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Applies to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP4

1 Introduction

AutoYaST2 is a system for installing one or more SUSE Linux systems automatically and without user intervention. AutoYaST2 installations are performed using an AutoYaST profile with installation and configuration data. That profile can be created using the configuration interface of AutoYaST2 and can be provided to YaST2 during installation in different ways.

1.1 Availability

AutoYaST2 is available with recent SUSE products starting from SUSE Linux 8.0 and business products starting from SLES 8.

Products prior to SuSE Linux 8.0 and business products based on SLES 7 have an auto-installation system based on YaST1. A configuration management system is provided by ALICE for these products.

Note: Updated documentation

Updated documentation can be found at the following URL: https://www.suse.com/documentation/sles11/

1.2 Motivation

The Linux Journal, in an article in issue 78 writes:

A standard Linux installation asks many questions about what to install, what hardware to configure, how to configure the network interface, etc. Answering these questions once is informative and maybe even fun. But imagine a system engineer who has to set up a new Linux network with a large number of machines. Now, the same issues need to be addressed and the same questions answered repeatedly. This makes the task very inefficient, not to mention a source of irritation and boredom. Hence, a need arises to automate this parameter and option selection.

The thought of simply copying the hard disks naturally crosses one's mind. This can be done quickly, and all the necessary functions and software will be copied without option selection. However, the fact is that simple copying of hard disks causes the individual computers to become too similar. This, in turn, creates an altogether new mission of having to reconfigure the individual settings on each PC. For example, IP addresses for each machine will have to be reset. If this is not done properly, strange and inexplicable behavior results.

Regular installation of SuSE Linux is semi-automated by default. The user is requested to select the necessary information at the beginning of the installation (In most cases language only), YaST2 then generates a proposal for the underlying system depending on different factors and system paramters. In most cases, and especially for new systems, such a proposal can be used to install the system and provides a usable installation.

The steps following the proposal are fully automated and the user is only prompted at the end of the installation to configure hardware and network services.

AutoYaST2 can be used where no user intervention is required or where customization is required. Using an AutoYaST profile, YaST2 prepares the system for a custom installation and avoids any interaction with the user, unless specified in the file controling the installation.

AutoYaST2 is not an automated GUI system. This means that in most cases many screens will be skipped, i.e. you will never see the language selection interface. AutoYaST2 will simply pass the language parameter to the sub-system without displaying any language related interface.

1.3 Overview and Concept

Using AutoYaST2, multiple systems sharing the same environment and similar but not necesserily identical hardware and performing similar tasks, can easily be installed in parallel and quickly. A configuration file—referred to as "AutoYaST profile"—is created using existing configuration resources. The profile file can be easily tailored for any specific environment.

Unlike autoinstallation systems available with older SUSE releases, AutoYaST2 is fully integrated and provides various options for installing and configuring a system. The main advantage over older systems and other auto-installation systems is the possibility to configure a computer by using existing modules and avoiding using custom scripts which are normally executed at the end of the installation.

This document will guide you through the three steps of auto-installation:

  • Preparation: All relevant information about the target system is collected and turned into the appropriate directives of the profile. The profile file is transferred onto the target system where its directives will be parsed and transformed to YaST2 conforming data.

  • Installation: Follows the instructions given in the profile and installs the base system.

  • Configuration: YaST2 in addition to user-defined post-install scripts, complete the system configuration.

The complete and detailed process is illustrated in the following figure:

Auto-installation process
Figure 1.1: Auto-installation process
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