SUSE Manager/NewFeatures2.1/BareMetalProvisioning

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Unattended bare-metal system provisioning

Description

SUSE Manager can be configured so that unprovisioned ("bare-metal") systems capable of PXE booting are added to an organization. After that happens, those systems will appear in the Systems list, where regular provisioning via autoinstallation is possible in a completely unattended fashion.

Requirements

  • a fully patched SUSE Manager 2.1 server (see above for migration instructions from SUSE Manager 1.7);
  • one or more unprovisioned systems capable of PXE booting. Only x86_64 systems with at least 1 GB of RAM are supported.

Note that the SUSE Manager server will use its integrated Cobbler instance and will act as TFTP server for this feature to work, so the network segment that connects it to target systems must be properly configured in this regard. In particular, a DHCP server must exist and have a next-server configuration parameter set to the SUSE Manager server IP address or hostname. See Cobbler Requirements for details.

Enabling bare-metal system management

Bare-metal system management can be enabled and disabled by SUSE Manager administrators by clicking on Admin -> SUSE Manager Configuration -> Bare-metal systems from the Web User Interface.

Note that new systems will be added to the organization of the administrator who enabled this feature. To change organization disable the feature, log in as an administrator of a different organization and enable it again.

Once enabled, any bare-metal system connected to the SUSE Manager server network will be automatically added to the organization when it powers on. The process typically takes a few minutes; when it finishes, the system will automatically shut down and then appear in the Systems list.

If this does not happen automatically, see the Troubleshooting section.

Inspecting bare-metal systems

Bare-metal systems will appear in the Systems list with a special icon. Clicking on a system's name shows some basic information about the system, more details can be obtained or added manually via the Properties, Notes and Hardware tabs.

Bare-metal systems can be migrated to another organization like regular systems by using the Migrate tab.

Provisioning is also similar and can be initiated by clicking on the Provisioning tab. In case of bare-metal systems, though, provisioning cannot be scheduled: it will happen automatically as soon as it is completely configured and the system is powered on. Details about provisioning and autoinstallation configuration are available in the Autoinstallation section; to power on a system from SUSE Manager see Power Management.

System Set Manager and bare-metal systems

It is possible to use System Set Manager with bare-metal systems, although in that case some features will not be available as those systems do not have an operating system installed. This limitation also applies to mixed sets with regular and bare-metal systems: full features will be enabled again once all bare-metal systems are removed from the set.

Troubleshooting

If a bare-metal system is not automatically added, please do the following:

  • check that the pxe-default-image package is installed;
  • check configured file paths and parameters. In particular, check that the vmlinuz0 and initrd0.img files provided by pxe-default-image are in locations specified by rhn.conf, as per the following sample file:
   cobbler.bootstrap.kernel = /srv/pxe-default-image/vmlinuz0
   cobbler.bootstrap.initrd = /srv/pxe-default-image/initrd0.img
   cobbler.bootstrap.breed = suse
   cobbler.bootstrap.arch = x86_64
   cobbler.bootstrap.extra_kernel_options = ROOTFS_FSCK=0
  • check that network equipment connecting the system and the SUSE Manager server works correctly;
  • check that those bare-metal systems have PXE booting enabled in their boot sequence, and that no operating system gets booted;
  • check that the DHCP server responds to the DHCP request from the system during boot. In particular:
    • check that it assigns the expected IP address. Typically this address is displayed among PXE boot messages;
    • check that it assigns the SUSE Manager server IP address as next-server for booting. This IP address should also be abe displayed among PXE boot messages;
  • check that the SUSE Manager server IP address is actually reachable from the server;
  • check that the SUSE Manager server has Cobbler running and the discovery feature is enabled;
  • if you see a Cobbler blue menu shortly after booting, discovery has actually started. If it does not complete succesfully, it is possible to disable automatic shutdown for diagnosis purposes. In order to accomplish that, press the arrow keys to select "pxe-default-profile" in the Cobbler menu and press the Tab key before the 30 second timer expires. Then add the kernel boot parameter spacewalk-finally=running using the integrated editor and press Enter to continue booting. Then enter login root and password linux to get to a shell.

Known Issues

  • Due to a technical limitation it is not possible to reliably distinguish a new bare-metal system from a system that has been discovered for the second time, it is thus recommended not to power on bare-metal systems multiple times. In case that happens, you can remove duplicate profiles by using the Duplicate systems page.
  • Current documentation has to be reworded since with the introduction of this feature AutoYAST/Kickstart can also be used as first-time installation features, not just for reinstallations.