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Applies to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15 SP1

11 Remote Installation Edit source

The installation of SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server can be fully performed over the network. This chapter describes how to provide the required environment for booting, installing and controlling the installation via the network.

11.1 Overview Edit source

For a remote installation you need to consider how to boot, how to control the installation, and the source of the installation data. All available options can be combined with each other, if they are available for your hardware platform.

Boot method

Depending on the hardware, several options for booting a system exist. Common options are DVD, USB drive or PXE boot. For more information about your platform, refer to Part I, “Installation Preparation”.

To set up a server for booting via PXE, refer to Chapter 17, Preparing Network Boot Environment.

Data source

Most commonly, DVDs or USB drives are used as a source for installing SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. Alternatively, installation servers can be used. In this case, use the install boot parameter to specify the source. For details, refer to Section 7.3.3, “Specifying the Installation Source”.

To use a network source for the installation, prepare a server as described in Chapter 16, Setting Up a Network Installation Source.

Controlling the installation

Instead of using a keyboard and monitor directly attached to the target machine, the installation can be controlled via SSH, VNC, or by using the serial console of a machine. This is described in the sections Section 11.3, “Monitoring Installation via VNC”, Section 11.4, “Monitoring Installation via SSH” and Section 11.5, “Monitoring Installation via Serial Console”.

Instead of manually controlling the installation, AutoYaST can be used for fully automating the installation process. For details, refer to AutoYaST Guide.

11.2 Scenarios for Remote Installation Edit source

This section introduces the most common installation scenarios for remote installations. For each scenario, carefully check the list of prerequisites and follow the procedure outlined for that scenario. If in need of detailed instructions for a particular step, follow the links provided for each one of them.

11.2.1 Installation from DVD via VNC Edit source

This type of installation still requires some degree of physical access to the target system to boot for installation. The installation is controlled by a remote workstation using VNC to connect to the installation program. User interaction is required as with the manual installation in Chapter 8, Installation Steps.

For this type of installation, make sure that the following requirements are met:

  • Target system with working network connection.

  • Controlling system with working network connection and VNC viewer software or JavaScript-enabled browser (Firefox, Chromium, Internet Explorer, Opera, etc.).

  • Installation DVD.

To perform this kind of installation, proceed as follows:

  1. Boot the target system using DVD1 of the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server media kit.

  2. When the boot screen of the target system appears, use the boot parameters prompt to set the VNC options and, if required, the static network configuration. For information about boot parameters, see Chapter 7, Boot Parameters.

    1. Boot parameters for a static network configuration:

      netdevice=NETDEVICE hostip=IP_ADDRESS netmask=NETMASK gateway=IP_GATEWAY vnc=1 VNCPassword=PASSWORD
    2. Boot parameters for a dynamic (DHCP) network configuration:

      vnc=1 VNCPassword=PASSWORD
  3. The target system boots to a text-based environment, giving the network address and display number under which the graphical installation environment can be addressed by any VNC viewer application or browser. VNC installations announce themselves over OpenSLP and if the firewall settings permit. They can be found using slptool as described in Section 11.3.1, “Preparing for VNC Installation”.

  4. On the controlling workstation, open a VNC viewing application or Web browser and connect to the target system as described in Section 11.3, “Monitoring Installation via VNC”.

  5. Perform the installation as described in Chapter 8, Installation Steps.

  6. Reconnect to the target system after it reboots for the initial system configuration. For details, see Part V, “Initial System Configuration”.

11.2.2 Installation from Network via VNC Edit source

This type of installation does not require a direct interaction with the target machine. The system is booted via PXE and the installation data is fetched from a server.

To perform this type of installation, make sure that the following requirements are met:

  • At least one machine that can be used for installing a DHCP, NFS, HTTP, FTP, TFTP, or SMB server.

  • Target system capable of PXE boot, networking, and Wake on LAN, plugged in and connected to the network.

  • Controlling system with working network connection and VNC viewer software or JavaScript-enabled browser (Firefox, Chromium, Microsoft Edge, Opera, etc.).

To perform this type of installation, proceed as follows:

  1. Set up the server that contains the installation data. For details, see Part IV, “Setting Up an Installation Server”.

  2. Set up a DHCP and TFTP server for the network. This is described in Chapter 17, Preparing Network Boot Environment. Add the required boot parameters to enable the VNC server.

  3. Enable PXE boot in the target machine firmware. For more information, see Section 17.4, “Preparing the Target System for PXE Boot”.

  4. Initiate the boot process of the target system using Wake on LAN. This is described in Section 17.5, “Using Wake-on-LAN for Remote Wakeups”.

  5. On the controlling workstation, open a VNC viewing application or Web browser and connect to the target system as described in Section 11.3, “Monitoring Installation via VNC”.

  6. Perform the installation as described in Chapter 8, Installation Steps.

  7. Reconnect to the target system after it reboots for the initial system configuration. For details, see Part V, “Initial System Configuration”.

11.2.3 Installation from DVD via SSH Edit source

This type of installation still requires some degree of physical access to the target system to boot for installation and to determine the IP address of the installation target. The installation itself is entirely controlled from a remote workstation using SSH to connect to the installer. User interaction is required as with the regular installation described in Chapter 8, Installation Steps.

For this type of installation, make sure that the following requirements are met:

  • Target system with working network connection.

  • Controlling system with working network connection and working SSH client software.

  • Installation DVD.

To perform this kind of installation, proceed as follows:

  1. Set up the installation target and installation server as described in Part IV, “Setting Up an Installation Server”.

  2. Boot the target system using DVD1 of the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server media kit.

  3. When the boot screen of the target system appears, use the boot parameters prompt to set the SSH options and, if required, the static network configuration. For information about boot parameters, see Chapter 7, Boot Parameters.

    1. Boot parameters for a static network configuration:

      netdevice=NETDEVICE hostip=IP_ADDRESS netmask=NETMASK gateway=IP_GATEWAY ssh=1 ssh.password=PASSWORD
    2. Boot parameters for a dynamic (DHCP) network configuration:

      ssh=1 ssh.password=PASSWORD
  4. The target system boots to a text-based environment, giving the network address under which the graphical installation environment can be addressed by any SSH client.

  5. On the controlling workstation, open a terminal window and connect to the target system as described in Section 11.4.2, “Connecting to the Installation Program”.

  6. Perform the installation as described in Chapter 8, Installation Steps.

  7. Reconnect to the target system after it reboots for the initial system configuration. For details, see Part V, “Initial System Configuration”.

11.2.4 Installation from Network via SSH Edit source

This type of installation does not require a direct interaction with the target machine. The system is booted via PXE and the installation data is fetched from a server.

To perform this type of installation, make sure that the following requirements are met:

  • At least one machine that can be used for installing a DHCP, NFS, HTTP, FTP, TFTP, or SMB server.

  • Target system capable of PXE boot, networking, and Wake on LAN, plugged in and connected to the network.

  • Controlling system with working network connection and SSH viewer software.

To perform this type of installation, proceed as follows:

  1. Set up the server that contains the installation data. For details, see Part IV, “Setting Up an Installation Server”.

  2. Set up a DHCP and TFTP server for the network. This is described in Chapter 17, Preparing Network Boot Environment. Add the required boot parameters to enable the SSH server.

  3. Enable PXE boot in the target machine firmware. For more information, see Section 17.4, “Preparing the Target System for PXE Boot”.

  4. Initiate the boot process of the target system using Wake on LAN. This is described in Section 17.5, “Using Wake-on-LAN for Remote Wakeups”.

  5. On the controlling workstation, open an SSH client software and connect to the target system as described in Section 11.4, “Monitoring Installation via SSH”.

  6. Perform the installation as described in Chapter 8, Installation Steps.

  7. Reconnect to the target system after it reboots for the initial system configuration. For details, see Part V, “Initial System Configuration”.

11.3 Monitoring Installation via VNC Edit source

Using any VNC viewer software, you can remotely control the installation of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server from virtually any operating system. This section introduces the setup using a VNC viewer application or a Web browser.

11.3.1 Preparing for VNC Installation Edit source

To enable VNC on the installation target, specify the appropriate boot parameters at the initial boot for installation (see Chapter 7, Boot Parameters). The target system boots into a text-based environment and waits for a VNC client to connect to the installation program.

The installation program announces the IP address and display number needed to connect for installation. If you have physical access to the target system, this information is provided right after the system booted for installation. Enter this data when your VNC client software prompts for it and provide your VNC password.

Because the installation target announces itself via OpenSLP, you can retrieve the address information of the installation target via an SLP browser. There is no need for any physical contact with the installation target itself, provided your network setup and all machines support OpenSLP:

Procedure 11.1: Locating VNC installations via OpenSLP
  1. Run slptool findsrvtypes | grep vnc to get a list of all services offering VNC. The VNC installation targets should be available under a service named YaST.installation.suse.

  2. Run slptool findsrvs YaST.installation.suse to get a list of installations available. Use the IP address and the port (usually 5901) provided with your VNC viewer.

11.3.2 Connecting to the Installation Program Edit source

There are two ways to connect to a VNC server (the installation target in this case). You can either start an independent VNC viewer application on any operating system or connect using a JavaScript-enabled Web browser.

Using VNC, you can control the installation of a Linux system from any other operating system, including other Linux flavors, Windows, or macOS.

On a Linux machine, make sure that the package tightvnc is installed. On a Windows machine, install the Windows port of this application, which can be obtained at the TightVNC home page (http://www.tightvnc.com/download.html).

To connect to the installation program running on the target machine, proceed as follows:

  1. Start the VNC viewer.

  2. Enter the IP address and display number of the installation target as provided by the SLP browser or the installation program itself:

    IP_ADDRESS:DISPLAY_NUMBER

    A window opens on your desktop displaying the YaST screens as in a normal local installation.

Using a Web browser to connect to the installation program makes you totally independent of any VNC software or the underlying operating system. As long as the browser application has JavaScript support enabled, you can use any browser (Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chromium, Opera, etc.) to perform the installation of your Linux system.

Note that the browser VNC connection is not encrypted.

To perform a VNC installation, proceed as follows:

  1. Launch your preferred Web browser.

  2. Enter the following at the address prompt:

    http://IP_ADDRESS_OF_TARGET:5801
  3. Enter your VNC password when prompted to do so. The browser window now displays the YaST screens as in a normal local installation.

11.4 Monitoring Installation via SSH Edit source

Using SSH, you can remotely control the installation of your Linux machine using any SSH client software.

11.4.1 Preparing for SSH Installation Edit source

In addition to installing the required software package (OpenSSH for Linux and PuTTY for Windows), you need to specify the appropriate boot parameters to enable SSH for installation. See Chapter 7, Boot Parameters for details. OpenSSH is installed by default on any SUSE Linux–based operating system.

11.4.2 Connecting to the Installation Program Edit source

After you have started the SSH installation, use this procedure to connect to the SSH session.

  1. Retrieve the installation target's IP address. If you have physical access to the target machine, take the IP address the installation routine provides in the console after the initial boot. Otherwise take the IP address that has been assigned to this particular host in the DHCP server configuration.

  2. In a command line, enter the following command:

    ssh -X root@TARGET_IP_ADDRESS

    Replace TARGET_IP_ADDRESS with the actual IP address of the installation target.

  3. When prompted for a user name, enter root.

  4. When prompted for the password, enter the password that has been set with the SSH boot parameter. After you have successfully authenticated, a command line prompt for the installation target appears.

  5. Enter yast to launch the installation program. A window opens showing the normal YaST screens as described in Chapter 8, Installation Steps.

11.5 Monitoring Installation via Serial Console Edit source

For this installation method, you need a second computer connected by a null modem cable to the computer on which to install SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. Hardware and firmware of both machines need to support the serial console. Some firmware implementations are already configured to send the boot console output to a serial console (by providing a device tree with /chosen/stdout-path set appropriately). In this case no additional configuration is required.

If the firmware does not use the serial console for the boot console output, set the following boot parameter for the installation: console=TTY,BAUDRATE. For details, see Section 14.2.5, “Editing Menu Entries during the Boot Procedure” and Chapter 7, Boot Parameters.

BAUDRATE needs to be replaced by the baud rate for the interface. Valid values are 115200, 38400, or 9600. TTY needs to be replaced by the name of the interface. On most computers, there is one or more serial interfaces. Depending on the hardware, the names of the interfaces may vary:

  • ttyS0 for APM

  • ttyAMA0 for Server Base System Architecture (SBSA)

  • ttyPS0 for Xilinx

For the installation, you need a terminal program like minicom or screen. To initiate the serial connection, launch the screen program in a local console by entering the following command:

tux > screen /dev/ttyUSB0 115200

This means that screen listens to the first serial port with a baud rate of 115200. From this point on, the installation proceeds similarly to the text-based installation over this terminal.

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