Recently I was contracted to help with setting up a installation server
for a local hosting and colocation company. They had both a Solaris and
Linux installation mechanism but needed something for FreeBSD that was
both flexible and easy to maintain. The requirements were easy: simple
default install of FreeBSD with basic security in place. No special
packages or customizations except serial console support.
I had originally worked with something similar a few years ago setting
up a testbed cluster. The testbed was diskless and needed to boot over
the network via nfs. Remote installation involves the same basic process
except instead of booting with a floppy which was required then we now
use the PXE support which is in most modern motherboards. In my case
PXE is a godsend.
I started my journey by reading up what others were doing, why re-invent
the wheel when you do not have too? Sadly I found only a few sites giving
any details on doing this and none seemed to be quite current. As I soon
found out the devil is in the details and items not covered really
made this project more time consuming than it should have been.
Along the way this article was born to help those wanting to try.
My configuration consists of a FreeBSD 4.8-Stable Server which
performs most of my services (mail, nfs, http) so it is a natural
to add remote installation functionality too. It also serves as a
master repository for all my FreeBSD source and ports trees. I
currently have 4.6-Stable thru 5.0-Current source trees stored
there for various hosts. The Client which we will install too is
a recently acquired Dell 600sc 2.4ghz machine which I purchased
to use as a testing mule server.
So now on with the project.
Copyright © 2003 - Steven St.Laurent - email@example.com