OPS1070: How to create a fully automated, fully customized JumpStart Server

Written by Anthony Tonns, 20010907, draft 1


Copyright (c) 2001 Anthony Tonns
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this
document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License,
Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software
Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and
no Back-Cover Texts.  A copy of the license is included in the
section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".
GNU Free Documentation License

Table of Contents


  1. How To Use The JumpStart Server


  2. General overview
  3. Specifications
  4. Core JumpStart Setup
  5. Rules, sysidcfg and Profiles
  6. Scripts
  7. You down wit OBP?


  8. Updating the Recommended Patch Cluster
  9. Adding/Removing Packaged Software

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How To Use The JumpStart Server

If you don't care how the JumpStart server was created, etc. and just want to use it, follow these quick steps
NOTE: You must have the serial console on the machine to make this work

How To Use The JumpStart Server

IMPORTANT NOTE: When assigning a 'hostname' to a machine, DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT use the name of the network that it's on as part of the hostname (ie: hostname.bup or hostname.filer). You MUST use just the plain 'hostname'

At the Office (512 7th)


At Exodus


[where 'hostname' is the name of the new machine, and 'jump1.jump' is the correct interface on the jumpstart server]
  1. add 'hostname' to /etc/hosts (unused IP address greater than .17)

  2. add 'hostname' to /etc/ethers

  3. mkdir /jump/cfg/hostname

  4. cp /jump/cfg/build1/sysidcfg /jump/cfg/hostname

  5. cd /jump/os/Solaris_2.7/Tools; \
    ./add_install_client -c jump1.jump:/jump/etc \
    -p jump1.jump:/jump/cfg/hostname \
    hostname sun4u

  6. write-enable the EEPROM (J2003)

  7. from the "ok" prompt of the machine:

    boot net /u2flash
    boot net /u1flash

  8. blah blah blah update OPB

  9. write-disable the EEPROM (J2003)

  10. from the "ok" prompt of the machine:

    boot net - install

  11. when the install is complete:

    cd /jump/os/Solaris_2.7/Tools; \
    ./rm_install_client hostname

[where 'hostname' is the name of the new machine, and 'jump0.bup' is the correct interface on the jumpstart server]
  1. add 'hostname' to /etc/hosts (unused IP address on bup network)

  2. add 'hostname' to /etc/ethers

  3. mkdir /jump/cfg/hostname

  4. cp /jump/cfg/build1/sysidcfg /jump/cfg/hostname

  5. cd /jump/os/Solaris_2.7/Tools; \
    ./add_install_client -c jump0.bup:/jump/etc \
    -p jump0.bup:/jump/cfg/hostname \
    hostname sun4u

  6. write-enable the EEPROM (J2003)

  7. from the "ok" prompt of the machine:

    boot net /u2flash
    boot net /u1flash

  8. blah blah blah update OPB

  9. write-disable the EEPROM (J2003)

  10. from the "ok" prompt of the machine:

    boot net - install

  11. when the install is complete:

    cd /jump/os/Solaris_2.7/Tools; \
    ./rm_install_client hostname

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General Overview

A JumpStart server allows you to install a SPARC-based server over the network.
The JumpStart server documented here allows you to do much more than that. The following features are included: This document assumes you have a familiarity with installing Solaris and know how to configure Solaris systems.

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Operating System

The OS installed here is Solaris 7. While conversion to Solaris 8 would be trivial, there are plenty of complications involving multiple CDs, etc. For details, you can check the Solaris 7 Advanced Installation Guide and the Solaris 8 Advanced Installation Guide located on docs.sun.com. Also, JumpStart has NO facility to handle the automation of the Maintenance Update (MU) set of patches. Thus, you want to use the LATEST edition of the OS (the version is usually the date of it's release). If there is another release of the OS, there are two options:

  1. You create a new JumpStart server (easy if you have this document)
  2. Rename /jump/os to /jump/os.old, copy the CD again (see step 3 of Core JumpStart Setup) and re-copy the OBP to the install Boot directory

Hardware Platform

The target platform for this JumpStart server is the Ultra-class machine "sun4u" or better. It also assumes you are installing the 64 bit version of the OS. Although there is no free (as in speech or beer) 64bit compiler available at this time (2001/09/07), Solaris 64bit can run/compile all 32bit code with the exception of kernel modules. Thus, we will take advantage of this technological improvement.

Disk Drives

The target harddrive size for the server is 9GB or better. While Solaris 7 can be installed on a 4GB or even 2GB drive, additional drives besides them will be needed to applications, patches, etc. to make the machine 'usable'. Basically, you mileage may vary depending on usage. :)

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Core JumpStart Setup

Creating a JumpStart server is basically a Catch-22. You need to install a system to install systems >8). As part of this process, every time I've built a custom JumpStart server, I've done it at LEAST twice. The first server is basically an out-of-the-box install with a few tweaks to get me going. The second server is built from the JumpStart template, and is totally up-to-spec. However, we'll just jump right in here, and you can figure it out how you want to deal with it yourself...

  1. Create a partition on an existing Solaris 7 server that's at least 2GB and mount it on /jump

  2. Create the following directories (the first two are required for a core setup, the others are for a custom setup)
  3. /jump/os - where Solaris 7 lives
    /jump/etc - your main JumpStart config directory

    /jump/etc/scripts - custom JumpStart scripts
    /jump/patch - location of the Recommended patch cluster
    /jump/cfg - location of the sysidcfg files
    /jump/pkg - place for packages to be installed (both SunFreeware and local)
    /jump/local - place for files needed by customization scripts (not packages)
    /jump/var - the area to screw around with, compile sources, etc. etc.
    I strongly recommend that you also create /jump/etc/RCS and /jump/etc/scripts/RCS so that you can use revision control as you modify your custom JumpStart configs.

  4. Copy the Solaris 7 OS to the /jump/os directory with the following command:
  5. cd /cdrom/sol_7*sparc_sun_srvr/Solaris_2.7/Tools
    ./setup_install_server /jump/os
    NOTE: This will take _some_ time, as the CD is big (and slow)

  6. Enable TFTP by adding the following line to inetd.conf:
  7. tftp    dgram   udp     wait    root    /usr/sbin/in.tftpd      in.tftpd -s /tftpboot
    Also, make sure to mkdir /tftpboot

  8. Copy over the sample JumpStart configs as a starting point:
  9. cd /jump/os/Solaris_2.7/Misc/jumpstart_sample
    tar cf - . | ( cd /jump/etc; tar xf - )
  10. Enable RPC, nfs.client and nfs.server

    mv /etc/rc2.d/s71rpc /etc/rc2.d/S71rpc
    mv /etc/rc2.d/s73nfs.client /etc/rc2.d/S73nfs.client
    mv /etc/rc3.d/s15nfs.server /etc/rc3.d/S15nfs.server
  11. NFS share the JumpStart directory by adding to the end of your /etc/dfs/dfstab

    share -F nfs -o ro,anon=0 -d "jumpstart" /jump
    At this point you can "start" the RPC, nfs.client and nfs.server scripts.

Now you have an elementary JumpStart server, that can install Solaris 7 over the network. If this is all that you wanted, you can follow Sun's documentation on How to Set Up Systems to be Installed Over the Network With add_install_client. Pay closed attention to step 2, where the hostname, IP address and ethernet address need to be added to /etc/hosts and /etc/ethers before running add_install_client.

Additional preparation for installation of ssh

When installing OpenSSH, the process that generates it's host keys depends on a good source of random numbers. When installing OpenSSH from a system already built, the pre-package psuedo-random number generator that comes with OpenSSH is sufficient. However, when installing the custom iVillage OpenSSH package prior to the first boot, there is clearly not enough psuedo-random data. Thus, we will not use the pseduo-random number generator, but use the SUNWski package available from Sun (shipped with Sun Web Server). To do this, we must first install it on the install boot system, then edit the startup scripts so it starts cryptorand, the random number generator. To install the package:

pkgadd -d SUNWski.pkg -R /jump/os/Solaris_2.7/Tools/Boot SUNWski

Now edit the /jump/os/Solaris_2.7/Tools/Boot/sbin/sysconfig script (you might want to back it up first as sysconfig.orig) changing at the VERY end of the script:

exec /sbin/suninstall
mkdir -p /var/etc
/etc/init.d/cryptorand start

exec /sbin/suninstall

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Rules, sysidcfg and Profiles

These files enable the automation of the install process. However, it leaves you with a clean, vanilla and extremely vulnerable Solaris install. For the most part, these are three aspect of the JumpStart will not need changing. However, for those who like to meddle with things (like myself) you might want to know a little more about them in case you do want to change them.


The JumpStart process begins with the /jump/etc/rules file. Each rule in the rule file "distinguishes a group of systems based on one or more system attributes, and it links each group to a profile, which is a text file that defines how the Solaris software will be installed on each system in the group" (from the Solaris Advanced Installation Guide). First, you need to comment out all the sample rules in the rules file. This can be done in vi with ":%s/^/#/g".

Then, for the iVillage setup, add these generic rules to the end of the rules file:

# generic rules
karch sun4u && disksize c0t0d0 3500-4500 \
        ivil_begin ivil_4gb ivil_finish

karch sun4u && disksize c0t0d0 8100-9900 \
        ivil_begin ivil_9gb ivil_finish

karch sun4u && disksize c0t0d0 17100-18900 \
        ivil_begin ivil_18gb ivil_finish

Basically, the distingushing attributes we use are kernel architecture and size of the boot disk.


Combined with the profile, the sysidcfg file is really what "automates" the install portion of the JumpStart server. It allows you to preconfigure the most basic system information without user interaction. Here is a sample sysidcfg file:

network_interface=PRIMARY {netmask=}

For the most part, this will never change. The only item that has a chance of changing is the network_interface parameter. The "PRIMARY" interface will usually default to hme0. Thus, you might want to make this qfe0, or whatever is appropriate. Note that the name_service is set explicitly to "NONE". Solaris trys to do wacky things if you attempt to use thier DNS setup. This will be tuned later in the scripts section. If you want to customize the sysidcfg file further, you can look at the documentation.


All the profiles that are used are very similar. You can take a look at the 4GB, 9GB or 18GB profiles, and see that they are vary by parition size. They each configured so when you 'JumpStart' a machine, it will:

Also note that a small 10MB partition 7 is named /mirror, so that the disk can be later mirrored with SDS. It's unlikely you'll need to create a custom profile.

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As you can see from the rules file above, all profiles use the same begin and end scripts. This is where most of the work is done. For the most part, the ivil_begin does nothing. It's just there so it can be used in the future. However, the ivil_finish is the meat-n-potatoes of the custom JumpStart. Specifically, it does:

  1. NFS mount /jump from the JumpStart server onto the installing system's /tmp/jump

  2. Run /tmp/jump/etc/scripts/patch_finish to install 7_Recommended

  3. Run /tmp/jump/etc/scripts/software_finish to install SunFreeware and custom local software

  4. And finally run /tmp/jump/etc/scripts/custom_finish to 'tweak' the installation (security, convenience, etc.)

All of these scripts depend upon the NFS mount. While the ivil_finish does double-check to make sure that the /tmp/jump/etc directory is there, it it worth noting that without the NFS mount, none of the customizations will work. Thus, if the JumpStart server ever changes, subnets, networks, etc. the ivil_finish script will need to be edited so that the network information about the NFS server is updated.


Basically, patch_finish is a modification of the patch script included with the Solaris OS that installs patches that were available when the CD for the OS was masters. For our usage, the variable SOL_PATCHDIR will be pointint to the directory /tmp/jump/patch/recommended/7_Recommended. More information can be obtained from the comments in the beginning of the script itself:

# iVillage modified patch_finish
# ATonns Thu Aug 30 12:49:37 EDT 2001
# Modifications are as follows:
# 1) SOL_PATCHDIR has been changed to reflect the location of the
#    NFS mounted patch directory
# 2) The order which patches are installed is no longer determined by:
#       patches=`\ls -rt .`
#    instead it is done by:
#       patches=`cat $SOL_PATCHDIR/patch_order`
# You can diff the patch_finish.orig with the copy from the Solaris CD
# (/cdrom/sol_7_1199_sparc_sun_srvr/s0/Solaris_2.7/Tools/Boot/usr/sbin/install.d/install_config/patch_finish)
# to check to see if there has been any additional updates


This is a big pkgadd for-loop based upon the packages in /jump/pkg. The file /jump/pkg/pkg_order determines what order the packages in the directory are installed, as to prevent dependency problems. Thus, to add more package-based software to your JumpStart server, just pkgtrans the package into a directory package, move it to /jump/pkg and add it's package name to the pkg_order file.


This is the most complex of all the JumpStart scripts. There are several dozen customizations that are performed, all using the most basic of UNIX tools that are part of the installation OS boot. As of now (2001/10/22) here are the customizations that are performed:

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You down wit OBP?

Yeah, you know me.

To enable you to update the OpenBoot PROM (OBP) quickly and over the network, you need the latest OBP patches. The patch-id's as of 2001/10/22 are [Sunsolve login required]:

Uncompress and untar them in /jump/var/OBP and then:

cp 104169-08/flash-update-Ultra2-latest /jump/os/Solaris_2.7/Tools/Boot/u2flash
cp 104881-07/flash-update-Ultra1-latest /jump/os/Solaris_2.7/Tools/Boot/u1flash

Now you just need to "boot net /u2flash" or "boot net /u1flash" once add_install_client has been run to update the OBP.

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Updating the Recommended Patch Cluster

Assuming you've downloaded the latest 7_Recommended.zip into /tmp, this can be done in five (or six) simple steps:

cd /jump/patch
mv recommended recommended.old
mkdir recommended
cd recommended
unzip -q /tmp/7_Recommended.zip
cd..; rm -rf recommended.old

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Adding/Removing Packaged Software

Adding a package

  1. First, your package must be in directory (filesystem) format. If you don't know what a directory package is, read the manual pages from Sun's documentation on it. To get it into directory format, use the following command:

    pkgtrans filename.pkg . all
    Each package will be in it's own directory.

  2. Move these directorie(s) into the /jump/pkg directory

  3. Add the name of the package(s) (example: GNUrcs) to the end of /jump/pkg/pkg_order

Removing a package

  1. Edit /jump/pkg/pkg_order and remove the package id(s) you no longer want auto-installed on JumpStart

  2. Remove the corresponding subdirectory(ies) from /jump/pkg

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