Fedora Server interactive local installation

Author: Peter Boy (pboy) | Creation Date:2022-05-10 | Last update: n/a | Related Fedora Version(s): 35,36

This is the default method for manually installing Fedora if console access is available. The graphical interface is designed with the goal of making the installation as simple and speedy as possible. It is intended to facilitate the work of the system administrator by preassigning as many installation options as possible after analyzing the hardware.

With all preparations and installation plans complete, insert the prepared installation medium and boot the server. After some time you get the boot menu screen (on a bios boot machine it looks slightly different).

The boot screen

The second option, Test this media & install Fedora Server, is selected as default. Before the first usage, testing the installation media is strongly recommended. Subsequent installations can dispense with this and select the first option.

After a successful test, the routine automatically starts Anaconda, the actual installation program.

First, the program asks for the language selection and keyboard layout during the installation phase. Both are also adopted as default settings for the system to be installed. You can adjust it in the next step.

Anaconda then presents an installation overview that lists all possible customization options.

Anaconda Installation Summary

Basically, any Anaconda installation follows the general local graphical installation process, as described in the Fedora’s overall Installation Guide.

Server installation steps

In the case of a standard DVD installation with a functional public network connection, only 3 items are marked as requiring mandatory processing by a system administrator:

  • Installation Destination, i.e. the storage

  • the Root Account

  • User Creation

In case of a network installation, a fourth item is marked:

  • Installation Source

Anaconda does not allow the installation to begin until all open items have been processed. The Begin Installation button is grayed out until then.

Non-US users should specifically check the keyboard layout. Selecting this item opens a form where you can set the keyboard layout, even several ones and their order. A change immediately affects the installer as well.

Otherwise, check each of the preset items. Time & Date in particular is at risk of being forgotten.

Installation Source

Select the item and edit the form as described in the corresponding Fedora’s overall Installation Guide.

By default, installation source is local medium, which doesn’t work for a network install. Select Network. Its default is Mirror List. Anaconda searches an appropriate mirror and comes up with everything repository. In this case, everything repository causes no issues, because the system uses the anaconda configuration of the server medium booted from. So it gets the correct default configuration.

When everything repo is active, the "Software Selection" item becomes active, and you have to select "Fedora Server Edition".

Alternatively, you may manually select a server repository directly.

Installation Destination

Anaconda Installation Destination

In any case. select one (or more) disks on the system to be installed that are to be included in the Server installation. Additionally, you can include e.g. SAN or other network drives into the installation right here. This will save you later some administration work. We don’t get further into this here, allthough.

If the storage organization is to follow the rationale recommended by Fedora, only the hard disk and the Automatic Storage Configuration (which is already preselected) need be selected. No further steps are required. Select Done in the upper bar and you are 'done'. You get a partitioning as described in the Server installation introduction.

Custom storage organization

Select Custom Storage Configuration instead of Automatic and select Done int the upper bar. Anaconda will take you to the Manual Partitioning form.

Anaconda Manual Partitioning form

By clicking onto the + sign you can add partitions according to your storage concept.

Raid configuration

If there is more than one disk available, the default partitioning creates, on each of the other disks, one big partition with a Physical Volume (PV) and adds it to the VG.

On a server, this is usually not optimal. Rather, several disks should store data redundantly in order to maintain operation in the event of a hardware failure. Configuring a RAID system is one such solution. For details see the Creating Software RAID section of the Installation Guide. NOTE: both of these links are to the Fedora 35 version of the docs. Please confirm your are using that version or find the same docs for your version.

Manual partitioning is necessary for RAID setup. Select "Installation Destination" in the Summary Screen, the options "Custom" and "Advanced Custom (Blivet-GUI)" both enable manual partitioning.

On BIOS boot machines and hard disks with a maximum of 2 TB, select the comfortable "Custom" option.

  • If any exist, delete any partitions (use the '-' sign at the bottom of the left box).

  • Add a Partition, select a mount point (e.g. /boot), type changes from default LVM to standard, select size 1 Gib.

  • After creation modify the partition type to RAID.

  • Anaconda later detects the raid configuration of /boot and installs the MBR on each included disk. If the first disk fails it can boot using the other one.

  • Add additional RAID partitions as needed.

Hard disks larger than 2 TB require a GPT disk label and an additional BIOSboot partition. The Custom option can’t handle this in a RAID configuration. You have to choose the 'Advanced custom' option.

Networking

By default the installation program creates a DHCP configuration for each network interface. In the case of an active connection it is automatically started during boot.

In case of servers it is often preferable to configure a static IP address. This ensures a valid network connection at system start even if the DHCP server is defective. Select the network interface, activate the IPv4 or IPv6 tab. Switch from "Automatic (DHCP)" to "Manual" and add an IP specification.

Post Fedora 32, NetworkManager stores the configuration in /etc/NetworkManager/connected_systems/*.network

Creating users

At first you have to decide about the root account. By default root account is disabled and nobody can login as root. Secure root access via ssh key file is an option and, in an emergency, access with a password via an attached console or Cockpit login.

If you decide to be able to login as root, select root account and activate it and enter an appropriate password in the upcomming form. For security reasons, ssh login as root is only allowed with key-file by default. It is not advisable to modify these security setting!

In any case, create a (non-privileged) user account, maybe a generic for fallback use (e.g. hostmin) with password authentication active and administrative privilege (group wheel). Unless you decide against good security praxis to allow root access using password, this is the only way to get administrative access to the server right after installation and even later, too.

Time zone and time synchronization

For the operation of a server, a crucial condition is to ensure the correct time setting. As a very simple example, you need to find a specific event in the log files. Therefore, the correct settings for date and time are of utmost importance.

On the "Installation Summary" page select "Time & Date" and check time, time zone and activation of time synchronization.

Start Installation

Then, when all settings and configurations fit, select Begin Installation and lean back (or get a coffee!). When finished, confirm the option to restart the computer. Log in and follow the post installation suggestions in the Fedora Server Edition System Administration Guide.

These nice people helped write this page:

Peter Boy, Kevin Fenzi, Jan Kuparinen

Want to help? Learn how to contribute to Fedora Docs.