Replacing manual efforts by the use of scripts/applications to execute recurring tasks to automate human activities that are manual, rule-based and repetitive are few of automation definitions.

A study discovered that workers waste more than 3 hours on repetitive computer tasks every day. Such tasks expose employees and the organization to problems such as:

  • Repetitive tasks kill creativity and high-level productivity.
  • High business process costs in labor, employee error, and reduced productivity.
  • Physical, mental, and psychological health hazards.
  • Culture and employee engagement start to suffer.

I am going to consider a situation here to visualize a very heavy repetitive task that can take ages to complete. I would explain a process in a step by step guide that can save hours.

Installing Ubuntu 22.04 Jammy Jelly on 50 Servers. Considering one installation takes approximately 30 minutes to complete, 50 non-stop installations without any interruptions or errors will take approximately 25 hours to complete. Moreover, an installation engineer will be required to interact with the installation to answer all the installation questions.

MAGIC: This demonstration showcases an installing of Ubuntu OS on multiple servers at once via PXE. Preboot Execution Environment (PXE) is a client-server interface that allows computers in a network to be booted from the server for PXE enabled clients. PXE network installation is performed using DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) and TFTP (Trivial File Transfer Protocol). PXE will be enabled by default on all Servers.


Installed following packages on the Deployer Server for purpose of this subject.

  • tftpd-hpa
  • apache2
  • dnsmasq
  • pxelinux
  • syslinux

The Goal:

Using above method, Ubuntu 22.04 installation will run on 50 Servers simultaneously with following benefits,

  • Reduce installation time from 25 hours to 15 minutes.
  • No human interaction required.
  • No boring repetitive tasks to perform.
  • No margin of human error hence no time to waste in reinstallations.
  • Saved time can be invested in other tasks, learnings or R&D.


The Assignment:

Above demonstration, enter key is hit once to select the operating system to install from the boot menu. The process still requires at least one person for selecting the OS from the boot menu for all 50 servers. This is something still being worked out to automate to call it 100% automated and does not require any human interaction. I would be more than happy to hear suggestions on this.

The Benefit:

The person who will comment the best suggestion on the assignment, will receive the Configuration file in their mailboxes to configure his/her own PXE Deployer server.


Adnan Alam

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