Setting up Sun/Linux machines

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Installing Linux Machines

Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) machines are installed over the network, much like a Windows RIS, but require less user interaction. You will need a machine that is registered on the campus network, an active network port, and a RHEL boot cd. Since the install is done over the campus network, you can install a RHEL machine from any location, but in the Wolftech workroom you can use the bays on the two right-hand tables. There are two network switches to connect to, one for VLAN 436 (Faculty/Staff), and one for VLAN 437 (Research).

Three things to note: first, make sure you have the proper boot CD, as there are separate CDs for 32 and 64bit, and the version of the boot CD must match the version that is being installed. If you need a new boot CD, you can download the ISO files from Campus Linux Services.

Second, the RHEL install will work with any network card except the Marvell Yukon onboard NICs found in the JWBs. For those machines you will need to install a PCI network card (preferably 3COM) for the install to work. Once the installation is finished, you can switch back to the onboard NIC.

Third, at this time, RHEL does not work with PCI-Express video cards. Future updates may fix this problem, but for now, replace with an AGP card.

Set up RHEL install

  • Register machine on campus network.
  • Email us and ask to setup the machine for a RHEL install. Let him know whether it is 32 or 64bit RHEL, and give him the FQDN of the machine. If you are going to do the installation outside of the workroom, let him know which building you will be installing it in.

Start the install

  • After Micah has done the setup, set up the machine and boot it to the RHEL boot CD. For Dells, IBMs, and HP/Compaqs, hit F12 to reach the boot menu, for JWBs, hit F8.
  • The machine will run the boot agent on the CD, connect to the network by DHCP, and download the image files for the installation. If the installation stops at this point it's usually one of two reasons. Either it cannot get a network connection via DHCP (bad NIC, bad cable, incorrectly registered, wrong subnet, etc) or it's downloading the wrong setup files (meaning you are using the wrong boot CD). Fix the problem and reboot the machine.
  • Once the machine reaches the graphical portion of the install, you may remove the boot CD from the drive. You'll know the graphical portion has started once you see a Realm Linux title screen showing a picture of the Bell Tower.
  • The install should take about 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the machine. You don't need to do anything more until the install is finished.

After the install

  • If a JWB, switch the computer's network connection from the PCI card you installed back to the onboard NIC.

Installing Sun Machines

Like a Linux machine, you must first email Micah and ask him to set up the Sun machine for an install. Let him know the FQDN of the machine and let him know which building the machine is being set up in.

While Sun machines can be installed in any building, it is better to install them in the building that they will be used in, because they do not DHCP quite as well as Linux machines. Make sure the machine is registered in the building it will be used, and talk to Brian or Micah if it needs to be changed.

Once the machine is set up, turn it on. When the monitor starts displaying video, hit STOP+A on the Sun keyboard. This will halt the boot up and bring you to an OK>> prompt. At the prompt, input the following command:

OK>> boot net:dhcp - install

The boot up will resume (or the machine may restart and start the net boot) and will attempt to net boot to start the install. Keep an eye on the machine to make sure the install starts. Once it does, you can leave it be and it will finish on its own. Most installation failures occur very early, so if you don't see anything wrong, most likely nothing will happen.

The most common issue is "Timeout waiting for ARP/RARP packet". This means that the net boot cannot start because of some network issue. Double-check the network connection, the cable, and make sure the machine is properly registered in the building (DNS may not have updated yet), and restart the net boot if necessary. Once the machine is finished installing, ask Micah or Brian to add any necessary users.