27.2. How Do You Perform a Kickstart Installation?
Kickstart installations can be performed using a local DVD, a local hard drive, NFS, FTP, HTTP, or HTTPS.
To use Kickstart, you must:
- Create a Kickstart file.
- Make the Kickstart file available on removable media, a hard drive or a network location.
- Create boot media, which will be used to begin the installation.
- Make the installation source available.
- Start the Kickstart installation.
This chapter explains these steps in detail.
27.2.1. Creating a Kickstart File
The Kickstart file itself is a plain text file, containing keywords listed in Section 27.3, “Kickstart Syntax Reference”, which serve as directions for the installation. Any text editor able to save files as ASCII text, such as Gedit or vim on Linux systems or Notepad on Windows systems, can be used to create and edit Kickstart files. The file name of your Kickstart configuration does not matter; however, it is recommended to use a simple name as you will need to specify this name later in other configuration files or dialogs.
The recommended approach to creating Kickstart files is to perform a manual installation on one system first. After the installation completes, all choices made during the installation are saved into a file named
anaconda-ks.cfg, located in the
/root/directory on the installed system. You can then copy this file, make any changes you need, and use the resulting configuration file in further installations.
If you have a Red Hat Customer Portal account, you can use the Kickstart Configuration Tool available at https://access.redhat.com/labs/kickstartconfig/ in the Customer Portal Labs. This tool will walk you through basic configuration and allows you to download the resulting Kickstart file. However, the tool currently does not supported any advanced partitioning.
Kickstart Configurator, the graphical tool for creating Kickstart files, is still available. However, it is no longer being updated and it does not reflect changes in Kickstart syntax between Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 and 7.
When creating a Kickstart file, keep in mind the following:
- Sections must be specified in order. Items within the sections do not have to be in a specific order unless otherwise specified. The section order is:
- Command section - See Section 27.3.1, “Kickstart Commands and Options” for a list of Kickstart options. You must include the required options.Add-ons for Anaconda which expand the functionality of the installer can also be used in the command section by using the
%addon addon_namecommand. See Section 27.3.7, “Kickstart Add-ons” for details.
%packagessection - See Section 27.3.2, “Package Selection” for details.
%postmust end with
%end, otherwise the installation program will refuse the Kickstart file.
- Items that are not required can be omitted.
- Omitting any required item results in the installation program prompting the user for an answer to the related item, just as the user would be prompted during a typical installation. Once the answer is given, the installation continues unattended (unless it finds another missing item).
- Lines starting with a pound (also known as number) sign (
#) are treated as comments and are ignored.
27.2.2. Maintaining the Kickstart File
184.108.40.206. Verifying the Kickstart File
When creating or customizing your Kickstart file, it is useful to verify that it is valid before attempting to use it in an installation. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 includes the ksvalidator command line utility which can be used to do this. This tool is a part of the pykickstart package. To install this package, execute the following command as
yum install pykickstart
After installing the package, you can validate a Kickstart file using the following command:
Replace /path/to/kickstart.ks with the path to the Kickstart file you want to verify.
For more information about this tool, see the
Keep in mind that the validation tool has its limitations. The Kickstart file can be very complicated; ksvalidator can make sure the syntax is correct and that the file does not include deprecated options, but it cannot guarantee the installation will be successful. It also does not attempt to validate the
%packagessections of the Kickstart file.
220.127.116.11. Changes in Kickstart Syntax
While the general principles of Kickstart installations tend to stay the same, the commands and options can change between major releases of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. You can use the
ksverdiffcommand to display the differences between two versions of the Kickstart syntax. This is useful when updating an existing Kickstart file to be used with a new release. To display a list of changes in syntax between Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 and 7, use the following command:
ksverdiff -f RHEL6 -t RHEL7
-foption specifies the release to start the comparison with, and the
-toption to specify the release to end with. For additional information, see the
27.2.3. Making the Kickstart File Available
A Kickstart file must be placed in one of the following locations:
- On removable media, such as a DVD or USB flash drive
- On a hard drive connected to the installation system
- On a network share reachable from the installation system
Normally, a Kickstart file is copied to removable media or a hard drive, or made available on the network. Placing the file in a network location complements the usual approach to Kickstart installations, which is also network-based: the system is booted using a PXE server, the Kickstart file is downloaded from a network share, and software packages specified in the file are downloaded from remote repositories.
Making the Kickstart file available and reachable from the installation system is exactly the same as making the installation source available, only with the Kickstart file instead of the installation ISO image or tree. For full procedures, see Section 3.3, “Preparing Installation Sources”.
27.2.4. Making the Installation Source Available
The Kickstart installation must access an installation source in order to install the packages needed by your system. The source can be either the full Red Hat Enterprise Linux installation DVD ISO image, or an installation tree. An installation tree is a copy of the binary Red Hat Enterprise Linux DVD with the same directory structure.
If you are performing a DVD-based installation, insert the Red Hat Enterprise Linux installation DVD into the computer before starting the Kickstart installation. See Section 3.3.1, “Installation Source on a DVD” for information about using a Red Hat Enterprise Linux DVD as the installation source.
If you are performing a hard drive installation (using either a hard drive or an USB flash drive), make sure the ISO images of the binary Red Hat Enterprise Linux DVD are on a hard drive in the computer. See Section 3.3.2, “Installation Source on a Hard Drive” for details about using a hard drive as the installation source.
If you are performing a network-based (NFS, FTP or HTTP) installation, you must make the installation tree or the binary DVD ISO image (depending on the protocol used) available over the network. See Section 3.3.3, “Installation Source on a Network” for details.
27.2.5. Starting the Kickstart Installation
To load your Kickstart file automatically without having to specify the
inst.ks=boot option, name the file
ks.cfgand place it on a storage volume labeled
To start a Kickstart installation, use the boot option
inst.ks=locationwhen booting the installation system, replacing location with the location of your Kickstart file. The exact way to specify the boot option depends on your system's architecture - see Chapter 23, Boot Options for details.
64-bit AMD, Intel and ARM systems and IBM Power Systems servers have the ability to boot using a PXE server. When you configure the PXE server, you can add the boot option into the boot loader configuration file, which in turn allows you to start the installation automatically. Using this approach, it is possible to automate the installation completely, including the boot process. For information about setting up a PXE server, see Chapter 24, Preparing for a Network Installation.
Procedures in this section assume that you already have a Kickstart file ready in a location accessible from the installation system, as well as boot media or a PXE server which can be used to boot the system and begin the installation. The procedures are intended as a general reference; some steps differ based on your system's architecture, and not all options are available on all architectures (for example, you cannot use PXE boot on IBM Z).
18.104.22.168. Starting the Kickstart Installation Manually
This section explains how to start a Kickstart installation manually, which means some user interaction (adding boot options at the
boot:prompt) will be required.
Procedure 27.1. Starting the Kickstart Installation Using a Boot Option
- Boot the system using either local media (a CD, DVD, or a USB flash drive). For architecture-specific instructions, see:
- Chapter 7, Booting the Installation on 64-bit AMD, Intel, and ARM systems for 64-bit AMD, Intel, and ARM systems
- Chapter 12, Booting the Installation on IBM Power Systems for IBM Power Systems servers
- At the boot prompt, specify the
inst.ks=boot option and the location of the Kickstart file. If the Kickstart file is in a network location, you must also configure the network using the
ip=option. In some cases, the
inst.repo=option is also necessary in order to access a software source from which necessary packages will be installed.For details about boot options and valid syntax, see Chapter 23, Boot Options.
- Start the installation by confirming your added boot options.
The installation begins now, using the options specified in the Kickstart file. If the Kickstart file is valid and contains all required commands, the installation is completely automated from this point forward.
22.214.171.124. Starting the Kickstart Installation Automatically
The following procedure explains how to completely automate the Kickstart installation, using a network boot (PXE) server and a properly configured boot loader. If you follow this procedure, you only need to turn on the system; no other interaction will be required from that moment until the installation finishes.
PXE installations are not available on IBM Z.
Procedure 27.2. Starting the Kickstart Installation by Editing Boot Loader Configuration
- Open the boot loader configuration file on your PXE server, and add the
inst.ks=boot option to the appropriate line. The name of the file and its syntax depends on your system's architecture and hardware:
- On AMD64 and Intel 64 systems with BIOS, the file name can be either
defaultor based on your system's IP address. In this case, add the
inst.ks=option to the
appendline in the installation entry. A sample
appendline in the configuration file looks similar to the following:
append initrd=initrd.img inst.ks=http://10.32.5.1/mnt/archive/RHEL-7/7.x/Server/x86_64/kickstarts/ks.cfg
- On systems using the GRUB2 boot loader (64-bit AMD, Intel, and ARM systems with UEFI firmware and IBM Power Systems servers), the file name will be
grub.cfg. In this file, append the
inst.ks=option to the
kernelline in the installation entry. A sample
kernelline in the configuration file will look similar to the following:
kernel vmlinuz inst.ks=http://10.32.5.1/mnt/archive/RHEL-7/7.x/Server/x86_64/kickstarts/ks.cfg
- Boot the installation from the network server. For architecture-specific instructions, see:
- Section 7.1.2, “Booting from the Network Using PXE” for 64-bit AMD, Intel, and ARM systems
- Section 12.3, “Booting from the Network Using an Installation Server” for IBM Power Systems servers
The installation begins now, using the installation options specified in the Kickstart file. If the Kickstart file is valid and contains all required commands, the installation is completely automated.