I need to provide the means to patch red hat systems at remote locations that do not have internet connections. My original plan was to reposync the RHEL-workstation repository and throw that along with other required patches on an external ssd and ship it to the sites, however, due to where I work this is not possible.

My next thought was to use blu-rays, as usage of disc media is acceptable. I grabbed the rhel workstation repository with reposync yesterday and it was a little over 40 gigs, so dual layer blu-rays should do the trick. Here's my first round of questions:

Is there any way I can reduce the size of the repo? Specifying --newest-only with reposync decreases the number of packages from 20,000+ to under 5,000. Does this only get the newest version of each package where as without --newest-only it gets several iterations of each package?

Will I have any issues with RHEL 6 and blu-ray data discs? What software do you recommend for burning blu-rays fom RHEL?

My next issue is that it may take weeks/months to acquire blu-ray drives for this task... in the short term I'm looking to DVDs. I'm working on getting some dual layer DVDs, but who knows if that will happen... worst case scenario is I have to fit the 40+ gb repo onto DVDs.

What is the best way to go about this..? Use tar to create a compressed archive I could split up into 4GB chunks? What should I do to compress the 40 gb to the smallest amount? As I write this out and think about it... I should probably put a hold on things until we are able to get blu-ray burners. Burning 10 DVDs per site, then copying over the data from each disc to EACH system and rebuilding the repo sounds insane.

Is there an overall better solution to what I'm trying to do?

  • Bump for this question. In the internet age this "design" still exists. I have a similar setup except using Debian and Ubuntu. Debian provides an update ios set and both use an apt cache server which "i think" uses an installed package list vs OS version. Much smaller list.
    – jc__
    Aug 18, 2017 at 14:20

1 Answer 1


Do you have access to a local machine (or VM) at the same patch level? It might be worth the trouble of getting one. That's what I'd do.

Then all you need to do is (as root):

yum -y update --downloadonly --skip-broken

That will grab all the patches and put them in /var/cache/yum/x86_64/distroname/reponame.

Then you can just burn (using brasero, k3b, or xfburn -- whatever you have) that directory to your DVD (rhel6 can speak blu-ray, but you shouldn't need that much space), mount it, go into reponame/packages (the directory with all the .rpm files), and issue (again, as root):

yum -y localinstall *.rpm --skip-broken

And you are golden. Repeat as needed for any other repos. If you want to make life easier for the guys at the remote site, you can move all the rpms into a single directory, but be sure you have room for them all on one disc, or you may run into dependency issues. (Worse case, have the guys on the other end move them all into a single directory on the machine and then issue the yum localinstall.)

We have used this method to patch airgapped machines at our university datacenter with good results. Good luck!

  • Thanks definitely will test out this method! Right now I'm doing some testing with --newest-only and reposync. The size of that repo is under GB, much better than 40!
    – jf539
    Aug 18, 2017 at 18:24

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