click Next.
  2. The next several screens begin the disk image creation process by gathering all of the required packages from the installation CD(s). Eventually you'll see a screen asking for the location of the other packages needed to complete the profile, as shown in Figure 26.

    Figure 26. Insert another disk
    Insert another disk

  3. If the contents of the other CDs are in other disk drives, or mounted elsewhere on your hard drive, you can simply select the other location. It's more likely, though, that you'll have all five RHEL4 CDs. Insert them in succession until the profile is completely created. Depending on the software packages chosen earlier, you might now need all five CDs.
  4. When the profile is complete you'll see the screen shown in Figure 27.

    Figure 27. Unattended setup profile complete!
    Unattended setup profile complete!

  5. When the system has finished generating the profile, go back to the Profiles page. You should see your new profile in the list, as shown in Figure 28.

    Figure 28. Seeing your new profile
    Seeing your new profile

Now you have a profile ready to deploy. You'll see that next.

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