Wednesday, November 21, 2007

UNIX Deployment Tools - JumpStart, IgniteUX, NIM, KickStart, AutoYaST, FAI

Bare metal recovery and mass deployment tools for UNIX and UNIX-like systems:

On Windows there's RIS, WDS or tools like Ghost, on UNIX platforms we have tools like JumpStart, IgniteUX, NIM, FAI, KickStart, etc. to help with massive deployment of operating systems.


  • Sun Solaris - Custom JumpStart and Advanced Installations - The custom JumpStart installation method is a command–line interface that enables you to automatically install or upgrade several systems, based on profiles that you create. The profiles define specific software installation requirements. You can also incorporate shell scripts to include preinstallation and postinstallation tasks. You choose which profile and scripts to use for installation or upgrade. The custom JumpStart installation method installs or upgrades the system, based on the profile and scripts that you select. Also, you can use a sysidcfg file to specify configuration information so that the custom JumpStart installation is completely hands-off.
  • Sun Solaris - JumpStart Enterprise Toolkit: provides a framework to simplify and extend the JumpStart functionality provided within the Solaris Operating System.
  • Sun Solaris Flash Archives (flar) - can be used with JumpStart technology to automate and speed up deployment or disaster recovery.
  • HP HP-UX Ignite-UX - is an administration toolset that allows: Simultaneous installation of HP-UX on multiple clients, The creation and use of custom installations, The remote recovery of clients, The creation of recovery media.
  • IBM AIX mksysb/mkcd/mkdvd: The mksysb command creates a backup of the operating system (that is, the root volume group). You can use this backup to reinstall a system to its original state after it has been corrupted. If you create the backup on tape, the tape is bootable and includes the installation programs needed to install from the backup.
  • IBM AIX NIM - Network Installation Management - is an excellent feature of the AIX operating system and is very important for teams or companies that have a need to install or upgrade many RS/6000 machines with the same images at the same time. NIM supports the use of mksysb images. Performing a NIM mksysb installation is faster than performing a NIM rte installation, and with mksysb, you can optionally include other installed software. You can use a mksysb image to install the nodes of a CSM cluster.

  • RedHat Linux Kickstart provides automation of Linux installation that uses a single kickstart file to install the system on multiple machines.
  • SUSE Linux AutoYaST - Automatic Linux Installation and Configuration with YaST2. AutoYaST allows unattended and automated installation. With AutoYaST, administrators can create a consistent baseline configuration for new installations in large or expanding deployments. In addition to AutoYaST, other installation methods include PXE Boot, CD-ROM, NFS, CIFS/SMB, HTTP, FTP, and the Service Location Protocol (SLP), which allows autodetection of install servers. ALICE, SuSEs former auto-installation system was a system built around the auto-installation features that were available with YaST1. In order to be able to use existing ALICE configuration files and resources, a special option is provided in the configuration system will let you convert ALICE configuration files into a control file readable by AutoYaST.
  • Debian GNU/Linux FAI - Fully Automatic Installation - is an automated installation tool to install or deploy Debian GNU/Linux and other distributions on a bunch of different hosts or a Cluster. FAI can also be used for configuration management of a running system.

  • Automatic OpenBSD Installation - Jumpstart-style procedure for installing OpenBSD servers
  • FreeBSD "JumpStart" Guide - This article details the method used to allow machines to install FreeBSD using the Intel PXE method of booting a machine over a network. Use sysinstall install.cfg for scripting.
  • BSD PXEBoot - while not unassisted, BSD systems can easily boot from PXE and install over the network.

  • Cfengine - an adaptive system configuration management engine - is an automated suite of programs for configuring and maintaining Unix-like computers. It has been used on computing arrays of between 1 and 20000 nodes.