VMware Workstation 12 CentOS 7 pxe kickstart fails with default settings

I am running a variety of virtual machines to test my puppet code, and started to include CentOS 7 a few month ago. My code must function on systems freshly installed, so I am testing that as part of the regular workflow. The installation must be automated, so it is a PXE / kickstart installation, which always produces the same results without manual interference.

I had done this with CentOS 6 for years and also had this working with version 7 for a few months already. Last week suddenly CentOS7 did stop installing, despite no changes in my environment. Depending on my troubleshooting steps I saw errors like 'no /dev/root available', 'no OS-release file' and 'file system out of space'.
I spent 2 full days troubleshooting, and came up with the following solution:

  • in VMware Workstation, the settings must be set to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 64-bit

Reason being is that CentOS is contained in the list, but only as choice between 32 or 64 bit, not with version. I tested this multiple times. Putting this back to CentOS broke things again.

    • The installer requires 2 GB of memory. While the OS itself smoothly runs with 1 GB easily (fully sufficient for my testing purposes), the installation fails with 1 GB.
    • Boot options in my pxe default file:
      LABEL Centos - 7.3_x86_64
      MENU default
      MENU LABEL CentOS 7.3 x86_64
      KERNEL images/centos/x86_64/7.3/vmlinuz
      APPEND initrd=images/centos/x86_64/7.3/initrd.img inst.stage2=http://kickstart.studydivision.local/os/centos-7.3/  inst.repo=http://kickstart.studydivision.local/os/centos-7.3/  inst.ks=http://kickstart.studydivision.local/centos7.cfg

The options must be all on one line starting with APPEND.

Studydivision.local is my development environment, which is an isolated VLAN. You need to point to a valid inst.stage2, inst.repo and inst.ks. The usual choice of nfs, ft or http protocol applies
The boot options are explained pretty well on Fedora.com or Redhat.com, but there you need subscriptions.

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