Automated Installer from media

The holiday season, the most fun part of the year, is
here. It is also the season to give. I just finished
giving (okay, delivering) another way to do an (automated) 
install of OpenSolaris.

Starting with OpenSolaris build 130, the automated
installer (AI) x86/SPARC iso and USB images will be
bootable standalone. That is, the AI media can now be
booted without necessarily needing to setup an AI server/
services. The machine will boot from such media and do an
Automated Install from an IPS repo. Either a default 
manifest (pointing to pkg.opensolaris.org/release) can be
used or a custom manifest can be used to specify the
installation parameters.

This opens up a few avenues:

a) SPARC machines that are not capable of wanboot (a requirement
   for doing AI over the network), can now be directly booted
   and an OpenSolaris install done using that media.

b) The AI media can also be used as a rescue disk.

   On SPARC, the following will simply boot the AI media and
   not start an install.

   ok boot cdrom

   On x86, edit the GRUB menu entry to have 'aimanifest='. This
   will boot the AI media without starting an install.

   A user can log in thereafter as root/opensolaris and perform
   the necessary repair/diagnostic procedures.

c) An xVM PV install can now be done without needing to setup
   an AI server/services so it greatly simplifies the install.

   The following command line does a PV install from the AI media:

   # virt-install -n domU-mediaboot-ai --paravirt -r 2048 --disk
     path=/rpool/domU-mediaboot-ai,size=20,driver-tap,
     subdriver-vdisk,format=vmdk -l 
     http://10.6.35.111:5555/export/home/images/mediaboot-ai.iso 
     --autocf aimanifest=default,auto-shutdown=enable 
     --nographics 0:16:36:20:a2:7d

Using a Custom Manifest

If you wish to customize the installation parameters, a custom manifest
must be specified.

On x86, the first choice (also the default choice) in the GRUB menu, allows
one to specify a custom manifest. 

On SPARC, the following allows one to specify a custom manifest:

ok boot cdrom – install prompt

('ok boot cdrom – install' uses a default manifest located on the 
media instead)

If a custom manifest is specified as above, the user is presented with the
following prompt during boot up:

Enter the URL for the AI manifest [HTTP, default]: 

Currently, only an HTTP path to the manifest can be specified. Once enhancement
request 13201 is fixed, it may be possible to specify other sorts of paths as well.

NOTE: If you plan to use the AI media to do an install before OpenSolaris 2010.03
ships, you must install using a custom manifest that specifies 'http://pkg.opensolaris.org/dev'
instead of 'http://pkg.opensolaris.org/release' as the IPS repo to install from. Otherwise the 
installed system may not be bootable.
Comments:

Excellent work, Alok, thanks!

Posted by Alexander Eremin on December 19, 2009 at 12:21 AM EST #

@Alexander: Thank you Alex (and thank \*you\* for all the contributions to OpenSolaris).

Posted by Alok Aggarwal on December 21, 2009 at 07:45 AM EST #

Hi Alok, thanks for the update how to point to a different repository!! That really helps me out!

Using b130 on SPARC to the release repository resulted in a system that would not boot properly. I will go back and get it working now...

Steffen

Posted by Steffen Weiberle on January 12, 2010 at 06:54 AM EST #

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