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Trying to put together a kickstart as per this file for "true" minimal installations of CentOS 6 to run on an ESXi (v4.1u2) virtualization server (lives behind a Cisco ASA)

Ideally the OS footprint will be fairly small since I plan on running several JVM instances, each in their own CentOS VM.

The virtual stack will be:

1) Apache 2.4 web server/load balancer VM
2) MySQL 5.5 VMs (master/slave)
3) 5 JVM VMs running Java 7

I have never rolled with a near package-less install (i.e. --nobase), so am looking for advice on what the essential packages are for a minimal functional installation of CentOS 6 (note: Apache, MySQL, and Java 7 will be installed from source; i.e. not via yum/rpm).

If it's not worth the bother (i.e. CentOS minimal ISO isn't too bloated), let me know (I do have sufficient disk space, CPU cycles and RAM, but in the interest of working from a streamlined base OS, am asking the question).

Otherwise, a list of the must-have packages would be much appreciated.


share|improve this question
Why not use remi packages and jvm quiet installer? – Andrew Smith Sep 2 '12 at 18:32
errr, because I have heard of neither ;-) Thanks for the tip, will explore... – virtualeyes Sep 2 '12 at 19:02
up vote 5 down vote accepted

I'd say that this may not be worth the effort. If disk space isn't an issue and you're not running any extraneous services, there's no real impact or need to create a minimal installation. If anything, it becomes an annoyance when you need certain tools (nmap, lsof, a compiler, etc.)

In the end, my kickstarts are either minimal+packages installed via Puppet or a base+selected package groups:

# Kickstart snippet...


@ base
@ core
@ compat-libraries
@ mail-server
@ network-server
@ network-file-system-client
@ system-management
@ web-server 

share|improve this answer
+1 agreed, but it would be pointless to install, for example, a web-server on a dedicated MySQL VM, even though it and similar extra packages consume a marginal amount of disk space. It's petty I know, but I'd like to find a sweet spot to start with in a true minimal install, and then build from source the primary service (mysqld, httpd, java) on each VM without having the relative bloat. I'd also like to see how lean I can reasonably get the base install as total disk space used is unknown at this point. – virtualeyes Sep 2 '12 at 18:57
A truly minimal CentOS installation can be under 300mb. But I don't why why you refer to bloat. Why would having a particular package installed be bloat? – ewwhite Sep 2 '12 at 19:29
"relative bloat", mostly due to the fact that I don't know the actual footprint; if minimal installation is under 1GB, fine, can roll with that, but like the idea of having a streamlined set of packages suited to the VM in question, particularly the primary (and only) service that it will run (httpd, mysqld, and java respectively) – virtualeyes Sep 2 '12 at 20:05
It's not worth the effort, but what you're requesting is entirely possible. You don't need to compile the packages from source either. They are available in the REMI repository linked in another comment. – ewwhite Sep 2 '12 at 20:10
Thanks, I'll go with minimal install (REMI must be quite up-to-date if it has latest httpd, mysqld, and jdk) – virtualeyes Sep 2 '12 at 20:34

nobase is fine, but you will want to add the acpid package so that the hypervisor can cleanly shutdown and reboot the virtual machine. That's about all I can think of.

share|improve this answer
+1, but yikes, that may be a bit too lean; how about networking, ntpd, logrotate and likely many other necessary packages to run the virtual stack I have in mind? Fairly noob-ish as a Linux sysadmin, but I know enough to know that it might be a good idea to actually kickstart with some packages ;-) – virtualeyes Sep 2 '12 at 19:01
My actual "minimal" kickstart contains a lot more packages than this, of course, and comes to around 750MB after installation and puppet's first run. But your "minimal" requirements are certainly different than mine, and the rest of the world doesn't necessarily know what they are. :) – Michael Hampton Nov 21 '12 at 1:46
I wound up going with base + a few odds & ends -- works fine, great in fact, kickstarts are so very useful in VM environment ;-) – virtualeyes Nov 21 '12 at 17:47

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