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I'm going to setup a Linux server on a remote site. This server will be absolutly clean, nothing installed on it. People on remote site will receive the server, plug in network, power on and put in a CD/DVD. They cannot do anymore. I cannot get the server before for initial setup.

I was thinking to customize a systemrescuecd that will do the following:

  • IP config via DHCP from WAN router
  • Open a reverse ssh connection to a known (my) server

Are there anymore references for that problem ?

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Have you explored other remote console possibilities? Any system already on the site and physically close to yours, and which has either USB or serial port should be sufficient for a console connection. Supply the site with appropriate cable, connect to the existing machine, and run terminal software from that.

If their DHCP server is a "real computer" it might be a good candidate to use as the gateway terminal.

cheers! sapp3r

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Assuming you can't change the firewall at all, the original solution doesn't sound too bad.

If you could open a port or two, I'd have the manufacturer preconfigure an IPMI card for Serial over LAN, and have them plug in a second network cable on site. Takes out the need to modify another machine on site.

This would also work if there's an existing ssh gateway somewhere on the network.

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As noted by Joe, your original plan seems on track. A rescue or live cd, customized, would be fine for that. Unfortunately, I don't have any references to link. Any of the live cd builders would provide that functionality fairly easy, with some minimal scripting.

Depending on the amount of system administration you will be providing after the initial setup, it may be worth looking into an RSA card, in addition (or in lieu) to what you are already planning. Some of the better/newer RSA modules even allow remote ISO mounting etc.

It seems as though you plan on sending them a pre-built CD. You could easily preconfigure the card and send it along as well.

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