Outsource appliance build. – Day 2 – Dirty Notes.

Today is day 2 of this project and it seems to grow bigger each minute. The complexity of it is a little bit overwhelming so hopefully I can keep my sanity, keep my job and keep the other tasks and projects I'm working on afloat.

None of my attempts to get an alternate boot menu for pxe-boot worked. I tried over a dozen combinations of menu systems using menu.c32. I have a couple more hours today to work on this then I need to move onto the scripting part. You see, the main part of this project is outsourcing the production of appliances. I wanted to test the ability to put any serial number in the BIOS so I could query it and do the script magic. This would reassure me that the BIOS accepts our Serial Number format, and I can actually look for it in my script. If this proves to be as difficult today as it did yesterday then I will skip it and move onto the script magic. Ultimately the manufacturer will be entering the SN into the BIOS themselves so I really don't need to worry about it too much, but I did want to test with the actual information that will be in there. Oh well, a few more stabs at it and if I get no results, I'm moving on.

For now, the Serial Number is blank so I'll have to use another similar field to do my testing. Then I'll switch this at the last minute for some final QA and hopefully call it a day.

Machines I'm working with.

  • DHCP server. This was in place already and I rather not build out another one just for this, afterall we want to keep using this. Uname -a reports this: SunOS dchpserver 5.9 Generic_122300-04 sun4u sparc SUNW,UltraAX-i2
  • Kickstart server. Also already in place, in conjunction with the DHCP server, this kicks ass. I'm almost affraid to muck with it. Uname -a reports this: Linux kickstartserver 2.6.9-42.EL #1 Sat Aug 12 09:17:58 CDT 2006 i686 athlon i386 GNU/Linux
  • My iMac and MBP. My main tools, iMac is my primary workstation, but in ocassion I need to go to the Network room, or our build lab,  and I bring my MacBook Pro to do work in there. I can use these two systems almost interchangably but I like my iMac's dual screen setup.
  • 3 appliances total (one representing each major model). I'm initially doing the work on just one, the entry level model. This is the "weakest" of the 3 and could have the most restrictions on what I can do. I'm using this as sort of "lowest common denominator" The other 2 appliances should have all the features this one has plus extras.
  • Generic Linux Box. Used this system to compile, decompile, ftp, ssh, wgets, making images, isos etc. Always handy to have a linux scratchbox on hand. This is a Fedora 10 box running virtual on our Oracle VM manager. Plus I hate the Sun stuff on the DHCP server, lots of missing utilities like vim, or wget, even rsync,  and all of the stuff that is done the "sun-way" just kinda drives me nuts. I prefer GNU stuff.