Introduction


	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 - steven@403forbidden.net