Install CentOS Stream 9 booting VNC installer with kexec

Lately, dedicated servers come with Remote management consoles like IPMI KVM or iLO, or DRAC, but they are still slow to initiate the process of installing a system.

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Consider a server (dedicated or not) should be installed in a remote colocation with the help of only the server’s network. The system administrator just receives an administrative shell access and nothing more and the server should be installed with the proper and secured software, in this case, the CentOS Stream 9. Using kexec the user can boot a new kernel from a different Linux Distribution and initiate automated network installation of the system and it is not needed any Remote management consoles. The only thing needed is the ability of the current system/kernel to be able to use kexec, which is pretty standard for 8 to 10 years old Linux systems. There is a good chance the colocations’ rescue CD/DVD/USB flash drives or the PXE rescue images support kexec, because they tend to upgrade their rescue systems, which the user may boot if he has problems.
Still, using kexec to initiate another kernel or Linux Distribution like CentOS Stream 9 with VNC installer, for example, it a powerful tool to safely replace a currently running system with only shell access.
This article has chosen to start the CentOS Stream 9 VNC installer just for demonstration purposes. Booting a downloaded kernel may be used for just anything from booting a system over the network, booting an installer, booting an unattended automation installation, and so on. There are a couple of simple things to check before booting the new kernel.
This article will show just one use case – reinstalling a system with CentOS Stream 9 over the network using the CentOS VNC Install. The purpose is to show how simple, fast, and easy is to install a modern Linux system only by having console access. No scripts are required if manual installation is performed.
To boot a CentOS Stream 9 VNC Installer the kexec command needs the following options.

The kexec commands need the following options:

  • Networkingdevice interface name, IP, netmask, gateway and DNS servers
  • Kernel options – these options will initiate scripts from the initramfs.
  • inst.vnc – a kernel option, which will start a VNC server with no password on the default port and network device. Using it with another inst.vncpassword=[PASSWORD] the VNC server will require the password – [PASSWORD]. The password should be a maximum of 8 characters because the VNC server will not start if it is with more!
  • inst.repo=[HTTP/HTTPS://repository] – a kernel option, which sets the CentOS HTTP/HTTPS repository.

The kexec command to boot the CentOS Stream 9 VNC Installer is:

kexec --initrd=./initrd.img -l ./vmlinuz --command-line="bootdev=eno1 nameserver= inst.vnc inst.vncpassword=cha3hae4ahZaqueev1ee inst.repo="

The kernel (i.e. vmlinuz) and the initramfs (i.e. initrd.img) should be downloaded in the current directory before executing the above command. The above line will order the kernel to load the new kernel, but to boot it another command must be executed:

kexec -e

Keep on reading!

How to run QEMU full virtualization with bridged networking using NetworkManager under CentOS 8

In addition to the previously presented article on the subject Howto do QEMU full virtualization with bridged networking this one shows how to run a QEMU virtual machine with a bridge networking on the host server configured only by using the NetworkManager cli – nmcli.

It is worth mentioning the bridge interface presented in this article is a local bridge device for the server and no Internet addresses or real (or main or Internet-connected) network cards are bound to it. So no MAC addresses of slaved bridged devices will leave the server.
If a network bridge, which includes the Internet (main) server network device is needed, for example, to set real IPs in a virtual machine, there is another article on the bridge networking subject – Replace current interface configuration with a bridge device using nmcli (NetworkManager)


  1. Add bridge and TUN/TAP device.
  2. Install QEMU.
  3. Create QEMU local disk.
  4. Run a QEMU virtual server.

STEP 1) Add bridge and TUN/TAP device.

[root@srv ~]# nmcli connection add type bridge ifname br0 con-name br0 ipv4.method manual ipv4.addresses ""
Connection 'br0' (ad6878c8-1e06-4af8-a81f-1eb39e761df8) successfully added.
[root@srv ~]# nmcli connection up br0
Connection successfully activated (master waiting for slaves) (D-Bus active path: /org/freedesktop/NetworkManager/ActiveConnection/3)
[root@srv ~]# nmcli connection add type tun ifname tap0 con-name tap0 mode tap owner 0 ip4
Connection 'tap0' (dacee2be-a14b-4cf5-83d4-96d072a96725) successfully added.
[root@srv ~]# nmcli con add type bridge-slave ifname tap0 master br0
Connection 'bridge-slave-tap0' (66490382-b239-4eb2-ae1d-ee811e39596c) successfully added.
[root@srv ~]# nmcli con
NAME               UUID                                  TYPE      DEVICE 
System eno1        abf4c85b-57cc-4484-4fa9-b4a71689c359  ethernet  eno1   
br0                ad6878c8-1e06-4af8-a81f-1eb39e761df8  bridge    br0    
tap0               dacee2be-a14b-4cf5-83d4-96d072a96725  tun       tap0   
bridge-slave-tap0  66490382-b239-4eb2-ae1d-ee811e39596c  ethernet  -- 

First, a bridge device is added with manual IP. If the IP is skipped the bridge interface br0 would have DHCP enabled by default, which may not be the desired.
More detailed information on how to create and add TUN/TAP device with the NetworkManager here – Create bridge and add TUN/TAP device using NetworkManager nmcli under CentOS 8

STEP 2) Install QEMU.

Install the QEMU virtual tools under CentOS 8 Stream. At present, the QEMU version is 6.2, which is pretty new.
Keep on reading!