- Installation And Basics
- Manpage documentation
- If You Need More Starter Information
- Physical Machine Installation
- Virtualization Automation
- Kickstart Templating
- Package Update Mirroring Features (Optional)
- Network Management Features
- Usage with Red Hat Enterprise Linux
- Continued Management of Installed Systems
- Firmware Updates
- Power Management
- Simple Tips And Tricks
- Advanced Section: More Tips And Tricks
- Advanced Section: Cobbler Server Migrations
- Advanced Section: Security Choices (for WebUI / XMLRPC )
- Advanced Section: Internals
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.
- DownloadInstructions -- Download instructions for RPMs and DEB files, and how to set up yum to be able to get Cobbler updates.
- Getting Started With Importing Content : Guide on how to import distributions from DVD or mirrors and get going quickly
- Web Interface: using the Cobbler Web interface, and how to set it up
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
- Fairly up to date introductory presentation (HTML)
- Red Hat Magazine Article -- a bit dated, but good
- screencast -- demo of CLI options. shows cobbler basics, requires flash but not sound, please ignore the typos :)
- How We Model Things : the different "object" types in cobbler and how we represent your content and systems for easy manipulation
- Charts And Graphs -- Look at shiny architecture or workflow diagrams
- Support for Other Distributions : Have something that is not Red Hat or Fedora based?, here's more info about how Cobbler supports them.
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
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.
- Installing Virtual Guests -- an overview of how to do virtualization installs with koan+cobbler, start here
- Virtual Networking Setup for use with koan
- VMWare -- how to use Koan with VMware instead of Xen or qemu/KVM
- Koan with Isos -- How to configure cobbler to allow for repeatable based-ISO deployment (including non-Linux VMs such as Windows)
- Virtual Image Cloning -- How to create a virtual "appliance" image and deploy it on a very large number of systems repeatedly without installing.
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.
- Integrated Package Management and Mirroring : using Cobbler to manage yum repositories for fun and profit
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.
- Integrated DHCP Management: cobbler can take care of DHCP management for you also
- Integrated DNS Management: cobbler can use BIND for DNS management
- Advanced Networking: Using Cobbler to deploy advanced networking configurations (bonding and VLANs are covered here)
Usage with Red Hat Enterprise Linux
Cobbler supports many varieties of Linux, but here are some special tips for making RHEL management easier.
- Tips for RHN : Ways to make cobbler/RHN/RHEL life even easier
- We recommend that RHEL users configure EPEL-testing as described in DownloadInstructions.
- Satellite 5.3 and beyond have an embedded Cobbler server, see also http://fedorahosted.org/spacewalk
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.
- Built-in Configuration Management : using cobbler as a lightweight configuration management system
- Using Cobbler With A Configuration Management System : different ways to control the mappings between cobbler and things like Puppet
- Func Integration : even easier Func setup with Cobbler
Here are some instructions for using Cobbler to push out Vendor specific firmware updates
- HP Firmware Updates : using Cobbler to update firmware on HP Proliant hardware
- Dell Firmware Updates : using Cobbler to update Dell firmware
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.
- Remote Virt Management: Easier virt deployment all in one central place using a variety of transports
- Replication: cobbler can replicate configurations to other cobbler servers for performance and disaster recovery
- Creating Install ISOs: Here's how to build net install CD's with a menu of all of your profiles on them, in one easy step
- Anaconda Monitoring : Using the anaconda installation monitoring feature for tracking and logging install progress remotely
- System Retirement and Secure Erasure: how to securely wipe a system with Cobbler and DBAN
- Auto Registration : how to create Cobbler System records during PXE
- Multiple Cobbler Server Addresses
- ppc network boot support : How to use yaboot to simulate PXE to network boot your systems.
- s390 mainframe support : How to use the zpxe PXE simulator that is built into cobbler, and how it works
- Clonezilla Integration : How to use clonezilla-live with cobbler for duplicating any OS type
- Microsoft Systems Center Configuration Manager Integration : How to add a PXE menu item that will boot a SCCM install CD
- PXE Boot Menu Passwords : How to set a password on the PXE menu
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.
- Relocating Your Install : what if I don't want cobbler data in my /var partition?
- Moving Your Install to another Server : How do you go about moving your cobbler install to another box?
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
- 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
- Troubleshooting (basically a Cobbler FAQ)
- Virtualization Troubleshooting (specifically related to cobbler+koan and virtualization)
- Anaconda Network Issues (Fedora Wiki)
- Kickstart Options (RHEL docs)
- Kickstart Options (Fedora docs)
- SuSE AutoYast documentation
- Kickstart mailing list
- Custom Search Engine for kickstart-list
- Custom Search Engine for cobbler's mailing list