[et-mgmt-tools] Cobbler Live CD -- success!

Michael DeHaan mdehaan at redhat.com
Thu Jul 12 21:36:56 UTC 2007

Aaron Lippold wrote:
> Hello,
> Very cool. So is this outside the Revisor effort or begining results 
> of it?
> Aaron

This is using upstream livecd-creator, not Revisor, which is based on 
livecd-creator.   I do not intend to move to Revisor for this.


That being said, the base.cfg in koan's tree may be compatible with 
Revisor if they want to use it for something -- however there's not much 
need for it being created with a different tool as I can see.   The 
reason for this is that koan only needs the live CD for a temporary 
runtime -- enough to prepare a disk as scratch space for a forthcoming 
running of koan, a reboot, and installation from there via grub and 
anaconda -- just like replace-self works on a existing linux system 
without the Live CD.   livecd-creator already allows us to pull that 
content from repos of our choice -- and we already know what kickstart 
we want to use.   So, it serves as something to bootstrap a "PXE like" 
configuration -- and unlike the aforementioned rescue-disk-kickstart 
solution (which is also cool) -- this provides a universal installer 
that can be distro agnostic.  So, from
that one F7 CD, you might install RHEL3 or Fedora 6 ... it doesn't 
matter ... cobbler can decide based on the system info.

It may be interesting to explore other uses of Live CDs/disks from 
livecd-creator -- There may be some use for creating a boot image that 
serves as a minimal diskless virtual host, provisioned with guests 
automagically from cobbler (cobbler itself needs to evolve to serve 
existing images), with the guests pointing towards network storage.   
This would allow turning various hardware into Linux boxes when, say, 
booted from USB keys or just regular (non-install) PXE images.   However 
that's kind of far out there.
If there are existing use cases that folks use today, or would like to 
follow up on, please share...

If you want to build this, just follow the instructions in the previous 
email and you should be good to go.   I am guessing that the tool probably
builds best on F7, but the output CD will be usable for any distro you 
would want to provision.

> On 7/10/07, Michael DeHaan <mdehaan at redhat.com> wrote:
>> Eureka!   I have build and tested a working Cobbler/koan LiveCD.   This
>> CD allows for baremetal installation in a PXE-manner, without needing a
>> PXE server setup.   So, if you have machines to install/reinstall and
>> can't run PXE due to either (A) some software in the way, or (B) an evil
>> network admin, this is for you.    This CD also works for any
>> distribution, meaning if you have a CD defined to install profile "foo",
>> and foo is one day "Fedora 7" and the next day the cobbler server 
>> changes
>> to Centos 5, it all works, without having to reburn the CD.
>> This also works with Adam Wolf's recent "autodetect-system" patch.   So
>> imagine a lab full of machines where you know the MAC addresses.  You
>> stick a CD in one, it finds out the MAC address, and then installs (from
>> cobbler) the proper distro for that machine.     You no longer need
>> media that matches the target distribution -- one CD works for 
>> everything.
>> - install livecd-tools (I built my CD on Fedora 7)
>>    git clone  git://git.fedoraproject.org/git/hosted/livecd
>>    make install
>> - check out the latest koan and build it, as we're going to build that
>> into the CD
>>    cd /path/to/koan
>>    make
>> - build a LiveCD with the koan parameters of your choice
>>    cd /path/to/koanlive
>>    build.py --server=bootserver.example.com --koan="--profile=foo"   #
>> takes a few minutes
>>    # use nautilus, k3b, or your favorite app to burn the 
>> koan-live-cd.iso
>> -- done
>> This produces a CD that, when inserted into any machine, will provision
>> that machine to "foo".   You can pass in any additional arguments you
>> like to koan.
>> By default, it will add the value you gave for "--server" and
>> "--replace-self".
>> You'll notice that I don't have any CD images up for download.   Why?
>> You'll want to pick the koan parameters yourself -- especially the
>> server address -- at least
>> until we add some zeroconf detection to koan.
>> Things that should be eventually fixed:
>>    The output image needs to be pared down.  Right now it's around 200
>> MB.   I think that can be cut in half.
>>    CD should run from RAM by default, have a low grub timeout, and
>> eject when done to prevent boot-looping.
>>          (Right now, log in with root/cobbler, and manually
>> eject/reboot ... or just cycle the power and hit the drive button)
>>    Third party hardware support could be better (drive discovery)
>>    Would be nice to have koan's autodetect-system support be modified
>> to also check for known IP's
>> Note that you should also be able to build a USB-key image of the above
>> using "/usr/bin/livecd-iso-to-disk" -- which is better than burning
>> coasters and also more pocketable :)
>> Comments/questions/ideas?  Fire away.
>> --Michael DeHaan
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