February 7, 2017

Methods for installing Linux massively or remotely?

Hello, people.

A friend asked me for help about CentOS installation, for a university degree research.
I don't know exactly what he will do, but he'll configure a cluster (I don't know what type) with equipment that provided the faculty.

My question is, is there any method to install massively or automatically/remotely the operating system from the server/main node to the rest of equipments (nodes)?
Nodes aren't connected to Internet, only the server/main node.

We investigated a little and found something about netinstall. But apparently it still requires Internet connection and manual configuration on each computer.

Another option was something about PXE installation. It requieres a DHCP server and a TFTP server. But it still requires installation and manual configuration on each computer.

The last option found was about Kickstart installation. With this option we save time to manually configure, since we only insert the CentOS Minimal installation CD and a USB memory labeled OEMDRV with the file ks.cfg (something like that).
Nevertheless, we have to insert the CD and the USB memory on each computer.

If we don't find another option, we may opt for the Kickstart installation. Could some give us any recommendations, please?

Another detail.
The NICs of the computers are nVIDIA nForce 6100-430 MCP61P, and the CentOS 7 installation wizard doesn't recognize any network devices.
We tested on a computer, installed still without recognizing the network device and once installed, we installed the package kmod-forcedeth (copied with a USB memory). We rebooted and the network card was already recognized by CentOS 7.
Also we tried with CentOS 6 and this one had no problems to recognize the network device from the installation wizard.

Now, taking into account the above (of wanting to install CentOS automatically, or at least remotely) and the detail of CentOS 7 with the network card, what could you recommend us, please?
Would you recommend CentOS 6 due to the NIC detail? Or what could we do?

What we want is to avoid being physically going to each computer and installing CentOS.
For the part of the manual configuration, there would be no problem, but as long as we do it from the server/main node. Is that possible?
I mean, it doesn't matter that we install one by one, but we would like to do so from the server/main node.

We both have little experience on Linux, and my friend asked me for help as I move a little on this one.

I appreciate any help and information in advance.
Greetings.

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