I'm a geek

A few weeks ago, I bid and won a PowerEdge 2650 server for three quids (plus another 6 of renting a car and collecting it).

It´s an old piece of hardware (32 bits double Xeon, 4gb of RAM), bulky as hell (or so does my back says) and noisy as a diesel generator.

When I came home, my daughters said that couldn’t be a computer as it didn’t have input/output devices like a keyboard or a monitor. I didn’t bother to explain a server does not need a screen or a keyboard. Whether that’s correct is arguable. They are learning Computer Science at school, and I only interfere when I see a big mistake.

Anyway, bringing home the computer was only part of the project. Hey, I’m a geek, but having a server on the floor of my dining room is not where the fun lies even if my wife allows it. First, I needed to open its case, take a look at the the inside (a bit insane, yes I know).

Then, I needed to install the operating system. I thought that was going to be easy. I install different operating systems all the time. But…

… I usually install using an USB drive and the server would refuse to boot up from the USB drive.

OK. It has CD-reader but …

… I don´t have a CD-Writer. Who writes CDs anyway?

Already thinking how/where to record a CD, I decided to investigate something called PXE. PXE tends to appear in many BIOS as install from the network. In very general terms, the BIOS is enough to look for a DHCP server that looks for sort of FTP server, that provides a typical file that allows to install an Operating System.

Unfortunately, I only had a Windows machine available (having two daughters in secondary school, Linux has been unfortunately relegated)

But there is an old post that explain how to install Ubuntu from windows. The only tweak was the needed to get some current image. You need to get the image from this URL

One small tweak while installing is something that had already happened while installing a server at work. The screen would go blank with the message “Cannot display this video mode”. A quick search, and one of the first results was what I needed.

Once I installed the basic server, I only installed SSH server. The rest of the server was going to be installed using Ansible. Another topic for another time

I´m a geek.

And, my wife doesn’t read my blog and she is a saint.

First published here