Automated Installation over Network with Cobbler

Some tips and hints for Deploying Ubuntu Installations from A Cobbler Server. Cobbler provides PXE booting and kickstart / preseed file generation and serving.

Installation of Cobbler

See elsewhere.

Example paths are for Cobbler 2.2.3 on CentOS 6

Integrating Ubuntu Installation in Cobbler

Get the Netboot images

Download the netboot.tar.gz file from here: and extract it. Copy the folder ubuntu-installer to the root of your tftpboot directory. (e.g. /var/lib/tftpboot/)

Add Ubuntu to the PXE-Menu

There are two possibilites. One is that you adapt the pxemenu Templates (e.g. /etc/cobbler/pxe/pxedefault.template)

Manually add the PXE Menu Entries

You can just load the original ubuntu pxe menu by adding following:

LABEL UBUNTU Precise 64bit
        kernel menu.c32
        append ubuntu-installer/amd64/boot-screens/menu.cfg

Or you can directly add the enries provides by the menu.

You can find working menu entries in the downloaded netboot files (main file: menu.cfg). Make shure you only copy the entries, not the styling of the menu and the default marker. (e.g. ubuntu-installer/amd64/boot-screens/txt.cfg)

label install
        menu label ^Install
        kernel ubuntu-installer/amd64/linux
        append vga=788 initrd=ubuntu-installer/amd64/initrd.gz -- quiet

label autoinstall
        menu label ^Desktop Auto Install unattended
        kernel ubuntu-installer/amd64/linux
        append vga=788 initrd=ubuntu-installer/amd64/initrd.gz auto url=  debian-installer/locale=en_US netcfg/choose_interface=auto priority=critical --

Add Ubuntu Distro and Profile in Cobbler

Create a new Distro. Add the location to the kernel and initrd


Set Breed and OS Version.

Create a Profile, Select the Distro. Enter the desired Parameters to the Kernel Options:  -- priority=critical netcfg/choose_interface=auto vga=788 debian-installer/locale=en_US 

!NOTE: Options get sorted automatically. Thats why the option  auto url=  won't work.

If you want to serve a Preseed file enter the local path to it.  /var/lib/cobbler/kickstarts/ubuntu_puzzle.seed 

! NOTE: These file get parsed by Cheetah! To bypass cheetah. Add  #raw  at the beginning of the file and  #endraw  at the end.

Preseed File

Here's the offical example with many useful annotations and references to further resources:

Addition: The options for partman/crypto are basically undocumented. To fully automatise the setup with encrypted Harddisk-Passphrase use following:

# crypto with preseeded passphrase
d-i partman-auto/method string crypto
d-i partman-crypto/passphrase password yourpassphrase
d-i partman-crypto/passphrase-again password yourpassphrase

The rest of the crypto method is the same as LVM.


Enterprise/Cobbler (last edited 2013-06-07 21:47:44 by michael-zaugg)