I've been looking at OpenSolaris a lot more of late, and in particular I've been trying to work with AI, the Automated Installer.

AI replaces what we've all come to know and love, JumpStart.

There are a couple of issues with AI at the moment, from my own point of view.

1) The documentation constantly alludes to using Sun's DHCP server. Pretty much any established company one is ever likely to work in will not be using Sun's DHCP server.

2) All the configuration information is done with XML.

The point of this post is to address the former - the latter can be saved for a rant on another day.

When you create an AI install service, don't bother with the DHCP information. Just run a la

installadm create-service -s /export/aiimages/osol-0906-ai-x86.iso -n 0906x86 /export/aiserver/osol-0906-ai-x86

Then, in your own DHCP server, use the statements commonly used for setting up PXE boot. For me, this is ISC's DHCPd, and in this particular case the very old version 2 (I'm doing AI testing in VMware - I run up the images in the NAT network of VMware fusion and hack the dhcpd.conf for vmnet8). Here's the snippet from my dhcpd.conf

host osolai {
 hardware ethernet 00:0c:29:bf:9d:b8;
 next-server 172.16.152.11;
 filename "pxegrub.I86PC.OpenSolaris-1";
}

The next-server here is another virtual, this time running my OpenSolaris 2009.06 install server. The filename is dished up from tftp, and you can see yours in /tftpboot (the -1 may be different).

Simple - now you'll get a PXEgrub menu when you boot the VM for the first time.


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