One of the reasons why you love EasyDCIM is probably the extent to which it automates all sorts of processes going on under the roof of your data center. But as you will see for yourself in a few moments, the milestone 1.5.0 version of you favorite control panel brings the subject of automation to a whole new level!

When a hobby becomes a nuisance

As a technological geek you certainly get a kick out of the whole ritual surrounding the installation of a new server. But will the thrill be equally as intense when installing not one or a few, but a hundred of operating systems? Highly doubtful. In such a situation you will be grateful for the tools which help to automate the system implementation process along with a complete configuration. Why else is automation so important for data centers? Let us stop on this subject for a moment.

The more computer devices in the company’s infrastructure, the higher the cost of their implementation, future maintenance and ultimate shutdown. But money is not the only problem. Apart from the fact that your employees are doomed to lose a lot of valuable time on routine tasks, there is also the issue of increased failure rates and worse transparency of complex systems. During installation of operating system, one must also cope with hundreds of drivers, technical specifics, and other additional tasks like installing occasional patches. That is quite a lot to digest, isn’t it?

Luckily for you, automation solves most of these concerns – guarantees the most economic resource usage, provides you with unlimited control over various processes, and reduces the need for manual routine tasks to the minimum.

Automation of operating systems – benefits

The profits of implementing a solution based on automatic operating system installer are both many and tangible. For starters, automation enables to add whole operating systems along with services, applications and all additional configuration by simply duplicating the administrator-defined installation templates. The results are immediate. Since automatic deployment is simply much faster than manual installation, you can spend the saved time on, for example, making another server ready for use. What is more, EasyDCIM allows you to run multiple network installations simultaneously. Being based on configuration files and scripts, these operations do not allow for any errors – something which cannot be said about an activity performed manually by human.

EasyDCIM is also a great way to standardize your configuration. By installing many identical servers, it is much easier later on to navigate through their settings, diagnose failures, anticipate possible problems, and introduce comprehensive changes. Another crucial advantage of the implementation lies in the ease of use. Although the very preparation of a complete environment and configuration of its numerous tools can be both time-consuming and quite complicated, the installation of new servers after that is a smooth sailing and should cause no trouble to even the less experienced users.

The technical perspective

Servers operate basing on such services as DHCP, TFTP, HTTP and kickstart answer files. Each new dedicated server is launched from the network. While downloading settings from the DHCP server, our dedicated server also detects the EasyDCIM installation server and receives from it the list of available templates – possible to implement scenarios. In the very basic one, the profile includes a specific operating system distribution and a kickstart file containing the answers for the installer. By choosing a selected profile, you can then install the desired operating system without the need to supervise it personally. When it comes to a slightly more complex scenario, profiles are enriched with additional scripts that can not only install services and user accounts but also upload appropriate configuration files and perform a suite of other tasks in the newly added systems. EasyDCIM also allows to maximally optimize the implementation of operating systems understood as the automatic installation of a complete system containing all the required configuration. The more delegated tasks, the less manual work will be required with each new server.

During the installation of an operating system installation, EasyDCIM performs a series of specific actions in a fully automatic manner:

1. Based on the MAC Address field of the device, EasyDCIM regenerates the configuration file of the DHCP server.

2. The device is restarted using IPMI, PDU or a manual method and entered into the PXE boot mode.

3. The device is launched in the PXE boot mode.

4. The device requests DHCP server to assign the IP address set in the IP Address field in EasyDCIM.

5. The DHCP server assigns the appropriate IP address.

6. The appropriate bootloader file is downloaded from the TFTP server and then uploaded to the device’s memory.

7. Based on the correct bootloader file, the kickstart file containing the configuration of the selected operating system is requested from EasyDCIM.

8. The kickstart file is downloaded from the specified IP address of the EasyDCIM server.

9. Automatic installation of the operating system is commenced via the kickstart file:

  • Downloading the required system files
  • Running the pre-installation scripts
  • Setting the time zone
  • Setting the language
  • Disk partitioning
  • Creating a user account and setting the root password
  • Setting the parent IP address
  • Setting additional IP addresses and network interfaces
  • Installing additional system packages
  • Running post-installation scripts
  • Finishing the installation

10. Once the installation has been completed successfully, a suitable notification is sent to EasyDCIM.

This principle of operation is used for most installation templates. While some templates may vary in certain respects, the operating principle remains the same.

Now, let us see how this theory works in practice!

Manual installation of operating systems raises more problems than being just extremely laborious. More often than not it requires unwavering attention and excellent technical know-how, too. And there is always the risk that despite your best efforts, you may inadvertently mess up a few crucial steps in the process.

With the new EasyDCIM v1.5.0 already on the loose, you may take the bother of manual OS installation off your mind entirely, and do something more interesting in the meantime. Like, for example, checking out some other principal functionalities of this ground-breaking novel version:

Learn more about this most anticipated edition of EasyDCIM ever and bring a boon of automation to your data center!

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