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I want to install Fedora 12 on lots (>100) machines with the same system. These system is a little special:

Each has 4G to 12G memory, but no HD. So we need to install system into memory.

We want to:

1) Automatically installation through network: just power on the machines, all the machines install Fedora 12 OS into memory automatically.

2) We don't want lots network I/O after the installation finishes (it's better the whole OS is in memory). The installation may done through mounting a ISO through network.

Please help, thanks!

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You will want to net boot (probably pxegrub?), load a ramdisk from the network, then boot or pivot-root into it.

This is not hard but will take some planning.

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Does the BIOS support a network boot? Are all of your systems of the same type? This one of the things that needs to be considered to determine how to setup a boot server(s).

Wikipedia has a network booting article that provides some information about the process. You'll need to take a look at your BIOS documentation to better understand what can be setup and how it is done. It may be necessary to enter network information into the BIOS on each server for instance.

Note that while the GRUB PXE documentation allows for a network boot, the GRUB bootstrapping code it still expected to be accessible somewhere on each system. Since your servers are diskless, this means that this code must be accessible via a bootable floppy or other media source.

Unfortunately either it way the process is probably not to be as automated as expected.

Fedora also has a couple of documents you should take a look at: Booting from the Network using PXE and Setting Up an Installation Server.

In terms of network traffic, how is each server to save files? Certainly things like logs will need to be stored somewhere remotely. The amount of traffic could be substantial depending on certain situations such as when debug settings are enabled or high activity, however this is atypical and dependent on how things are configured plus the environment.

I would certainly try to trim the system (OS, applications, ...) as much as possible to reduce network usage if this is a concern, but suspect that this might ultimately be lower on your list of concerns.

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No one enters network information into the BIOS; the DHCP server handles all that. – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Apr 30 '11 at 8:34
This can be done with iPXE/etherboot ROM which can have things like a wireless ssid and such. – sosc Apr 30 '11 at 9:18

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