Cobbler and the Dell OpenManage Deployment Toolkit #2

Cobbler and the Dell OpenManage Deployment Toolkit was a quick example of getting the DTK set up to boot via Cobbler. This post will add the ability to automatically register the system with cobbler and assign it to a hardware-specific profile. When you have a bunch of systems automatically added to Cobbler, you will just have to apply those configurations that make each host unique (like hostname and IP address).

Once this step is mastered, we can go a bit further in the next post and add customization of the BIOS, BMC, and RAID configurations.

The methods being used here, with separate directories for each tool, allow for, well… separation. You could make one directory, download all the RPMs, extract them, and create one big script to copy them to the booted DTK environment. The below method better allows for upgradability, separates out dependencies, and is self-documenting.


  • Instructions in the first post were followed.
  • Tools like wget and rpm2cpio are installed.
  • Your workflow for kickstarting systems is a little more complex than: netboot the new server, pick a Cobbler menu item, enjoy your new system. *

* My $EMPLOYER uses multiple hardware models and configurations for a single application. We roll an entire cabinet of new hardware into our datacenter and then power it all up. Our workflow allows for discovery and classification of the hardware models and looks like: netboot the new server (preferably this is the default on new hardware); automatically boot to a default discovery + configuration + regisitration profile; once they appear in Cobbler, manually assign Hostname/IP Address/Kickstart Metadata to each system; wait for each system to reboot and load OS; puppet picks up OS configuration and application installation; enjoy our new systems.
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Cobbler and the Dell OpenManage Deployment Toolkit

This is an example of how to get Dell’s Deployment Toolkit to work with Cobbler. This will allow you to configure the BIOS, BMC, and RAID via commandline tools.


  • Cobbler is already set up.
  • NFS exports are already configured. This example assumes that the Cobbler server is also the NFS server, but they can be different with a little work on your part. There are two exports: Read-Only (/srv/nfs/ro) and Read-Write (/srv/nfs/rw).

Download the toolkit: dtk_3.5.1_27_Linux.iso

Extract the DTK ISO to the local filesystem:

cd /srv/nfs/ro
mount -o ro,loop dtk_3.5.1_27_Linux.iso /mnt
mkdir -p /srv/nfs/ro/dtk-3.5.1/
rsync -av /mnt/ /srv/nfs/ro/dtk-3.5.1/
umount /mnt
chmod -R u+w /srv/nfs/ro/dtk-3.5.1/

Create the script that the DTK will run:

cat <<EOF >/srv/nfs/ro/dtk-3.5.1/

exec /bin/bash
chmod 0755 /srv/nfs/ro/dtk-3.5.1/

Add the DTK as a distro in Cobbler (substitute the IP of your NFS server):

cobbler distro add --name=dtk-3.5.1 \
--arch=i386 --breed=debian \
--kernel=/srv/nfs/ro/dtk-3.5.1/isolinux/SA.1 \
--initrd=/srv/nfs/ro/dtk-3.5.1/isolinux/SA.2 \
--kopts "ramdisk_size=156482 Stage3_type=cdrom DEBUG=0 quiet share_type=nfs share_location=${NFSIP}:/srv/nfs/ro/dtk-3.5.1/ share_opts=ro,nolock selinux=0"

Create a Cobbler profile:

cobbler profile add --name=dtk-3.5.1-shell --distro=dtk-3.5.1

You should now be able to boot your Dell server via the network to the Cobbler menu and choose “dtk-3.5.1-shell”. You should end up with a shell with the DTK environment on the server’s console.