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Automate RHEL 7 Installation Using ‘Kickstart’
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 (RHEL 7) is a popular operating system used in many enterprise environments. As a system administrator, automating installation process of RHEL 7 can be very beneficial. Automating installation process saves time and reduces risk of human error. Kickstart is a tool that can be used to automate installation process of RHEL 7. In this article, we will look at how to use Kickstart to automate RHEL 7 installations.
What is Kickstart?
Kickstart is a tool used to automate installation process of RHEL 7. With Kickstart, you can create a script that contains all configuration options that you would normally provide during installation process. This script is called a Kickstart file. Kickstart file contains instructions on how installation process should proceed. Kickstart file can be stored on a network server or on removable media such as a USB drive.
Creating a Kickstart File
To create a Kickstart file, you need to use a text editor. Kickstart file contains various sections, each of which specifies a different aspect of installation process. Here is an example of a Kickstart file −
#version=RHEL7 install text lang en_US.UTF-8 keyboard us network --bootproto=dhcp rootpw --iscrypted $6$wU6tkMPR$sjyLJd0U3qAG4Xp1z4kKHj7VJzI6SBo8AmR.MjKtbC7Jn0ZoezG9/wgW5l2RYKj5iGPEu72mjV5W.jYABgs7V1 firewall --disabled selinux --disabled timezone America/Los_Angeles bootloader --location=mbr --driveorder=sda --append="console=tty0 console=ttyS0,115200" autopart --type=lvm clearpart --all --drives=sda part /boot --fstype=ext4 --size=500 part pv.01 --size=1 --grow --ondisk=sda volgroup vg01 pv.01 logvol / --fstype=ext4 --name=lv_root --vgname=vg01 --size=20480 logvol swap --name=lv_swap --vgname=vg01 --size=8192 logvol /var --fstype=ext4 --name=lv_var --vgname=vg01 --size=8192
The first line of file specifies version of RHEL that Kickstart file is intended for. following sections specify different aspects of installation process, such as language, keyboard, network settings, partitioning, and more. Each line in Kickstart file specifies a particular option or setting.
Once you have created your Kickstart file, you need to make it available to installation process. You can do this by placing file on a network server, or by creating a bootable USB drive containing file.
Boot Installation Media
To begin installation process, you need to boot from RHEL 7 installation media. installation media can be a DVD, USB drive, or network boot image.
Once installation media has booted, you will see initial installation screen. Press Tab key to edit boot options. You can use boot options to specify location of Kickstart file. Here is an example of how to specify location of a Kickstart file on a network server −
In this example, `http://server.example.com/ks.cfgis location of Kickstart file on a network server. Replaceserver.example.com` with hostname or IP address of your server.
If you are using a USB drive to store Kickstart file, you can specify location of file using a similar syntax −
In this example, /dev/sdb1 is location of Kickstart file on USB drive. Replace this with actual location of your Kickstart file.
Automating Installation Process
Once you have specified location of Kickstart file, installation process will begin automatically. Kickstart file will be read and installation process will proceed according to instructions in file.
During installation process, you may be prompted to enter certain information, such as root password or network settings. However, most of installation process will be automated.
Using a Kickstart file can greatly simplify installation process. Instead of manually entering configuration options, you can simply provide a Kickstart file that contains all necessary options. This saves time and reduces risk of human error.
Customizing Kickstart File
You can customize Kickstart file to suit your needs. Here are some examples of how you can customize file −
Specify Packages to be Installed
You can specify which packages should be installed during installation process. This can be useful if you want to install only packages that you need.
Set up Partitions
You can specify how disk should be partitioned during installation process. This can be useful if you want to set up a specific partitioning scheme.
Configure Network Settings
You can specify network settings for system during installation process. This can be useful if you want to set up a specific network configuration.
Set up User Accounts
You can specify user accounts that should be created during installation process. This can be useful if you want to set up a specific user environment.
Automating installation process of RHEL 7 using Kickstart can save time and reduce risk of human error. With Kickstart, you can create a script that contains all necessary configuration options, and then use this script to automate installation process. By customizing Kickstart file, you can tailor installation process to your specific needs. Whether you are installing RHEL 7 on a single system or on multiple systems, Kickstart can greatly simplify installation process.
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