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)
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