Friday, July 10, 2009

New Jumpstart Server Build

Yesterday I received a call that one of our remote offices was having serious network issues in the classrooms. We did some basic troubleshooting and determined the cause of the problem was the jumpstart server. The jumpstart server is used to 'jump' the classroom systems to a fresh build for the next class. It also acts as a DHCP server and a NAT router for all of the classrooms to route to the internet.

For a temporary fix, we grabbed an unused system from a classroom with solaris 10 on it and tossed it in place of the jumpstart server. We re-ip'd it to have the same IP as the old box that sat there (this prevents reconfiguration of the individual systems) and followed the steps in the following article to get it routing traffic.

Today, I am tasked with building a replacement for that box. The new paradigm that we are using here a GCA for the jumpstart servers is to make a linux host, then use VMware to virtualize the jumpstart server. All seven of our offices have a standard build for the classrooms. The classroom network is flat, then routes through a classserver (jumpstart server), which resides in the DMZ, and it will be forwarded out to the internet. Pretty simple setup.

The new server I am building is going to be using CentOS for the host OS, VMware server 2.0.1, and the Solaris 10 jumpstart server. The implementation we are using allows for us to be very flexible because every jumpstart server VM is exactly the same. The only modification we need to make for the host OS is to change the IP of the DMZ facing interface to the subnet of that office's DMZ.

The only difference we are doing on the new implementation is that we are not going to use the jumpstart server for routing, we are going to use CentOS. Instructors are allowed to login to the jumpstart servers to do bundles and move systems around, but that is not necessary on the CentOS stuff, because that should never change. I will use sudo and couple scripts to implement a way that the instructors can shutdown/reboot the CentOS box as well as start/shutdown/reboot the jumpstart server. These scripts are pretty cool and good to know about.

Stayed tuned for more info on iptables, vmware scripts, etc as I write and implement them. I probably will not get this done today as I am still waiting for CentOS to download.

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