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AIMS2 client

The AIMS2 client allows users to interact with the Linux Automated Installation Management System (AIMS). Using the client users can register/de-register devices for installation, register a Kickstart file for their device, provide Kernel append options and interact with the PXE boot media library.

As a side note, if you plan on performing physical automated installations in the datacenter, refer to

Install the client

The client is available through YUM for all supported CERN Linux distributions. Check{7/8al/8el/9al/9el}-stable/ for latest versions.

It is recommended to use as it includes many other related tools and will always keep the latest compatible version.

yum install aims2client


To display a short help page, execute the following.

aims2client --help

For more detailed information, execute either of the following.

man aims2client
perldoc aims2client

Authentication and Authorisation


To use the installation service you must present valid Kerberos 5 credentials. To see if you have existing credentials, run klist. If you have no Kerberos credentials, then you should run kinit.

If you have not done so already, please install the Perl Kerberos 5 libraries and run kinit again.

If you experience problems with Kerberos, please contact Linux.Support@CERN.CH.


AIMS2 introduces a new layer of authorisation around hosts/devices and PXE boot media. The following sections explain how this is implemented.

Permission to install a device

It is necessary to check if the user has permission to interact with a device to try and prevent accidental/malicious installations. Only LANDB responsible user, main user or manager of the device will be able to operate with a given node. Some administration egroups are also allowed.

In summary, if the user is listed as the device's MAIN USER or RESPONSIBLE, permission is granted for installation.

Interacting with PXE boot media

The second layer of authorisation for AIMS2 is centered around managing the PXE media library.

To upload your own images to aims, you need to seek permission from Linux.Support@CERN.CH first.

When an image is uploaded, it is owned by you. This means nobody else can remove your image except you, the given egroup and the Linux administration team.

You can share/limit the user of PXE image and kernel via the use of egroups, using the --egroups options.

How to use the client

The following sections should introduce you to the commands to be used with the client.


To register the device YOURHOSTNAME:

aims2client addhost yourhostname

To register the device YOURHOSTNAME with a Kickstart file:

aims2client addhost yourhostname --kickstart /afs/

To provide Anaconda/Kernel append options for your device:

aims2client addhost yourhostname --kopts "ksdevice=bootif ramdisk_size=36000"

To display information about YOURHOSTNAME:

aims2client showhost yourhostname

To display information about ALL registered yourhostname* nodes:

aims2client showhost yourhostname*


aims2client remhost yourhostname

To show the Kickstart file for YOURHOSTNAME:

aims2client showks yourhostname

To sync the Kickstart file for YOURHOSTNAME:

aims2client updateks yourhostname

To update the Kickstart file for YOURHOSTNAME:

aims2client updateks yourhostname --kickstart /new/kickstart/path

To enable yourhostname for installation with CC7 x86_64:

aims2client pxeon yourhostname CC7_x86_64

To display information about CC7_X86_64:

aims2client showimage CC7_X86_64 --full

To see what else is available for installation:

aims2client showimage all

Registering a device and/or Kickstart

aims2client addhost HOSTNAME [--kickstart=S] [--kopts=S] [--pxe] [--name=S]

To register your host for installation, you must provide the HOSTNAME of the device as given in the Network Database. AIMS2 will then register each interface (hardware address) that is listed in the network database for that HOSTNAME. Only interfaces that are registered should be able to obtain DHCP leases on the CERN network. Should you provide the name of an INTERFACE ALIAS, only the hardware address(es) for that interface will be registered.

To provide a Kickstart file for your installation you should use the --kickstart PATH option, where PATH is either a http:// source, somewhere readable (by within /afs/, − (STDIN) or a local file. The following examples are valid PATHs:

../example.ks * ../../example.ks * ./example.ks * example.ks * /afs/ *

Kernel append options

Some device hardware may require you to pass additional options to Anaconda or the Kernel at boot. You can specify these options using the −−kopts option.

A useful example of using sing the --kopts option is when your device has multiple network interfaces but you are not sure which one has a cable connected or which one is being raised first. During an the installation of a RedHat based image, if Anaconda is unable to decide which interface to use for the installation, you can provide the option ksdevice=eth0 which instructs Anaconda to use interface eth0 for its installation. Other options for this command include bootif which selects the interface used to boot the vmlinuz/initrd, link which is the first interface found with a link established or the MAC address of the interface. Not providing this option to a multiple interface device will cause Anaconda to stop until the user selects the correct interface to use, thus your installation will not be as automated as you would have hoped.

You can also use Anaconda options to redirect the installation output, such as to a serial console. For example, the following options could be used.

console=ttyS0,9600 console=ttyS1,9600 console=tty0

The following links provide more information on the available Anaconda options.

Enable PXE at registration

When executing the addhost command, if you provide the --pxe and --name=NAME options your device will be enabled for installation using the PXE target NAME. If you do not provide this options the PXE state of your device will not change. To enable the device, see the pxeon command later on this page.

Multiple hosts at once.

The AIMS2 client supports the ParseHost routine available in other CERN FIO tools. Consider the following example

aims2client addhost yourhostname[204-209] --kickstart yourhostname_example.ks --kopts "ksdevice=bootif cmdline"

The client will parse yourhostname[204-209] and the result will be devices yourhostname204 through to yourhostname209 being registered with same Kickstart file and Kernel append options.

Removing a device

aims2client remhost --hostname=yourhostname

To remove (de-register) a host from the installation database you should use the remhost command, provide the HOSTNAME of the device.

Displaying device information

aims2client showhost HOSTNAME

To show information about a particular host, you can use the showhost command, providing the HOSTNAME of the device.

The server will return the results for each interface it has registered for that host. The information contained in the reply includes the interface address, the PXE status of the host, the PXE image to be provided to the host (if defined), Anaconda options which should be passed at work and some time stamp information to create an audit trail.

It should be possible to use the client to build an exact audit trail of the host, from when it was registered, booted, downloaded it’s Kickstart and installed successfully.

HOSTNAME supports basic wildcards. Consider the following example

showhost --hostname yourhostname67*


Please note, in some terminals it is necessary to escape * with either * or "*"

Interacting with your Kickstart

Displaying the Kickstart file

aims2client showks HOSTNAME

The showks command will print to STDOUT the Kickstart file, if register, for HOSTNAME

Also displayed is where the Kickstart file was sourced from, who by and when.

Updating the Kickstart file

aims2client updateks HOSTNAME --kickstart [SOURCE]

If only HOSTNAME is provided, AIMS will update the Kickstart file from the previously given source. If the Kickstart was previously uploaded through the client and not linked too, the Kickstart cannot be updated through this method unless SOURCE is provided. The same rule applies if no Kickstart has been defined.

If SOURCE is provided, the Kickstart file is updated from SOURCE.

Please refer to to the addhost command for valid SOURCE options.

Adding new PXE boot media

Please contact Linux.Support for permission to interact with PXE boot media.

addimage --name=S --arch=S --description=S --vmlinuz=S [--initrd=S] [--kopts=S] [--egroups=S]

The option --name=NAME is for the name (alias) of your PXE boot media. When defining a name for you media, try to use the distro-arch combination and try to use a name which is meaningful to other users.

Options --initrd=path and --vmlinuz=path refer to the file system locations of your image and kernel respectively. These locations must be readable by the AIMS2 servers. Some users choose to use their AFS public/scratch directories.

Kernel append options

If you know that your home-brewed image/kernel combo requires certain Kernel append options at boot then you can use provide these using the --kopts option.

These options will then be used when installing this media. An example is the providing of noipv6. It's OK to duplicate options on images and hosts, as AIMS will weed out the duplicate entries for you. AIMS will not however check that your options are syntactically correct. It is presumed you have read the appropriate documentation on your Kernel and know what you are doing to some degree. A common example is:

--kopts="ramdisk_size=36000 noipv6 ksdevice=link"

Controlling deployment with e-groups

If you wish to limit the deployment of your image to a select group of users, you can provide the --egroups option where your e-groups should be comma separated. For example:


These e-groups should then be defined through the CRA interface. Only yourself and those inside these groups will be able to deploy devices using this media. If not e-groups are defined, your PXE media will be available for user by any user.

Removing PXE boot media

aims2client remimage NAME

To remove PXE boot media from AIMS, using the remimage command providing the NAME of the media.

You can only remove PXE boot media if you are the owner or a member of Linux Support.

Display information about PXE boot media.

aims2client showimage NAME

To display information about PXE boot media, NAMEis the name of the PXE boot media. The results returned are ordered as follows:

name, architecture, kernel append options, description

To display more information about PXE boot media add the --full or --all options as per the example

aims2client showimage CS8_X86_64 --full

The additional information displayed, extending the above is:

source of Kernel, md5sum, size (kb), source of initrd, md5sum, size (kb), e-groups, owner, upload time-stamp

NAME can also be provided with basic wildcards. Consider the example below.

showimage CS8*

This will return PXE boot media whose name begings with CS8


Please note, in some terminals it is necessary to escape * with either * or "*"

Enabling PXE for a device

aims2client pxeon HOSTNAME NAME

To enable PXE boot for a device use the pxeon command. This command takes two options, the HOSTNAME you are enabling and the NAME of the PXE boot media you wish to use.

If noexpiry flag is specified the pxeboot will not be cleaned up 24 hours after enabling. Default behaviour is to automatically disable pxeboot 24 hours after registration. Boot type option may be specified as pxe|bios (default, PXE/bios boot),uefi (PXE/UEFI boot) or arm64 (PXE/UEFI boot for aarch64, ARM64 platform).

If you want to check the generated configuration for your enabled interface, please refer to:

Displaying a list of PXE boot targets

To display a list of PXE boot targets available for installation please use the showimage command. The following example will show all the PXE boot targets available.

aims2client showimage \*

If you just wanted to see what RHEL8 targets are available you would execute

aims2client showimage RHEL8*

Disabling PXE for a device

aims2client pxeoff HOSTNAME

To disable PXE boot for a device, use the pxeoff command providing the HOSTNAME of the device. Disabling PXE for your device will set your device to localboot, thus no PXE menu will be available until you remove the device from AIMS or re-add it using the addhost command.

NOTE: All registered systems will be set to localboot after 24 hours and deleted after 60 days.

Misc. Options

Displaying verbose

Providing the -v(erbose) option will instruct the client to provide verbose to STDOUT. Verbose is disabled by default.

Using a different server

(Optional) To communicate with a particular server, for example the testing server, the --server option is available. For example:

aims2client addhost yourhost

Using BIOS Legacy workaround

Please check Legacy workaround documentation for some specific cases where the usual BIOS workflow is not enough..