Monday, July 13, 2009

CentOS NetInstall

The CentOS DVD finished downloading over the weekend. I went ahead and burned it to a DVD and popped it into the Dell PowerEdge 2600 Server and booted it. After it skipped the DVD an booted to the OS already on it, I checked BIOS to see the boot order is CD before HDD. I took a closer look at the drive, its CD only.. DOH!

So, instead of starting the download process all over, which will take another full day of downloading, I've decided that I will go a different route and install CentOS using an NFS mount point from a linux server that has the ISO file mounted on a loopback interface.

The idea behind this is to download a single 8 MB ISO file for the boot CD, then the boot CD can lookup the rest of the installation files from another box over the NFS protocol. First order of business, get NFS Server installed onto my Ubuntu Laptop that I will be using to host out the full distribution. On Ubuntu, this is a pretty simple task.
sudo apt-get install nfs-user-server

When I ran this command, I recieved an error saying "No installable candidate" with a bunch of information about my running kernel. This is just a guess, but I'm going to say that I need to update my Ubuntu laptop, which doesn't get much action, so I haven't updated it in months. So, I went ahead and started the update process which is going to take a while.
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

When this finishes, I'm going to run the nfs-server install command again, then it should just be a simple matter of setting up the NFS mount in /etc/exports file. While waiting I did a little research at the following site to get the syntax for setting up the export.

I've done NFS a few times, so my eyes immediately found the kind of export I am looking to do, it is this line, which is added to /etc/exports. Then I run the command to make the NFS server re-read the config file and make my share available.
sudo exportfs -ra

Now that I have my export, its time to boot from that netinstall CD and point it to my box to start the installation process. Because I am still waiting for my updates to finish, I did some Googling to find somebody who has done this before on CentOS. Here is what I found:

Seems pretty straight forward. The CD boots up, selected default options, DHCP, no IPv6 support (don't need it). Finally, it wants the NFS server name (IP) and the directory (nfs mountpoint with the media). I entered them both and sure enough, I was presented with a CentOS installation wizard. Rest of it is pretty straight forward, I go through the install as if I were using the DVD. Pretty cool stuff.

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