Cool Solutions

The Novell Consulting Installation Framework – AutoYaST


July 2, 2013 8:59 am





Download: novell_consulting_installation_framework-autoyast.tgz

The framework is based on the experience of numerous migration projects delivered by Novell Consulting Germany over the last years and we are convinced that the effort to set up the NCIF and to adopt it to your environment will pay off even if you only have a few servers to install and manage.

The full documentation for this solution can be found at the following location:

We strongly recommend you carefully study this guide before you attempt to use the NCIF.

This Cool Solution provides the scripts and other files required to turn an Apache web server into the heart of your own installation framework. It supports the installation of the following types of servers:

  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP2
  • Novell Open Enterprise Server 11 SP1 installed from the SLES 11 SP2 DVD and the OES 11 SP1 add-on CD
  • Novell Open Enterprise Server 11 SP1 installed from the combined SLES 11 SP2 / OES 11 SP1 DVD

What do we provide?

The attached archive contains all scripts, libraries and template configuration files required by the NCIF.

In addition it provides the file inst_server.conf that will be extracted to your /etc/apache2/conf.d directory and provides the required apache configuration. The file fstab.NCIF is extracted to your /etc directory and contains the loop mounts that you will need to add to your installation server’s fstab file manually.

We also provide a script that will help you to create the ISO file with the customized boot image that you will use to boot the servers being installed.

What do you need to provide?

You should have a machine (single CPU, 4 GB RAM, Fast Ethernet) set up with SLES 11 SP2 64-bit and current patches as the basis for your installation server.

We recommend the following minimum partitioning:

Minimum Partitoning Scheme

Select the pattern “Minimal” and add the apache2 package as well as the package cdrkit-cdrtools-compat.

Download: novell_consulting_installation_framework-autoyast.tgz

Download the attached archive, copy it to the /data directory on your installation server and extract it preserving absolute names (option P). This will create the following directory structure:

  • /data/autoyast
  • /data/boot_cd_build
  • /data/install
  • /data/isos
  • update (only required if you use SMT or build your YUM repositories manually)

As mentioned before the archive contains the files inst_server.conf that needs to be placed in the directory /etc/apache2/conf.d and the file fstab.NCIF that belongs into /etc. If you should have a directory /data/etc after extracting the archive you did not preserve the absolute names and will need to copy inst_server.conf and fstab.NCIF into the appropriate directories. These two pieces are required to provide the ISO files as installation sources via http.

Copy the following ISO files to /data/isos and verify their MD5 sums:

  • SLES-11-SP2-DVD-x86_64-GM-DVD1.iso
  • OES11-SP1-addon-x86_64-CD1.iso
  • OES11-SP1-addon_with_SLES11-SP2-x86_64-DVD.iso

Add the entries from /etc/fstab.NCIF to your fstab file manually and execute the mount -a command. Verify that the three ISO files have been mounted under /data/install in the appropriate sub-directories.

Reload your apache web server and verify that you can browse the following directories from your web browser:

http://<IP|DNS of your webserver->/autoyast | install | isos | update/

Next you need to provide a source for the SLES 11 SP1 updates, SLES 11 SP2 updates and the OES 11 SP1 updates that will be deployed as part of the initial installation. This can be either a Subscription Management Tool (SMT) server or a ZCM server that is mirroring the updates from

If you should choose to use SMT we recommend to install it on the installation server. To link the updates to the NCIF you just have to create a symbolic link in the appropriate directory underneath /data/update. If for instance you are mirroring to /data/smt you would need to create the following link for the SLES 11 SP1 updates:

/data/update/sles11/sp1/sp1_prod -> /data/smt/repo/$RCE/SLES11-SP1-Updates/sle-11-x86_64/

You also need to create the corresponding links for the SLES 11 SP2 updates as well as for the OES 11 SP1 updates. You will need to modify the media_url tags in your add-on definition files to reference these links (see Field 04 in /data/autoyast/configs/server.txt) and you will need to enable support for symbolic links in /etc/apache2/conf.d/inst_server.conf.

Providing the YUM repositories from a ZCM server should work automatically if you are following the guidelines given in section 12.1 of the “Novell Consulting Best Practices Guide – Automated Installation, Configuration, and Update for Open Enterprise Server 11”.

Now that you have your installation and update sources in place you need to do some customization to the xml snippets that are used by the framework.

In the file /data/autoyast/xml/default you need to replace “<<IP address of your AutoYaST server goes here>>” with the IP address of your AutoYaST server.

The framework will install the server in English and with an American keyboard mapping. If you should want to use a different server language or another keyboard mapping you will need to change them in /data/autoyast/xml/classes/general/general.xml. To find the appropriate values please use the “Autoinstallation – Configuration” in YaST as explained in our guide.

In /data/autoyast/xml/classes/general/ca_mgm.xml you need to provide information such as country, state, locality etc. as well as the password for the YaST certificate authority. The easiest way to obtain the required information is the CA management in YaST on an existing server

Some OES services require context information for LDAP searches. In afp.xml, cifs.xml, iprint.xml and netstorage.xml you need to replace “o=MyTopContext” with your context for LDAP searches for these services. AFP and CIFS support multiple contexts.

Inspect the partitioning file. If our partitioning should not meet your needs feel free to modify it or to create your own partitioning file(s). Also check the software selection files and adjust them to your needs. Don’t forget – the xml snippet for a particular service only configures the service. The pattern for the service must be included in your software selection file! Verify each media URLs in your add-on files by accessing them with a web browser.

Now you have to create your own configuration files. When making these changes be very careful to make them correctly. Invalid entries in a configuration file are the number one reason for installation failures! Always ensure the values provided are properly quoted. Also do not forget to remove the comment sign.

The first step will be to enter all the information in /data/autoyast/configs/CUSTOMER.txt. Consider this file your global configuration file where you provide all the information that is consistent across all your servers to be installed. Information about the system that you will use to update your servers can only be defined in this configuration file.

It is also the file where you define your Service Types. Basically a Service Type determines how SLES services and OES services need to be configured during installation. We provide three Service Types to get you started:

  • OES11FP0SP1_eDir
    This is a dedicated eDirectory Server hosting iManager that can be used as login server and administration server
    This is a cluster node providing file services via AFP, CIFS and NCP
  • OES11FP0SP1_Branch
    This is a branch office server providing file services via AFP, CIFS and NCP, print services, DHCP, DNS and iManager

You can define additional Service Types or modify these Service Types to meet your particular needs. For instance, if you should want your cluster nodes to also provide print services just add “:oes11/iprint.xml” to the Service Type. Always make sure that you have all patterns required by a Service Type in the corresponding software selection file that is defined in Field 08 of you /data/autoyast/configs/server.txt.

You also need to define the password for the root user in this configuration file. If you omit this step you will not be able to login to your servers!! To get the encrypted password you will need to use the Autoinstallation feature in YaST. Set your desired password there and save the xml file. Copy and paste the encrypted password from the xml file you created to the appropriate line of /data/autoyast/configs/CUSTOMER.txt.

Next create a copy of /data/autoyast/configs/templates/Your_Tree.txt, place it in the /data/autoyast/configs diectory and name it after the eDirectory tree in which you plan to install servers (Field 10 in /data/autoyast/configs/server.txt). For an eDirectory tree name XYZCORP-TREE this file would need to be named XYZCORP-TREE.txt.

The tree configuration file provides a set of settings that are also available in CUSTOMER.txt. If you provide a different value for any of these settings in your tree configuration file it will overwrite the corresponding value from CUSTOMER.txt. Even if you want to use all settings from CUSTOMER.txt you still need to create a tree configuration file – otherwise you would get an error during server installation.

Finally you can create an optional location configuration file to further fine tune your configuration settings. “Location” can represent a country, a city, a site, a building, a data center or a server room or even only a LAN segment – basically anything that defines a group of servers that needs deviating configuration information. Values provided in this configuration will overwrite the corresponding values form the tree configuration file and CUSTOMER.txt.

The last configuration file that you need to modify is /data/autoyast/configs/server.txt. You need to have one line in this file for each server that you want to install. We provide an entry for a server “Server1” that will be installed as a branch office server from the SLES 11 SP2 with OES 11 SP1 overlay DVD on HP hardware (cciss controller) on 146 GB hard disks as a template.

Copy this entry to a new line and provide the information for the first server you want to install. Carefully read the description of the 14 fields and make sure you understand what information is required in which field. Also use the instructions in lines 12-19 of server.txt to ensure that your entry has the correct number of fields. Always double-check that the IP address in Field 02 is unique as it is this address that will tell the installation process which line of server.txt to use.

If you want to install the ZCM agent as part of the initial installation you will need to download it from your ZCM server and to place it in the directory …/install/zcm/, i. e. …/install/zcm/11.2.2.

Create the symbolic link …/install/zcm/PreAgentPkg_AgentLinuxComplete.bin and point it to the agent binary in the sub-directory which you are currently using. The link will help you to easily switch to a newer version without the need to change your configuration files.

If you should not want to install the ZCM agent comment the section in …/xml/classes/scripts/scripts.xml calling

The last preparatory step before you can start your first fully automated installation is the creation of your customized boot image. You need to copy two files from /boot/x86_64/loader directory of your SLES 11 SP2 DVD to /data/boot_cd_build/kernel/sles11-SP2/x86_64: linux (the kernel) and initrd.

In /data/boot_cd_build/grub/sles11-SP2/sles11-SP2.lst you need to provide the following information where indicated:

  • the IP address or DNS name of your AutoYaST server
  • the IP address of your default gateway
  • the IP address of your DNS server
  • your DNS domain

If you should prefer to enter this information during the installation just remove the corresponding boot parameter.

In line 70 of /data/boot_cd_build/ replace “NC_CoolSolution” with your customer name.

Execute /data/boot_cd_build/ This will create your boot CD “autoyast-$CUSTOMER.iso” in your /data/isos directory.

You are all set. Mount your new boot CD on the server you want to install and off you go. If you should wonder why you only can select to install SLES 11 SP2 – whether you install a pure SLES 11 SP 2 server, or an OES 11 SP1 server, whether the OES 11 SP1 server will be installed from a classical add-on CD, or you will be using the SLES 11 SP2 DVD with OES 11 SP1 – it is all governed by the add-on configuration file identified by Field 04 of your server.txt file.

Jochen Schaefer
Peter Reck
Frieder Schmidt
Martin Weiss
– Novell Consulting Germany –

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Categories: Open Enterprise Server, Technical


Disclaimer: This content is not supported by Micro Focus. It was contributed by a community member and is published "as is." It seems to have worked for at least one person, and might work for you. But please be sure to test it thoroughly before using it in a production environment.


  1. By:peterhine

    “The attached archive contains all scripts, libraries and template configuration files required by the NCIF.”

    Where, oh where might the attached archive be ? Please edit and make it descriptive. maybe a link ?


  2. By:Stephan

    Tx for the work you made …
    Now, maybe I did not understand but it seems that there would be some files we could download …. And I do not see it …