Install Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server from ISO Image

In this tutorial, we will learn how to install the latest version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 on a dedicated hardware server machine or on a private or public cloud virtual machine using the DVD ISO image or by using a bootable RHEL USB. Red Hat Linux is a highly stable Open Source Linux distribution developed by Red Hat and one of the most older and popular Linux distribution for which the support must be paid via subscriptions.

This latest release of Red hat Enterprise Linux comes with many bug fixes, new update for packages and new security updates. Some of the most notable changes in this new release are: built-in features to better support the 7th generation of Intel Core i3, i5, i7 processors, server-side support for the SSH1 protocol from the SSH server has been removed, all cryptographic protocols and algorithms that are considered insecure have been deprecated, OpenSSL includes support for the Datagram Transport Layer Security (DTLS) version 1.2 protocol and Application-Layer Protocol Negotiation (ALPN), support for Network Bound Disk Encryption (NBDE), new features for Network Manager (MACsec and GRE kernel support), NFS over RDMA and other important features.

The installation of RHEL performed in this tutorial will be based on the RHEL 7 DVD ISO image burned to a DVD or moved to a bootable USB drive. The installation will mainly cover the process of installing RHEL 7 on UEFI based machine, but the same installation procedure can be successfully applied on old BIOS motherboards or on UEFI systems with Legacy Mode or CSM (Compatibility Support Module) option enabled.

REQUIREMENTS

  • The latest Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server ISO x86_64bit architecture Image obtained from the following official RHEL download mirrors. You will need to sign up to RHEL Customer Portal in order to obtain a free evaluation subscription and go to the download link. https://developers.redhat.com/products/rhel/download/
  • A direct or a proxy internet connection to the machine where the installation takes place in order to activate RHEL system and subsequently download and update the system.

Initial Preparations

After you’ve downloaded the RHEL 7.4 DVD ISO image by following Red Hat Customer Portal download link, use a DVD burning software to burn the bootable image to a DVD or create a bootable USB flash drive stick with RHEL 7.4 image. The bootable USB drive must be created with Rufus utility under Windows environment in order to be fully compatible with UEFI based motherboards. In Linux, you can use dd command-line software to transfer the image to a USB drive. If you don’t have a UEFI motherboard machine, then you can use any other software to create a bootable RHEL 7.4 USB flash drive. Some of the most popular software to create bootable USB flash memory drives can be found at https://www.pendrivelinux.com/ website.

Another important aspect which must be followed in order to properly install RHEL 7 on UEFI based motherboards is to open your machine motherboard UEFI settings (pressing a special key, such as F1, F2, F11, F12, Del, Esc) and disable QuickBoot/FastBoot and Secure Boot options in case of incompatibilities with some UEFI motherboards, although RHEL bootloader is digitally signed. The BIOS/EFI keys you need to press during hardware initialization or machine power on phase in order to enter BIOS/UEFI settings highly depend on the motherboard vendor specifications and should be included in the motherboard’s manual.

Another important aspect to take into consideration is to change the machine boot order and instruct the BIOS/EFI to use the proper drive for booting (DVD drive or USB). On some machines, the boot order or the boot drive can be selected by pressing a special key at hardware power on.

Install Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.4 Server

After you’ve configured the above settings to your machine UEFI/BIOS motherboard, place the DVD ISO image of RHEL 7.4 or the bootable USB flash stick in the appropriate motherboard drive and reboot or power-on the machine. Hit the appropriate bootable key from the keyboard and instruct the BIOS or UEFI software to boot the machine via the appropriate DVD or USB drive. The RHEL 7.4 bootable ISO image should load and it will present you the first installation image on your monitor screen. Select Install Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.4 from that menu and hit the Enter key to start the installation process, as illustrated in the following image.

After a few seconds, the RHEL graphical installer will be loaded into your machine RAM and will present you the ”Welcome to Red HaT Enterprise Linux 7.4” screen. Select the appropriate language for your system installation process and hit the Continue button.

On the next screen you will see the Installation Summary menu. Here, first select Date and Time menu to open this menu. Use the map to select your geographical location. Also, below the map you have to option to configure the date and time settings. If the time is correctly configured just hit on the upper left Done button to complete this stage and return to the initial menu, as illustrated in the below images.

On the next step, hit on Keyboard menu and setup the keyboard layout for your system. To add another keyboard layout hit on + button and select the appropriate keyboard. When you finish this step hit on Done to return to main menu.

Next, hit the Language Support menu and setup your system language support. Again, when you finish this step, hit Done to return to main menu.

Next, go to the Installation Source menu and select Auto-detected installation media as default.  You also have other more advanced options to perform the installation via other network locations such as HTTP, HTTPS, FTP or NFS server or add additional repositories. When you finish, hit Done to return to main menu.

In the next step, go to Software Selection menu. There, you will find a list of some pre-defined base environments for your system. You can choose to install a graphical desktop environment, such as Gnome, KDE Plasma or Creative Workstation, or you can choose to install a custom server installation, such as Web server, Compute Node, Virtualization host, Infrastructure server, Server with a graphical interface or File and Print Server.

The most suitable environment for a server is the Minimal Install option because it is the most flexible and has a small disk footprint. Select Minimal Install base environment, select Compatibility Libraries add-ons from the left plane and hit on Done button to finish this setting and return to the main menu.

Next, hit the system Security Policy menu and select a security profile from the list. You’re safe to choose the Default security profile.  Hit the Select profile button and switch Apply security policy button to ON. When you finish, hit the Done button to return to the main screen.

Next, hit on Installation Destination menu to open storage partition settings. On the Device selection, check the local machine hard disk. Then, in Other Storage Options, check Automatically configure partitioning. This option ensures that the machine hard disk will be automatically partitioned with the /(root), /home and swap partitions. When you finish, hit the Done button to activate the machine drive partition layout and return to the main menu screen. 

Next, hit the KDUMP menu and disable KDUMP kernel crash mechanism in order to free system RAM. Hit on the Done button to apply this settings and return to the main menu.

Next, hit the Network & Hostname menu and configure your machine FQDN hostname. Hit on the Apply button to setup the machine hostname. Also activate and enable the networking service for your ethernet interface by switching the Ethernet button from OFF to ON. You can manually configure the network interface in this step if that’s the case by hitting the Configure button. When you finish, hit on Done button to return to main installation menu.

Finally, before starting the installation process, review all installer configurations. When you finish, hit the Begin Installation button to start installing RHEL 7.

After the installer starts, the user accounts configuration screen will appear. Hit on the ROOT PASSWORD menu from the Configuration screen and setup a strong password for the root account. When you finish, hit the Done button to return to user settings screen.

Next, hit on User Creation menu and add a new system account and a strong password for this account. Check Make this user administrator and Require a password to use this account options in order to grant this user root privileges and to manually enter the password each time you log in to the system.

When you finish setting-up the admin user, hit on Done button to return to initial menu and wait for the installation process to complete.

After a few minutes, depending on your system resources, the installer will report that Red Hat Enterprise Linux has been successfully installed on your machine. In order to use the system you just have to remove the installation media and reboot the machine.

After reboot, log in to RHEL 7.4 console with the credentials configured while installing the system. In order to further use RHEL, you must register the system and buy a subscription via Red Hat Customer Portal.  To automatically attach an RHEL subscription, run the following command.

subscription-manager register --auto-attach --username=RHEL_username --password=RHEL_password

After the subscription has been added, update the system with the following command.

sudo yum update

That’s all! You’ve successfully installed the latest version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 on your machine.

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