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Chapter 13. Setting Up an Installation Server

13.1. Setting Up cobbler
13.2. Setting Up the Distribution
13.3. Mirroring a Network Location
13.4. Importing the Distribution
13.5. Manually configure a PXE server
13.5.1. Setting up the Network Server
13.5.2. PXE Boot Configuration
13.5.3. Starting the tftp Server
13.5.4. Adding a Custom Boot Message
13.5.5. Performing the PXE Installation

Experience Required

This appendix is intended for users with previous Linux experience. If you are a new user, you may want to install using minimal boot media or the distribution DVD instead.


The instructions in this appendix configures an automated install server. The default configuration includes destruction of all existing data on all disks for hosts that install using this method. This is often different from other network install server configurations which may provide for an interactive installation experience.
Fedora allows for installation over a network using the NFS, FTP, or HTTP protocols. A network installation can be started from a boot CD-ROM, a bootable flash memory drive, or by using the repo= boot option with the Fedora DVD. Alternatively, if the system to be installed contains a network interface card (NIC) with Pre-Execution Environment (PXE) support, it can be configured to boot from files on another networked system rather than local media such as a DVD.
For a PXE network installation, the client's NIC with PXE support sends out a broadcast request for DHCP information. The DHCP server provides the client with an IP address, other network information such as name server, the IP address or hostname of the tftp server (which provides the files necessary to start the installation program), and the location of the files on the tftp server. This is possible because of PXELINUX, which is part of the syslinux package.
In the past, administrators needed to perform a great deal of manual configuration to produce an installation server. However, if you have a server running Fedora or a similar operating system on your local network, you can use cobbler to perform these tasks. To configure a PXE server manually, see Section 13.5, “Manually configure a PXE server”.
To perform the tasks in this section, switch to the root account with the command su -. As an alternative, you can run a command with the -c option, using the form su -c 'command'.

13.1. Setting Up cobbler

To install cobbler use the following command:
yum -y install cobbler
The cobbler command can check its own settings for validity and report the results. Run the following command to check the settings:
cobbler check
Verify SELinux is configured for cobbler:
setsebool -P httpd_can_network_connect_cobbler 1
Other SELinux booleans may apply, and can be listed with:
getsebool -a|grep cobbler
Change the settings in the /etc/cobbler/settings file to reflect the IP address information for the server. You must change at least the server and next_server options, although these options may point to the same IP address.
If you are not already running a DHCP server, you should also change the manage_dhcp option to 1. If you are running a DHCP server, configure it according to the instructions found in the syslinux package documentation. For more information, refer to your local files /usr/share/doc/syslinux/syslinux.doc and /usr/share/doc/syslinux/pxelinux.doc.