Setting up provisioning environments for Windows, Linux, ESX, and ESXi servers

Before you can perform unattended installations of operating systems on servers, you must set up all the functional components of the BMC Server Automation provisioning system. Generally, you need to perform these tasks only once unless you are changing the configuration of your provisioning system. 

The topics in the following table describe how to set up provisioning environments for Windows, Linux, ESX, and ESXi servers. 

 StepDescription
1

Set up and share a data store

To provision operating systems on bare metal computers using the Preboot Execution Environment (PXE), you create a data store directory on a Windows or Linux server. Then you share the data store directory. 
2Configure the data store for PXE provisioning

Configuring the data store sets required values for accessing the data sources for provisioning.

In particular, you define the location of the data store, which is where you store sets of installation files that are used for provisioning operating systems. Data store values are stored in the Data Store system object, which you can edit by using the Property Dictionary.

3Stock the data store

After you set up a data store server, you must stock it with operating system installation files and drivers. 

A data store holds several categories of information:

  • Operating system installers necessary for provisioning a server.
  • Files needed to support Microsoft Windows plug-and-play drivers.
  • Files and other information needed to install BMC Server Automation RSCD agents after the operating system is installed.
4

Create boot image files and placeholders

Configure boot image files

When provisioning a device, the provisioning process uses an image that contains, among other things, device-specific network drivers that interact with the hardware and retrieve configuration information (such as the MAC address) for the device.

To provision Microsoft Windows and Linux machines in your PXE environment, you must create boot image files specifically for use with BMC Server Automation provisioning. The system contains placeholders for these files. The type of boot image file that you create depends on the types of machines that you plan to provision.

To prepare for Windows and Linux provisioning, create the appropriate WinPE or Gentoo Linux images that contain generic network drivers that work for most hardware types. As an alternative to creating a Gentoo Linux image, you can use the Skip Linux Pre-Install image option.

After creating the images, you can review and change configuration settings for each image file type.

5

Configure a DHCP server on Windows

Configure a DHCP server on Linux  

The BMC Server Automation provisioning process requires a DHCP server, which gives the computer being provisioned an IP address and (in a single-database environment) the location of the Application Server. 

 The instructions for configuring the DHCP server vary depending on the platform (Microsoft Windows or Linux).

6Configure the PXE and TFTP servers

You can configure or reconfigure the PXE and TFTP servers using the PXE/TFTP Server Configuration tool or from the BMC Server Automation console. 

  •  Configuring the PXE Server enables the BMC Server Automation system to communicate with a target server during provisioning in the PXE environment. 
  • Configuring the TFTP Server enables the BMC Server Automation system to download the bootstrap program needed to initiate the PXE provisioning process. 
7Configure system package types for Windows and Linux

The System Package Types tab lists the available system package types and lets you edit their definitions or create your own custom system package type.
8Create a system package for Windows and Linux

To perform an unattended installation of an operating system, you must create a system package for each server configuration that you want to install. 
9 Enabling auto-discovery of devicesAs an alternative to manually adding or importing devices into BMC Server Automation, you can enable automatic discovery of new devices. BMC Server Automation then retrieves the MAC address of any new device from the PXE server as soon as the device is powered up, and adds the device to the list of devices in the BMC Server Automation Console.

 10 

Prepare for UEFI booting

If you plan to use Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI), instead of BIOS, for booting hardware over the network during provisioning, perform several preparatory tasks to enable the use of UEFI.

Note: When using UEFI booting on Linux, you cannot use a Gentoo pre-installation image, and must use the Skip Linux Pre-Install image option (as discussed in step 4). As a result, auto-discovery of devices (step 9) is not possible.

 Linux Provisioning FlowchartThis BMC Contributor topic provides a flowchart that outlines the tasks involved in provisioning Linux servers.


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