Chapter 1. Introduction

Provisioning is a process that starts with a bare physical or virtual machine and ends with a fully configured, ready-to-use operating system. Using Red Hat Satellite, you can define and automate fine-grained provisioning for a large number of hosts.

There are many provisioning methods. For example, you can use Satellite Server’s integrated Capsule or an external Capsule Server to provision bare metal hosts using both PXE based and non-PXE based methods. You can also provision cloud instances from specific providers through their APIs. These provisioning methods are part of the Red Hat Satellite 6 application life cycle to create, manage, and update hosts.

1.1. Provisioning Types Overview

Red Hat Satellite 6 has different methods for provisioning hosts:

Bare Metal Provisioning
Satellite provisions bare metal hosts primarily through PXE boot and MAC address identification. You can create host entries and specify the MAC address of the physical host to provision. You can also boot blank hosts to use Satellite’s discovery service, which creates a pool of ready-to-provision hosts. You can also boot and provision hosts through PXE-less methods.
Cloud Providers
Satellite connects to private and public cloud providers to provision instances of hosts from images that are stored with the Cloud environment. This also includes selecting which hardware profile or flavor to use.
Virtualization Infrastructure
Satellite connects to virtualization infrastructure services such as Red Hat Virtualization and VMware to provision virtual machines from virtual image templates or using the same PXE-based boot methods as bare metal providers.

1.2. Provisioning Workflow Overview

The provisioning process follows a basic workflow:

  1. You create a host. Satellite requests an unused IP address from the DHCP Capsule Server that is associated with the subnet. Satellite loads this IP address into the IP address field in the Create Host window. When you complete all the options for the new host, submit the new host request.
  2. The DHCP Capsule Server that is associated with the subnet reserves an entry for the host.
  3. Satellite configures the DNS records:

    • A forward DNS record is created on the Capsule Server that is associated with the domain.
    • A reverse DNS record is created on the DNS Capsule Server that is associated with the subnet.
  4. A PXELinux menu is created for the host in the TFTP Capsule Server that is associated with the subnet.
  5. The new host requests a DHCP lease from the DHCP server.
  6. The DHCP server responds to the lease request and returns TFTP next-server and filename options.
  7. The host requests the bootloader and menu from the TFTP server.
  8. The PXELinux menu and OS installer for the host is returned over TFTP.
  9. The installer requests the provisioning template or script from Satellite.
  10. Satellite renders the template and returns the resulting kickstart file to the host.
  11. The host enters a build process that installs the operating system, registers the host to Satellite, and installs management tools such as katello-agent and puppet.
  12. The installer notifies Satellite of a successful build in the postinstall script.
  13. The PXELinux menu reverts to a local boot template.
  14. The host starts its operating system. If you configured the host to use any Puppet classes, the host configures itself using the modules stored on Satellite.

This workflow differs depending on custom options. For example:

Discovery

If you use the Discovery service, Satellite automatically detects the MAC address of the new host and restarts the host after you submit a request. Note that TCP port 8443 must be reachable by the Capsule to which the host is attached for Satellite to restart the host.

PXE-less Provisioning

After you submit a new host request, you must boot the specific host with a boot disk that you download from Satellite.

Compute Resources

The compute resource creates the virtual machine for the host and returns the MAC address to Satellite. If you use image-based provisioning, the host does not follow the standard PXE boot and operating system installation: the compute resource creates a copy of the image for the new host to use.