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I'm wondering if it's possible to do a network installation (PXE Boot) from a disk image.

I know that I could use Kickstart files or Cobbler but my servers have a lot of custom settings (additional repositories, Nginx config files etc.) so I would have to write a lot of scripts in the Kickstart/Cobbler files.

I was thinking to create a disk image of the current server and then just install it via PXE boot on another machine?


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up vote 1 down vote accepted

I've tried maintaining installations with both imaging (as you're describing) and scripted installations (via kickstart/cobbler), and I've found the scripted installations to be much more maintainable. The kickstart can evolve over time and it is a perfect reference as to how to recreate the server.

That said, if you do want to try imaging, try looking into SystemImager:

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I maintain a library of scripted installs, both for Linux and Windows. Imaged based installs are nice in a way but they tend to get very cumbersome very fast. They also don't age well.

The best solution I've found for our Linux boxes is a PXE boot / kickstart that when complete fires off a round of configuration updates from our Puppet environment. I seriously thought about using cobbler but in the end using the same tool for building and maintaining my systems won out. This works exceedingly well.

I can build a fully functional system - including software packages, yum settings, configurations, etc - in under 30 minutes. This includes everything from the software packages to setting up linked servers within Splunk, heartbeat, etc.

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