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Automatically Installing Oracle® Solaris 11.4 Systems

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Updated: August 2021

Components of the Automated Installer

Automated installation consists of the following components:

  • An AI server that manages all the processes and files that are involved in automated install operations.

  • A DHCP server that provides network connectivity between the client and the AI components.

  • One or more Image Packaging System (IPS) repositories of software packages to be installed.

The components are illustrated in the following figure.

Figure 1  AI Network Example

image:Shows all of the systems needed to support AI.

An initial decision you would make in using AI is the location of these components. All three can be hosted on a single system. Co-locating particularly the AI server and the DHCP server in a common system greatly eases the administration of AI operations.

AI Server

The AI server is the software in the installadm package that executes the AI program. The package is included when you install Oracle Solaris. The AI server is composed of the following components:

  • One or more install services

  • One or more AI manifests.

  • Optional system configuration profiles.

  • Optionally, a first-boot script to perform additional configurations that cannot be managed by the manifests or the configuration profiles.

Install Services

The install service installs the operating system based on defined parameters. The AI server can manage multiple install services to serve multiple clients. An install service is mapped to a platform-OS version combination, such as Oracle Solaris 11.2 on SPARC, Oracle Solaris 11.3 on x86, Oracle Solaris 11.4 on SPARC, and so on.

AI Manifests

An AI manifest contains the parameters that define how install services install the OS, such as client provisioning, disk layout, packages to add, and so on. An install service must have at least one associated AI manifest.

You can create as many manifests as needed, each with different customized instructions to direct how the installation is performed on clients.

Clients can share multiple manifests. However, a client can use only one manifest at a time in one instance of installation.

Note - By default, AI with default settings does not include the Gnome desktop. To include the desktop in an AI, manually add the appropriate package to the list in the installation manifest, under the <software_data> section. For example:
<sofware_data action="install">

For more information about creating specialized AI manifests, see Chapter 2, Working With AI Manifests in Customizing Automated Installations With Manifests and Profiles. The chapter includes examples of manifests with customized contents.

System Configuration Profiles

System configuration profiles enable you to automate post-installation configurations, which you would otherwise have to perform manually, such as setting time zones, name services, host names, and so on.

Just as with AI manifests, you can create multiple system configuration profiles to be applied to different target clients.

For more information about creating and defining parameters in configuration profiles, see Chapter 3, Working With System Configuration Profiles in Customizing Automated Installations With Manifests and Profiles.

DHCP Server

The DHCP server manages network connections between the AI components and the clients. The DHCP server informs the AI server of the location of the CGI file to support WAN Boot clients.

To set up the DHCP server on the same system as the AI server, see Setting the AI Server to Manage DHCP.

Unlike an x86 client, a SPARC client can be configured to locate the AI server without DHCP. For alternative ways to perform AI without DHCP, see Starting Automatic Installation on Clients.

IPS Repositories

The IPS repository contains the software packages to be installed. You can also add to the repository first-boot scripts that complete client configuration at the completion of AI.

As a best practice, create repositories locally at your site. Local repositories provide advantages such as security as well as faster connectivity, which in turn makes AI operations efficient. The repository can be on the same system as the AI server or on another system on the local network.

This document does not discuss publishers and repositories. These are discussed in detail in the following guides:

Unified archives are alternatives to packages in IPS repositories. Make sure that these unified archives are network accessible. To work with unified archives, see Using Unified Archives for System Recovery and Cloning in Oracle Solaris 11.4.