* Posts by Michael DeHaan

1 post • joined 21 Jun 2008

Cobbler pieces together mass Red Hat Linux installations

Michael DeHaan


Thanks Register Folks for posting this.

Advance Disclaimer: I'm the author :)

So posters have asked above, "how's this different than just kickstart?". Well, kickstart is just a small piece about managing installations. Cobbler is of course highly reliant on kickstart. Though I should also mention Cobbler also can install SuSE and Debian, and there's work on actually getting it packaged for the later going on.

So, what gets automated? If you are adding a new system to your datacenter, you might have to make new DHCP records, new DNS records, and so forth. For virtualization, you have to remember all of the parameters to pass to the virtualized install tools. You have to create files in your TFTP boot directory, etc. So, cobbler is about providing a central management and provisioning server for all of that. On top of that, there's also a kickstart templating system, to help in managing sites that would ordinarily have several dozen kickstart files. It also makes assigning systems to new profiles trivial. It also provides tracking for in progress installations and has a triggers system to kick off arbitrary tasks server side when installations start and stop. On top of all of that, there are solutions for deploying bare-metal without PXE too.

Cobbler currently runs datacenters with several thousand of systems but is equally also targetted at small labs and home setups. The most important thing here is that we're building a community of admins to consolidate the kickstart infrastructure we all build, rather than having to keep rebuilding it again for each specific site. Ultimately, allowing admins to share tools is what this is all about. If it sucks, tell us what you'd like to see, etc.

If anyone is interested in learning more, the fedorahosted.org has all the details, or you can check out the manpage and so forth. There's really quite a bit more towards a provisioning server than just kickstart. We're really automating quite a bit more. Join #cobbler on freenode if you'd like to learn more.


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