Friday, February 05, 2010

Solaris10 (sparc) jumpstart from Linux

This got me started:


Where I work, we have several Sun T1000s. These machines lack usb ports and cdrom drives, so installing Solaris on them is a pain. The process involves using another machine to jumpstart the target machine. Most instructions on the web tell you how to do this using Solaris as the jumpstart server.

One of the great benefits of jumpstarting, is you can completely configure the install process using configuration files. You can set root passwords, specify packages to be installed, run custom shell commands, add users, etc.

I needed a way to be able to manage all of these configurations in CM (perforce) and then reliably and consistently build my jumpstart server. Previously this involved following written instructions that went something like this: 1) Create Solaris VM 2) Move this files over 3) Configure this, that, etc. It was highly error prone and many times a little step here or there would get skipped.

Enter Linux.

Besides the fact that I really dislike Solaris, I saw many advantages to trying to make a Linux jumpstart server. Primarly was the fact that I could programatically make a Linux jumsptart server by making a Live CD (maybe more on this in another blog post). Also, Linux for me, is easier to manage, debug, configure, etc.

In the sections that follow, I'll try to explain the steps I took to create a Linux jumpstart server on a RHEL 5.4 system. As alluded to before, I eventually ported this to an ArchLinux livecd, so I could pop the live cd in a x86 PC, boot, and serve Solaris installs!

And lastly, I should note that this post is mostly a collection of notes. I don't expect a newbie to jumpstart to understand anything by reading this. This will be mostly helpful to someone who is already familiar with the basics of jumpstart, has probably already tried to get it to work on Linux, but just needs a few hints.

Install a minimal RHEL 5.4

Add dhcpd and tftp-server packages, if necessary

Configure dhcpd

Here is my config file. My server's ip is
ddns-update-style interim;
ignore client-updates;
option routers;
option subnet-mask;

default-lease-time 600;
max-lease-time 7200;


# Jumpstart Support
option space SUNW;
option SUNW.root-mount-options code 1 = text;
option SUNW.root-server-ip-address code 2 = ip-address;
option SUNW.root-server-hostname code 3 = text;
option SUNW.root-path-name code 4 = text;
option SUNW.swap-server-ip-address code 5 = ip-address;
option SUNW.swap-file-path code 6 = text;
option SUNW.boot-file-path code 7 = text;
option SUNW.posix-timezone-string code 8 = text;
option SUNW.boot-read-size code 9 = unsigned integer 16;
option SUNW.install-server-ip-address code 10 = ip-address;
option SUNW.install-server-hostname code 11 = text;
option SUNW.install-path code 12 = text;
option SUNW.sysid-config-file-server code 13 = text;
option SUNW.JumpStart-server code 14 = text;
option SUNW.terminal-name code 15 = text;

subnet netmask {
option broadcast-address;
#option routers;

option host-name "solaris10-jumper1";
vendor-option-space SUNW;
option SUNW.sysid-config-file-server "jumpstartserver:/home/jumpstart/config";
option SUNW.JumpStart-server "jumpstartserver:/home/jumpstart/config";
option SUNW.install-server-hostname "jumpstartserver";
option SUNW.install-server-ip-address;
option SUNW.install-path "/home/jumpstart/install";
option SUNW.root-server-hostname "jumpstartserver";
option SUNW.root-server-ip-address;
option SUNW.root-path-name "/home/jumpstart/install/Solaris_10/Tools/Boot";

Configure NFS

For some reason, you have to disable NFSv4 on the server. See this page:
Pay special attention to the comment left by Lars Rohrbach.

My /etc/exports file looks like this:



Enable tftp by editing the /etc/xinet.d/tftp file.

Tftp files (at least with RHEL5) are served by default from /tftpboot. The Solaris sparc bootloader(?) needs to be copied to this directory. In my situation, I copied /install/Solaris_10/Tools/Boot/platform/sun4v/inetboot from the Solaris10 install dvd and renamed it SUNW.Sun-Fire-T1000. If you're not installing a T1000, you will rename it to something different. Also, the folder that inetboot was in, sun4v, may change too. I deduced the filename, SUNW.Sun-Fire-T1000, by looking at tcpdump output and I figured out the architecture(?), sun4v, by googling.

DVD Contents

For simplicity, I mounted (instead of copying) the Solaris 10 sparc dvd at /home/jumpstart/install.



install_type initial_install
system_type server
partitioning explicit
filesys rootdisk.s0 10000 /
filesys rootdisk.s1 1000 swap
filesys rootdisk.s4 10000 /home
filesys rootdisk.s5 free /var

cluster SUNWCreq


network_interface=e1000g0 {hostname=client1


# The following rule matches any system:

any - - any_machine -


any - - any_machine -
# version=2 checksum=num

Start the Install

From the Solaris ">" prompt, issue a "boot net:dhcp - install"

That's it!