What is FAI? Main Features

  • A tool for automated unattended installation. Lazy system administrators like it.
  • Remote network installation of different Linux flavors
  • Easy-to-use centralized management system for your Linux deployment.
  • FAI profiles extend the FAI class concept
  • FAI shows a curses based menu for selecting a profile
  • It's fast. It only takes a few minutes for a complete installation.
  • Scalable. FAI users manage their computer infrastructures starting from a few computers up to several thousands of machines.
  • Easy creation of customized Linux installation media like CD, DVD or USB stick
  • Autodiscover of the FAI install server when doing a network installation
  • Different hardware and different configuration requirements are easy to establish using FAI.
    You do not need to repeat information that is shared among several machines.
  • Using the FAI class concept, you can group a bunch of similar machines.
  • Installation targets: desktops, servers, notebooks, Beowulf cluster, rendering or web server farm, Linux laboratory or classroom.
  • Linux rollout, mass installation and automated server provisioning are additional topics of FAI.
  • FAI is lightweight. No special daemons are running, no database setup is needed.
    It's architecture independent, since it consists only of shell, Perl and Cfengine scripts.
  • Besides initial installations, it is also used for daily maintenance.
  • Creating customized chroot environments
  • Building your own disk image for cloud instances
  • Cloning machines using disk images is supported
  • Also bare-metal provisioning and deploying virtual machines is supported
  • Compared to tools like kickstart or cobbler for Red Hat, autoyast for SUSE or Jumpstart for SUN Solaris, FAI is much more flexible.
    You can tune every small part of your configuration to your local needs using hooks.
  • More technical information in the flyer and poster

Other projects using FAI

FAI Installation Steps

  • Network boot via PXE
  • Receive configuration data via HTTP, NFS, svn or git
  • Run scripts to determine FAI classes and variables
  • Partition local hard disks and create RAID, LVM configuration and the file systems
  • Install and configure software packages
  • Customize OS and software to your local needs
  • Reboot freshly installed machine
  • All this can also be done via an unattended CD installation

FAI History

FAI is rock-solid. It's now more than 16 years old. FAI was started in 1999 at the University of Cologne, when Thomas had to organize an installation of a Linux cluster. Today, FAI is regularly used in varying environments, ranging from a dozen machines up to several thousands machines.