OS Installation

About

OS Installation module allows to install operating systems on any existing in EasyDCIM physical server with the help of adequate submodules.

OS installation module is equipped with two submodules. These are:

  • Core Provisioning Module
  • NOC-PS Provisioning Module

Server Configuration

In order to configure a new server, simply press Add a Server.

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Type in the following data into the form:

  • Server Name – your server name
  • Module to Use – select module you are going to use
  • Use in Locations – select locations which will use this server. Please remember that for one location only one server can be available but one server can be available for more locations. For example, devices located in New York will be automatically managed by a server using Core Provisioning Module, whereas devices located in London will be managed by a server using NOC-PS Provisioning Module.

Once the data are filled out, press Add Server to continue. Next, in actions column, find and press edit option of the server.

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Core Provisioning Module

This built-in module enables the automation of installation and configuration processes of operating systems on dedicated servers. It is available from the 1.5 version of EasyDCIM.

Requirements

  • EasyDCIM has to be launched on a server that has a direct access to the Internet. It is required so as to automatically download the necessary operating system installation files during the process of dedicated server provisioning. Proxy servers are not supported.
  • No other DHCP servers can be active in the VLAN network of the EasyDCIM server.
  • Dedicated servers on which you want to install the operating system have to be located in the same VLAN network as EasyDCIM.
  • You can also configure the router to redirect DHCP broadcasts to another server (in this case the EasyDCIM server Routing and Bridging Guide
  • Dedicated servers have to support the Preboot Execution Environment feature (PXE).
  • A connection to SSH from the EasyDCIM level has to be established.
  • The device in EasyDCIM requires a correctly set ‘MAC Address’ field in order to identify the device in the network.

Operating principle

The installer operates on the basis of ISC-DHCP server and TFTP server. A DHCP server is an essential component of PXE technology, as it needs to assign the IP address to the machine that is loading the PXE boot, as well as provide information about how the boot loader file is named and where it can be downloaded from. Even if static IP addresses are used in the current local network, it will still be necessary to use this server. The TFTP server contains necessary files of network boot loaders.

During the installation of an operating system EasyDCIM automatically performs a number of specific actions:

  1. EasyDCIM generates the configuration file of the DHCP server based on the ‘MAC Address’ field of the device.
  2. Then it restarts the device using IPMI, PDU or a manual method and puts it into the PXE boot mode.
  3. Once the PXE boot mode is on, the device sends a request to the DHCP server to assign the IP address set in the EasyDCIM ‘IP Address’ field.
  4. The DHCP server assigns the appropriate IP address.
  5. EasyDCIM downloads the relevant boot loader file from the TFTP server and uploads it to the memory of the device.
  6. Based on the uploaded boot loader file, the kickstart file is requested from EasyDCIM containing the configuration of the selected operating system.7. The kickstart file is downloaded from the specified EasyDCIM IP address.
  7. Based on the kickstart file, EasyDCIM automatically installs the operating system:
    • downloads the required system files
    • initiates pre-installation scripts
    • sets the time zone
    • sets the language
    • partitions the disk
    • creates user accounts and sets a root password
    • sets the master IP address
    • sets additional IP addresses and network interfaces
    • installs additional system packages
    • initiates post-installation scripts
    • finishes the installation.
  8. Once the installation is complete, corresponding information is sent to EasyDCIM. This principle of operation applies to most of the installation templates. Some templates may slightly vary, but the fundamentals remain the same.

DHCP server operation

The DHCP server is installed automatically together with the EasyDCIM installation or update. The configuration file is located in the /opt/easydcim/system/etc/dhcpd.conf directory.

It is generated automatically on the basis of the data stored in the admin panel each time:

  • A new subnet is added in the module configuration
  • Module settings are saved
  • The installation process of the operating system starts
  • The installation process of the operating system ends
  • The operating system installation process is removed from the queue.

Here is an example of the dhcpd.conf file:

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Since this file is generated anew every single time one of the above actions is performed, we do not recommend making any changes because they will be automatically lost along during the next generation process.

TFTP server operation

The TFTP server is installed automatically with each EasyDCIM installation or update of. The configuration file is located in the /etc/default/tftpd-hpa directory.

The directory with TFTP files is located in the following path: /opt/easydcim/system/tftpboot. It contains the bootloader files required to start the installation process. Additional configuration of the TFTP server is not required.

Installation templates

The module allows the use of many new installation templates that can be freely cloned and edited according to your needs.

Supported operating systems

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Rescue and utility systems
  • SystemRescueCd 5.2.2 - A Gentoo-based live CD distribution for system repairing and data recovery
  • Memtest86 + 5.01 - Diagnostic tools for verifying the correct RAM operation
  • Hiren’s BootCD 15.2 - A package of special programs for diagnosis, repair, disks, optimization and anti-virus protection
  • Clonezilla 2.5.2-31 - Software designed for creating, playing and cloning computer disks
  • WIPE HARD DRIVE - Hard drive cleanup script

Overview of the module’s sections

Summary

The summary view presents information about the status of individual services and configurations:

  • SSH Connection - connection status between EasyDCIM and SSH server
  • DHCP Server Status
  • TFTP Server Status
  • DHCP Configuration Permissions - permission status for the /opt/easydcim/system/etc/dhcpd.conf file (0777 by default)
  • Cache Directory Permissions - permission status for the / opt / easydcim / system / cache directory (0777 by default)
  • TFTP Directory Permissions - permissions status for the / opt / easydcim / system / tftpboot directory (0777 by default) If one of the configuration settings returns an error, the installation server may not work correctly.

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Subnets

This section displays the list of subnets supported by the DHCP server. Currently, the module supports only IPv4 subnets. If the subnet is in a different VLAN than EasyDCIM, it must be properly configured so that the router uses DHCP transmission and forwards DHCP requests to EasyDCIM. Usually it can be achieved by adding a specific entry to the configuration, e.g. “ip helperaddress 192.168.10.0”, where 192.168.10.0 is the IP address of the EasyDCIM system.

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Support for the IP Address Management

With the help of the ′Enable IPAM Integration′ function, you can establish integration of the IP Address Management module with the installation server. As a result, all parent subnetworks will be imported into the module. The parent subnet is any subnet without its own parent.

Templates

You can easily check the list of supported templates in the ′Installation Templates′ section. The system supports installation templates for operating systems as well as applications.

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Template Matching

The best way to match the template to your needs is to create a copy of the selected template. Owing to this, you will keep the base template. We do not recommend editing basic profiles as well as fields such as:

  • Architecture
  • Edition
  • GPXE Script

As part of the customization of your template, you can freely edit such fields as:

  • Mirror - defines the mirror from which the installation files are downloaded. You can change it to the one matching your country.
  • Disk Layout - defines the partitioning method of the disk. This script depends on the specific distribution of the relational system.
  • Packages - specifies a list of system packages (each in a new line) that will be installed.
  • Pre-Installation Script - specifies the script that will be executed before installing the operating system
  • Post Installation Script - specifies the installation script that will be executed after the installation of the operating system.
  • Timezone - defines the time zone that will be set during the installation of the operating system
  • Language - defines the language that will be set when the operating system is installed.

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Templates Cache

When you use the template for the first time during the server provisioning process, the required system installation files are downloaded. In order not to download them during each new installation, they will be stored in appropriate catalogs. Each template has its own folder into which the installation files are downloaded. These directories are located in the following path: /opt/easydcim/system /cache. The cache directory of the template can be freely cleaned using the ‘Clear Cache’ mechanism.

Provisioning Status

This section displays all operating system installations that are currently launched. Here you will also find details about the device, selected installation template as well as the latest information on the status of the installation. Notifications on the current status of the installation are updated on an ongoing basis using the appropriate scripts. You can freely delete tasks that have been started. Please keep in mind however that if you remove the installation task when the installation is in progress, the installation will be automatically interrupted, without the possibility to resume it. Once the installation is completed, each task is automatically transferred to the ′Provisioning History′ section.

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Provisioning History

Here you can preview all operating system installation tasks that have been started and completed (whether successfully or not). You can also verify the logs that were generated during the installation of the operating system within each entry.

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Settings

The module settings are globally applied to all operating system installations.

  • Reboot Method - device restart method
    • Manual - manual restart of the device by an administrator
    • IPMI - device restart using IPMI and automatically entering the PXE mode
    • IPMI (no PXE) - device restart using the IPMI protocol without entering the PXE mode
    • PDU - reset of PDU outlet assigned to the device (for APC and Raritan devices)
  • Send Email Info To Administrator - sending information about the start and end of the installation to the email address of the selected administrator
  • Notification Recipients - selection of e-mail addresses to which information about the start and end of the installation shall be sent
  • Send Email Info To Client - sending information about the start and end of the installation to the email address of the client (owner) of the given server
  • Reinstall Template - selection of the template which will be used for reinstallation, during e.g. service termination
  • Nameserver 1 - the first default name server
  • Nameserver 2 - the second default name server
  • Bootloader - the default boot file

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Basic module configuration

The operating system installation module needs minimal configuration, depending on the network environment in which it is launched. You can check the requirements for running the module on your network infrastructure in the appropriate section.

First, make sure the module is working properly. This can be determined using the ′Configuration Verification′ widget that presents information about the status of individual services and configurations

Configuration of supported subnets

In the next step, go to the ′Subnets′ section and configure the appropriate subnets within which the DHCP server will run. Please note that the DHCP server requires at least one subnet for its NIC interface in the system. For example, our EasyDCIM (that is the DHCP server) works on the enp0s8 interface with the IP address 192.168.56.2. Therefore, you must add a subnet in the ′Subnets′ section corresponding to this address, e.g. 192.168.56.0/24.

Standard Configuration

The basic configuration involves adding at least one subnet for your NIC interface. The DHCP server can house an unlimited number of subnets and currently it provides support for IPv4.

Integration with the IPAM Module

Integration with the IPAM module replaces the basic configuration of the subnet. To enable this integration, use the ‘Enable IPAM Integration’ button. Then, all parent IPv4 subnets (subnetworks without a parent) will be automatically imported into the OS Installation module. Any changes that will be made within a given subnetwork will be applied in both the IP Address Management module and DHCP server configuration.

Installation templates

Templates should be synchronized using the ‘Templates Synchronization’ button from the action menu. If you do not want to adjust the template to our needs, simply skip this process and move on to the next stages of configuration.

Device summary view

Each installation module is assigned to the appropriate location in the system. For example, if the installation module works for the ‘New York’ site, then all devices in the system that are assigned to the ‘New York’ site will be supported by this installation module.

Operating system installation

To start operating system installation, choose the ‘Re-Install OS’ option from the action menu. In the configuration fields specify the following:

  • OS template - decide which OS instillation template to use (it can be an operating system or a diagnostic tool)
  • Hostname - the hostname value is automatically downloaded from the device’s Hostname metadata and can be freely changed. This will be the hostname of the operating system that will be installed on the target server.
  • Username - the username value is automatically downloaded from the SSH username of the device and can be freely changed. This will be the name of a standard user of the operating system that will be installed on the target server.
  • Password - the password value is automatically downloaded from the device’s SSH Password metadata and can be freely changed. This will be the password of a standard user of the operating system that will be installed on the target server.
  • Root Password - the root password value is automatically downloaded from the SSH Root Password of the device and can be freely changed. This will be the root password of the operating system that will be installed on the target server.

The installation will start soon after clicking on the ′Save Changes′ button.

Device configuration

By default, each device uses the global settings of the installation module. However, you can easily adjust the configuration to a particular device. To change the configuration, select ‘Configuration’ from the action menu and specify the following in the configuration fields:

  • Gateway - the default gateway that will be used in the configuration of network interfaces on the target server
  • Netmask - subnet mask that will be used in the configuration of network interfaces on the target server
  • Nameserver 1 - the first name server (if empty, this value will be taken from the global settings of the installation module)
  • Nameserver 2 - the second name server (if empty, this value will be taken from the global settings of the installation module)
  • Reboot Method - a device restart method downloaded by default from the global settings of the installation module
  • Bootloader - a startup file downloaded by default from the global settings of the installation module
Network interfaces

The installer automatically configures network interfaces based on the following variables:

Basic configuration (for IPv4)
  • Parent IP address - downloaded always from the metadata of IP Address of the given server
  • Additional IP Addresses - downloaded always from the metadata of Additional IP
  • Addresses of the given server
  • Netmask - taken from device settings (8.3.2 Device Configuration)
  • Gateway - taken from device settings (8.3.2 Device Configuration)
  • Nameserver 1 - downloaded from device settings (8.3.2 Device Configuration)
  • Nameserver 2 - downloaded from device settings (8.3.2 Device Configuration)
Configuration while the integration with the IPAM module (for IPv4) is enabled
  • Parent IP address - downloaded always from the metadata of IP Address of the given server
  • Additional IP addresses - downloaded always from the metadata of Additional IP Addresses of the given server
  • Netmask - taken from the subnet settings in the IPAM module. For example, if the metadata value of IP Address is 192.168.56.3, the system will automatically search for the subnet assigned to this device which contains the specified IP address in the IPAM module. If such a subnet is found, the appropriate Netmask value will be set based on this subnet.
  • Gateway - downloaded from the subnet settings in the IPAM module. For example, if the metadata value of IP Address is 192.168.56.3, the system will automatically search for the subnet assigned to this device which contains the specified IP address in the IPAM module. If such a subnet is found, the appropriate Gateway value will be set based on this subnet.
  • Nameserver 1 - downloaded from the subnet settings in the IPAM module. For example, if the metadata value of IP Address is 192.168.56.3, the system will automatically search for the subnet assigned to this device which contains the specified IP address in the IPAM module. If such a subnet is found, the appropriate Nameserver1 value will be set based on this subnet.
  • Nameserver 2 - downloaded from the subnet settings in the IPAM module. For example, if the metadata value of IP Address is 192.168.56.3, the system will automatically search for the subnet assigned to this device which contains the specified IP address in the IPAM module. If such a subnet is found, the appropriate Nameserver 2 value will be set based on this subnet.

NOC-PS Provisioning Module

Configuration Options

There are six predefined configuration options, take a look at them below:

  • Hostname – hostname or IP address where NOC-PS instance is available
  • NOC-PS Username – user name used to authenticate NOC-PS with API
  • NOC-PS User Password – user password used to authenticate with API
  • SSL Connection – set connection with API via SSL
  • Send notifications to – select administrator who will receive notifications from the server, by default the notifications are delivered to the first admin in the system
  • Send Email Info to client - send information to the client about the status of the operating system installation

When ready, press Test Connection to confirm it is successful.

System Installation Procedure

System installation can be run either automatically or manually.

Manual Installation

To start manual installation, proceed to the device summary where you want to install the OS on, then press Re-Install OS button under OS Installation & Configuration.

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Then, set up the configuration on the basis of which OS installation process will be performed:

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When the data are provided, press save changes button. Only then the installation process will begin.

Automatic Installation

Automatic installation on a given device is run the moment of order acceptance in the system. Read about ordering process Provisioning Flow and Accepting Order

The process itself looks the same in case of both manual and automatic installation:

  1. Download an appropriate OS template from the configuration
  2. Download username and password values for the operating system
  3. Use IP address to find appropriate device in the NOC-PS instance. The device must be previously added to NOC-PS. In case your system cannot find a device with the specified IP, the adequate notification is displayed and installation process is stopped.
  4. NOC-PS module begins the installation of operating system.
  5. EasyDCIM, using IPMI protocol, will attempt to run the following actions: chassis bootdev pxe and chassis power cycle
  6. If the beginning status is marked as success, then data from the previous configuration will be assigned to the device in your EasyDCIM:

    • SSH Username
    • SSH Password
    • SSH Root Passord
    • OS - template
  7. EasyDCIM will attempt to send an email informing about just started installation process to:

    • the first administrator or administrator that has been set up in the NOC-PS server configuration in EasyDCIM
    • if Send Email Info to client option has been selected, there will be an attempt to deliver the message to the client who is assigned as owner of the server in EayDCIM
  8. In case of failure in sending the messages, the process will be stopped and appropriate information will be displayed

  9. When the installation is finished EasyDCIM will attempt to send an email informing about a completed installation process to:

    • the first administrator or administrator that has been set up in the NOC-PS server configuration in EasyDCIM
    • if Send email Info to client option has been selected, there will be an attempt to deliver the message to the client who is assigned as owner of the server in EayDCIM

OS Templates

The module allows easy management of system templates. Templates are distinguished in the system via their name and a numeric value.

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If you are using NOC-PS Provisioning module, then you are allowed to automatically download templates from the NOC-PS instance to your EasyDCIM system. To do so, move to the server summary and find templates synchronization button in Actions column.

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Templates can be also added manually, still you must remember that templates names and their IDs in case of NOC-PS module must be exactly the same in the EasyDCIM instance and in NOC-PS instance.