Last modified 5 years ago Last modified on 10/10/11 16:53:05

Learn more about Cobbler. See how to set it up and perform tasks. Explore advanced features that may be useful in your environment.

Installation And Basics

Start here to learn about what Cobbler can do and how to set it up.

Manpage documentation

The Cobbler manpage is also an excellent resource. Install cobbler and koan and then run the following commands to read them:

man cobbler
man koan

Not all command line options are mentioned in the Wiki, but they will generally be mentioned in the manpages.

If You Need More Starter Information

Physical Machine Installation

One of the main features of Cobbler is help you roll out new physical machines in a fully-automated way.

  • Basic PXE setup is described in UsingCobblerImport
  • Reinstallation -- how to use Koan for adding a reinstall option to grub, for when PXE is not possible
  • BuildIso -- when you need to install baremetal systems in an automated way and can't use PXE and/or DHCP infrastructure, Cobbler provides alternatives

Virtualization Automation

Koan can be used (run on the host machines, talks to cobbler) to help automate virtual machine installation. This is one of the primary functions of Cobbler -- to serve installs of not only physical machines, but also virtual ones.

Kickstart Templating

One of the main features of Cobbler is a kickstart templating engine that can help users tame a sea of unruly kickstarts for automating their OS and application installations, making it possible to share Snippets of code between them, or substitute variables into kickstart files.

  • Kickstart Templating : examples using Cobbler with profile and system specific kickstart templating
  • Kickstart Snippets : a cookbook of snippets for use in kickstart templates
  • Extending Cheetah: for those of you who really want to get carried away with kickstart templating (Advanced Topic!)

Package Update Mirroring Features (Optional)

Packages are closely related to installation. Cobbler can help you mirror updates as well, and ensure that installed systems are configured to get those updates that you mirror. In some cases, you can also make sure systems are up to date with all of the latest packages at the end of OS installation.

Network Management Features

DHCP and DNS are low level network services closely related to (and needed for) installation. Cobbler can optionally help you keep your DHCP and DNS configurations manageable. It can also help you configure advanced network features not neccessarily supported natively in kickstart, including bonding and VLANs. If you don't want to use these advanced options, you can just set up DHCP to point to your PXE server and not have Cobbler manage it -- which is a perfectly fine thing to do. However, if you'd like to get out of the game of editing DHCP/DNS configuration files, this section is for you.

Usage with Red Hat Enterprise Linux

Cobbler supports many varieties of Linux, but here are some special tips for making RHEL management easier.

Continued Management of Installed Systems

Cobbler can either be it's own (very simple) configuration management system or can help you out to use another configuration management system (like Puppet) alongside it.

Firmware Updates

Here are some instructions for using Cobbler to push out Vendor specific firmware updates

Power Management

Cobbler can help you control systems in diverse power management environments, including helping you out with virtual systems.

Simple Tips And Tricks

A few small and not-so-so small useful things that don't fit into other categories.

  • Command line search : ask questions about your configuration using the command line.
  • Batch Editing : Want to edit a lot of objects at once?
  • Memtest: How cobbler auto-discovers memtest and adds it automatically to your PXE menus
  • Graphical Installs : How do I do graphical installs? Easy.
  • How to Boot Live CDs : How do you boot a linux live CD over PXE?
  • All About Images: Some options for dealing with things that don't fall into the kernel+initrd model
  • Filesystem ACLs : use "cobbler aclsetup" to grant cobbler usage to non-root users (instead of granting sudo access)

Advanced Section: More Tips And Tricks

Sometimes a simple netboot infrastructure and a single install server is not enough. If you have a large number of systems, a static network, or special requirements, items in this section may be for you. If you have a simple DHCP network with one Cobbler server, you can probably ignore this section for now.

Advanced Section: Cobbler Server Migrations

If you need to move Cobbler to another machine or change where it is storing data, this section is for you.

Advanced Section: Security Choices (for WebUI / XMLRPC )

What sort of security controls are available for the web application and XMLRPC API consumers?

  • Security Overview -- general security overview on how to define your security policy
  • Authentication -- choose what to autheticate against
    • Kerberos -- how to authenticate against Kerberos
    • LDAP -- how to authenticate against Ldap
  • Authorization -- choose what users get what access controls
  • Lock Down -- if you're a multi-user cobbler install, mdehaan's recommendations. Also includes SELinux notes.

See DeveloperDocs for more about API integration options.

Advanced Section: Internals

  • File System Information -- what lives where in a cobbler install, and where the important files are at.
  • Developer Docs -- how to extend cobbler, interact with it via other software, as well as contribute to it


A list of resources to look into when encountering problems with Cobbler, virtualization, kickstart, and related IT infrasructure