installing RedHat from the network

Here is a mini howto install a RedHat distro on a machine which does not have a cdrom player, but a nic with etherboot.
In this example, I will detail how I installed a dual cpu Opteron with Etherboot on an eepro 100 from my laptop running Fedora core 3.

  1. Get the iso images from RedHat and store them into /home/iso
  2. mount the iso images :
    mkdir /mnt/rhel-3-AMD64-disc1 /mnt/rhel-3-AMD64-disc2 /mnt/rhel-3-AMD64-disc3 /mnt/rhel-3-AMD64-disc4
    mount -t iso9660 -o loop,ro /home/iso/rhel-3-AMD64-disc1.iso /mnt/rhel-3-AMD64-disc1
    mount -t iso9660 -o loop,ro /home/iso/rhel-3-AMD64-disc2.iso /mnt/rhel-3-AMD64-disc2
    mount -t iso9660 -o loop,ro /home/iso/rhel-3-AMD64-disc3.iso /mnt/rhel-3-AMD64-disc3
    mount -t iso9660 -o loop,ro /home/iso/rhel-3-AMD64-disc4.iso /mnt/rhel-3-AMD64-disc4
  3. concatenate the iso images on a ftp server
    mkdir /var/ftp/rhel-3-AMD64
    mount -t unionfs -o dirs=/mnt/rhel-3-AMD64-disc1=ro:/mnt/rhel-3-AMD64-disc2=ro:/mnt/rhel-3-AMD64-disc3=ro:/mnt/rhel-3-AMD64-disc4=ro none /var/ftp/rhel-3-AMD64
  4. Start the ftp server if necessary
    service vsftpd start
  5. create the boot image
    cd /tftpboot
    cp /var/ftp/rhel-3-AMD64/images/pxeboot/vmlinuz /var/ftp/rhel-3-AMD64/images/pxeboot/initrd.img .
    mknbi-linux --output=kernel.nbi vmlinuz initrd.img
  6. update the dhcp server configuration. here is a sample :
    ddns-update-style interim;
    subnet netmask {
        option vendor-encapsulated-options 3c:09:45:74:68:65:72:62:6f:6f:74:ff;
        host rhel {
            hardware ethernet xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx;
            filename "kernel.nbi";
  7. restart the dhcpd server
    service dhcpd restart
  8. Boot the target machine, enter the bios and choose to boot on the eepro card
  9. The machine is now booting on the image it got from the network
  10. Choose a ftp install, choose dhcp, enter the ip adress of the ftp server and the directory

And now it is just like a normal install !