Ignite/UX ... The Series

Writing is a bewildering hobby. A few months ago I wrote about Ignite/UX because Icouldn't come up with a better subject. It was a "best idea" at the time.But, it turns out that more people replied with requests for additional information onthat subject than any other in the history of the column. Go figure.

Well, give the people what they want, so this column begins a series on usingIgnite/UX. If you missed it, the introduction and overview was in my August 1998 column. Isuggest reading it again before digging in this month.

Most of my e-mail was from people who had a hard time getting automatic installationsto work properly. That takes the guesswork out of what to cover this month. We'll assumethat we want to make automatic, hands-off Ignite/UX software installations over thenetwork from a "Golden Image" file. In the next few columns we'll talk about howto accomplish this, plus throw in some extra details for further customization and largerscale applications of the task.

Let's start with a list of the steps required to setup hands-off installations.

  1. Install Ignite/UX on what will be the Ignite Server.
  2. Configure the Ignite Server.
  3. Install any Boot Helpers (if needed).
  4. Make the "Golden Image" host.
  5. Create the Archive file from the Golden Image.
  6. Create/edit your Ignite configuration files.
  7. Setup for Ignite clients.
  8. Ignite clients as needed.

As mentioned in the first column get the latest version of Ignite/UX fromwww.software.hp.com. Be sure to choose the right one, as it is available for differentversions of HP-UX and hardware types. Once you ftp the tar file down, do a chmod 644<ignite-tar-file> to the tar file, and set the owner as root. If your Ignite servercurrently has Net-Install loaded on it, you must remove it before installing Ignite. Thisis most easily done by creating a file with a really long name before the install ofIgnite: touch /tmp/okay_to_remove_net_install. This will allow the swinstall toautomatically remove Net-Install. You can use a command such as swinstall -s<ignite-tar-file> \* to start the installation.

The swinstall installation makes changes to the following files: /etc/PATH,/etc/MANPATH /etc/inetd.conf and /etc/exports. The inetd file was edited to allow tftpdaccess to /opt/ignite and /var/opt/ignite. The exports file should have been edited tocontain /var/opt/ignition/clients -anon=2. You might want to check the exports file asI've seen the edit process fail before. Also, the command exportfs -a should have beeninvoked to actually get the clients directory exported. Check on it and re-invoke theexportfs -a command if needed.

Once installed, invoke the /opt/ignite/bin/ignite program. (Ignore the error messageabout there being no clients yet.) This GUI is based on the Microsoft look and feel (Yech)of "tab" divided sections. Eventually you will use the Options/Server-Config tabto set items such as adding a pool of IP addresses for use during installs, defaultconfiguration name and where to run the GUI. I say eventually, because most of thesethings will be decided later in the setup process, though the documentation seems to thinkyou will know the answers now.

It is a good idea to browse around the GUI a bit. In real life, you're not forced touse the GUI, but it can be occasionally helpful.

Two things that should be set immediately. One falls under the Options/Session-optionstab. Make sure you enable "confirm new clients," or some cluster client mightinadvertently boot from the Ignite server and get software loaded on it. This can reallyruin someone's day. The other is to point the Ignite server at a software Depot.

Another way to do the initial Ignite server configuration is to run the script/opt/ignite/bin/setup_server. You might want to skip adding many DHCP address entriesuntil you read a later column when we'll talk about the pros and cons of doing so (add oneaddress for use to build the Golden Image host).

At this point, make a note of the /opt/ignite/share/doc directory -- there are severalguides and manuals in there that are rather helpful. The man pages are in/opt/ignite/share/man. If you are using CDE, just logout and upon login your MANPATHvariable will be set correctly to find them.

Clients locate the Ignite server via broadcasts. If your Ignite server is behind arouter/gateway such that a broadcast cannot reach it, you need to install a Boot Helperserver. This is a host that is setup to listen for Ignite boot request broadcasts andresponds with a packet telling the client where the Ignite server really is and whichgateway to use to get to it.

They're simple to setup, just install the Ignite/UX.MinimumRuntime fileset and performa couple configuration steps, such as assigning the IP address of the Ignite server.You'll need to set up a Boot Helper in every subnet that has Ignite clients where abroadcast does not reach the Ignite server. The configuration of Ignite Servers and BootHelpers is addressed in detail in HP's book "Ignite/UX Startup Guide for SystemAdministrators," which is included with Ignite/UX and found in the/opt/ignite/share/doc directory.

The Ignite server (assuming you added at least one DHCP test IP address) is now openfor business -- at least for manual installations. Now, use it to create a Golden Image.We do this in our education classes for practice, but actually the Golden Image host couldbe created with normal swinstall software installation also.

The Golden Image host is to be a clean OS installation, with everything you wantconfigured or installed setup on it. Think of it as the master copy of the installationyou want on all your Ignite clients. Remember that there might be more than one GoldenImage for different machine types, configurations, or application sets.

The goal is to create a fully installed and configured machine on similar hardware anddisk configuration to those that you will be installing with Ignite. Of course, this willwipeout the disks on that machine, so be sure that it is a willing volunteer.

To use Ignite to create this image host, power on the image host to the boot_adminprompt, then use search lan install and boot from the Ignite server. Another more fun wayis to check out the remote install capability of Ignite.

Login to the Ignite server as root and make sure the target image host is powered up.You can now run the bootsys -w -f <image-host> command. This copies a new kernel tothe image host, then has it reboot on that kernel, causing an Ignite session to be run.The GUI will appear on the Ignite server. You can now use the four tabs of Basic,Software, System and fileSystem to configure, then install the host.

Next, be sure that all applications you want in this image are loaded and configured.Also perform any configurations that you want on all recipients of this Golden Image.

Next time we'll create the actual Image file, essentially a tar of the entire system,minus any host specific files.

--Fred is currently trying to sell his idea for IGNITE...The Series to Hollywood.