KVM Virtual Machine RHEL 8.3 Linux install on Redhat 8.3 Linux Hypervisor with custom tailored kickstart.cfg

Friday, 22nd January 2021

kvm_virtualization-logo-redhat-8.3-install-howto-with-kickstart

If you don't have tried it yet Redhat and CentOS and other RPM based Linux operationg systems that use anaconda installer is generating a kickstart file after being installed under /root/{anaconda-ks.cfg,initial-setup- ks.cfg,original-ks.cfg} immediately after the OS installation completes. Using this Kickstart file template you can automate installation of Redhat installation with exactly the same configuration as many times as you like by directly loading your /root/original-ks.cfg file in RHEL installer.

Here is the official description of Kickstart files from Redhat:

"The Red Hat Enterprise Linux installation process automatically writes a Kickstart file that contains the settings for the installed system. This file is always saved as /root/anaconda-ks.cfg. You may use this file to repeat the installation with identical settings, or modify copies to specify settings for other systems."


Kickstart files contain answers to all questions normally asked by the text / graphical installation program, such as what time zone you want the system to use, how the drives should be partitioned, or which packages should be installed. Providing a prepared Kickstart file when the installation begins therefore allows you to perform the installation automatically, without need for any intervention from the user. This is especially useful when deploying Redhat based distro (RHEL / CentOS / Fedora …) on a large number of systems at once and in general pretty useful if you're into the field of so called "DevOps" system administration and you need to provision a certain set of OS to a multitude of physical servers or create or recreate easily virtual machines with a certain set of configuration.
 

1. Create /vmprivate storage directory where Virtual machines will reside

First step on the Hypervisor host which will hold the future created virtual machines is to create location where it will be created:

[root@redhat ~]#  lvcreate –size 140G –name vmprivate vg00
[root@redhat ~]#  mkfs.ext4 -j -b 4096 /dev/mapper/vg00-vmprivate
[root@redhat ~]# mount /dev/mapper/vg00-vmprivate /vmprivate

To view what is the situation with Logical Volumes and  VG group names:

[root@redhat ~]# vgdisplay -v|grep -i vmprivate -A7 -B7
  Segments               1
  Allocation             inherit
  Read ahead sectors     auto
  – currently set to     8192
  Block device           253:0

 

  — Logical volume —
  LV Path                /dev/vg00/vmprivate
  LV Name                vmprivate
  VG Name                vg00
  LV UUID                VVUgsf-FXq2-TsMJ-QPLw-7lGb-Dq5m-3J9XJJ
  LV Write Access        read/write
  LV Creation host, time lpgblu01f.ffm.de.int.atosorigin.com, 2021-01-20 17:26:11 +0100
  LV Status              available
  # open                 1
  LV Size                150.00 GiB


Note that you'll need to have the size physically available on a SAS / SSD Hard Drive physically connected to Hypervisor Host.

To make the changes Virtual Machines storage location directory permanently mounted add to /etc/fstab

/dev/mapper/vg00-vmprivate  /vmprivate              ext4    defaults,nodev,nosuid 1 2

[root@redhat ~]# echo '/dev/mapper/vg00-vmprivate  /vmprivate              ext4    defaults,nodev,nosuid 1 2' >> /etc/fstab

 

2. Second we need to install the following set of RPM packages on the Hypervisor Hardware host

[root@redhat ~]# yum install qemu-kvm qemu-img libvirt virt-install libvirt-client virt-manager libguestfs-tools virt-install virt-top -y

3. Enable libvirtd on the host

[root@redhat ~]#  lsmod | grep -i kvm
[root@redhat ~]#  systemctl enable libvirtd

4. Configure network bridging br0 interface on Hypervisor


In /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0 you need to include:

NM_CONTROLED=NO

Next use nmcli redhat configurator to create the bridge (you can use ip command instead) but since the tool is the redhat way to do it lets do it their way ..

[root@redhat ~]# nmcli connection delete eno3
[root@redhat ~]# nmcli connection add type bridge autoconnect yes con-name br0 ifname br0
[root@redhat ~]# nmcli connection modify br0 ipv4.addresses 10.80.51.16/26 ipv4.method manual
[root@redhat ~]# nmcli connection modify br0 ipv4.gateway 10.80.51.1
[root@redhat ~]# nmcli connection modify br0 ipv4.dns 172.20.88.2
[root@redhat ~]# nmcli connection add type bridge-slave autoconnect yes con-name eno3 ifname eno3 master br0
[root@redhat ~]# nmcli connection up br0

5. Prepare a working kickstart.cfg file for VM


Below is a sample kickstart file I've used to build a working fully functional Virtual Machine with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.3 (Ootpa) .

#version=RHEL8
#install
# Run the Setup Agent on first boot
firstboot --enable
ignoredisk --only-use=vda
# Use network installation
#url --url=http://hostname.com/rhel/8/BaseOS
##url --url=http://171.23.8.65/rhel/8/os/BaseOS
# Use text mode install
text
#graphical
# System language
#lang en_US.UTF-8
keyboard --vckeymap=us --xlayouts='us'
# Keyboard layouts
##keyboard us
lang en_US.UTF-8
# Root password
rootpw $6$gTiUCif4$YdKxeewgwYCLS4uRc/XOeKSitvDJNHFycxWVHi.RYGkgKctTMCAiY2TErua5Yh7flw2lUijooOClQQhlbstZ81 --iscrypted
# network-stuff
# place ip=your_VM_IP, netmask, gateway, nameserver hostname 
network --bootproto=static --ip=10.80.21.19 --netmask=255.255.255.192 --gateway=10.80.21.1 --nameserver=172.30.85.2 --device=eth0 --noipv6 --hostname=FQDN.VMhost.com --onboot=yes
# if you need just localhost initially configured uncomment and comment above
##network В --device=lo --hostname=localhost.localdomain
# System authorization information
authconfig --enableshadow --passalgo=sha512 --enablefingerprint
# skipx
skipx
# Firewall configuration
firewall --disabled
# System timezone
timezone Europe/Berlin
# Clear the Master Boot Record
##zerombr
# Repositories
## Add RPM repositories from KS file if necessery
#repo --name=appstream --baseurl=http://hostname.com/rhel/8/AppStream
#repo --name=baseos --baseurl=http://hostname.com/rhel/8/BaseOS
#repo --name=inst.stage2 --baseurl=http://hostname.com ff=/dev/vg0/vmprivate
##repo --name=rhsm-baseos В  В --baseurl=http://172.54.8.65/rhel/8/rhsm/x86_64/BaseOS/
##repo --name=rhsm-appstream --baseurl=http://172.54.8.65/rhel/8/rhsm/x86_64/AppStream/
##repo --name=os-baseos В  В  В --baseurl=http://172.54.9.65/rhel/8/os/BaseOS/
##repo --name=os-appstream В  --baseurl=http://172.54.8.65/rhel/8/os/AppStream/
#repo --name=inst.stage2 --baseurl=http://172.54.8.65/rhel/8/BaseOS
# Disk partitioning information set proper disk sizing
##bootloader --location=mbr --boot-drive=vda
bootloader --append=" crashkernel=auto tsc=reliable divider=10 plymouth.enable=0 console=ttyS0 " --location=mbr --boot-drive=vda
# partition plan
zerombr
clearpart --all --drives=vda --initlabel
part /boot --size=1024 --fstype=ext4 --asprimary
part swap --size=1024
part pv.01 --size=30000 --grow --ondisk=vda
##part pv.0 --size=80000 --fstype=lvmpv
#part pv.0 --size=61440 --fstype=lvmpv
volgroup s pv.01
logvol / --vgname=s --size=15360 --name=root --fstype=ext4
logvol /var/cache/ --vgname=s --size=5120 --name=cache --fstype=ext4 --fsoptions="defaults,nodev,nosuid"
logvol /var/log --vgname=s --size=7680 --name=log --fstype=ext4 --fsoptions="defaults,nodev,noexec,nosuid"
logvol /tmp --vgname=s --size=5120 --name=tmp --fstype=ext4 --fsoptions="defaults,nodev,nosuid"
logvol /home --vgname=s --size=5120 --name=home --fstype=ext4 --fsoptions="defaults,nodev,nosuid"
logvol /opt --vgname=s --size=2048 --name=opt --fstype=ext4 --fsoptions="defaults,nodev,nosuid"
logvol /var/log/audit --vgname=s --size=3072 --name=audit --fstype=ext4 --fsoptions="defaults,nodev,nosuid"
logvol /var/spool --vgname=s --size=2048 --name=spool --fstype=ext4 --fsoptions="defaults,nodev,nosuid"
logvol /var --vgname=s --size=7680 --name=var --fstype=ext4 --fsoptions="defaults,nodev,nosuid"
# SELinux configuration
selinux --disabled
# Installation logging level
logging --level=debug
# reboot automatically
reboot
###
%packages
@standard
python3
pam_ssh_agent_auth
-nmap-ncat
#-plymouth
#-bpftool
-cockpit
#-cryptsetup
-usbutils
#-kmod-kvdo
#-ledmon
#-libstoragemgmt
#-lvm2
#-mdadm
-rsync
#-smartmontools
-sos
-subscription-manager-cockpit
# Tune Linux vm.dirty_background_bytes (IMAGE-439)
# The following tuning causes dirty data to begin to be background flushed at
# 100 Mbytes, so that it writes earlier and more often to avoid a large build
# up and improving overall throughput.
echo "vm.dirty_background_bytes=100000000" >> /etc/sysctl.conf
# Disable kdump
systemctl disable kdump.service
%end

Important note to make here is the MD5 set root password string in (rootpw) line this string can be generated with openssl or mkpasswd commands :

Method 1: use openssl cmd to generate (md5, sha256, sha512) encrypted pass string

[root@redhat ~]# openssl passwd -6 -salt xyz test
$6$xyz$rjarwc/BNZWcH6B31aAXWo1942.i7rCX5AT/oxALL5gCznYVGKh6nycQVZiHDVbnbu0BsQyPfBgqYveKcCgOE0

Note: passing -1 will generate an MD5 password, -5 a SHA256 encryption and -6 SHA512 encrypted string (logically recommended for better security)

Method 2: (md5, sha256, sha512)

[root@redhat ~]# mkpasswd –method=SHA-512 –stdin

The option –method accepts md5, sha-256 and sha-512
Theoretically there is also a kickstart file generator web interface on Redhat's site here however I never used it myself but instead use above kickstart.cfg
 

6. Install the new VM with virt-install cmd


Roll the new preconfigured VM based on above ks template file use some kind of one liner command line  like below:
 

[root@redhat ~]# virt-install -n RHEL8_3-VirtualMachine –description "CentOS 8.3 Virtual Machine" –os-type=Linux –os-variant=rhel8.3 –ram=8192 –vcpus=8 –location=/vmprivate/rhel-server-8.3-x86_64-dvd.iso –disk path=/vmprivate/RHEL8_3-VirtualMachine.img,bus=virtio,size=70 –graphics none –initrd-inject=/root/kickstart.cfg –extra-args "console=ttyS0 ks=file:/kickstart.cfg"

7. Use a tiny shell script to automate VM creation


For some clarity and better automation in case you plan to repeat VM creation you can prepare a tiny bash shell script:
 

#!/bin/sh
KS_FILE='kickstart.cfg';
VM_NAME='RHEL8_3-VirtualMachine';
VM_DESCR='CentOS 8.3 Virtual Machine';
RAM='8192';
CPUS='8';
# size is in Gigabytes
VM_IMG_SIZE='140';
ISO_LOCATION='/vmprivate/rhel-server-8.3-x86_64-dvd.iso';
VM_IMG_FILE_LOC='/vmprivate/RHEL8_3-VirtualMachine.img';

virt-install -n "$VMNAME" –description "$VM_DESCR" –os-type=Linux –os-variant=rhel8.3 –ram=8192 –vcpus=8 –location="$ISO_LOCATION" –disk path=$VM_IMG_FILE,bus=virtio,size=$IMG_VM_SIZE –graphics none –initrd-inject=/root/$KS_FILE –extra-args "console=ttyS0 ks=file:/$KS_FILE"


A copy of virt-install.sh script can be downloaded here

Wait for the installation to finish it should be visualized and if all installation is smooth you should get a login prompt use the password generated with openssl tool and test to login, then disconnect from the machine by pressing CTRL + ] and try to login via TTY with

[root@redhat ~]# virst list –all
 Id   Name        State
—————————
 2    
RHEL8_3-VirtualMachine   running

[root@redhat ~]#  virsh console RHEL8_3-VirtualMachine


redhat8-login-prompt

One last thing I recommend you check the official documentation on Kickstart2 from CentOS official website

In case if you later need to destroy the VM and the respective created Image file you can do it with:
 

[root@redhat ~]#  virsh destroy RHEL8_3-VirtualMachine
[root@redhat ~]#  virsh undefine RHEL8_3-VirtualMachine

Don't forget to celebreate the success and give this nice article a credit by sharing this nice tutorial with a friend or by placing a link to it from your blog 🙂

 

 

Enjoy !

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2 Responses to “KVM Virtual Machine RHEL 8.3 Linux install on Redhat 8.3 Linux Hypervisor with custom tailored kickstart.cfg”

  1. admin says:
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    Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/87.0.4280.88 Safari/537.36

    Because I mentioned a virsh destroy a good hint before using it or using virsh undefine is to make a backup of the created virtual machine just in case with 

     

    virsh dumpxml VM_ID > /root/VM_dump.xml or virsh dumpxml name_of_VM > ~/VM_DUMP.xml

    That is useful especially if you mistakenly input a wrong VM ID and kill the wrong VM …

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    […] On RPM based Linux distributions configuring network has a very specific structure. As a sysadmin just recently I had a task to configure Networking on 2 Machines to be used as Hypervisors so the servers could communicate normally to other Networks via some different intelligent switches that are connected to each of the interfaces of the server. The idea is the 2 redhat 8.3 machines to be used as  Hypervisor (HV) and each of the 2 HVs to each be hosting 2 Virtual guest Machines with preinstalled another set of Redhat 8.3 Ootpa. I've recently blogged on how to automate a bit installing the KVM Virtual machines with using predefined kickstart.cfg file. […]

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