It has been a while since I updated my blog. After I moved into my new house, I had re-assembled my old system and moved my server from my primary desktop. Now that I had more space, I wanted to get this second system up and running. This is a very old system and the first one I assembled/owned in the US. It has an Intel 850GB motherboard with 1.5 GB RDRAM running at 1.4 GHz (Intel Pentium 4 class single core). Though the system could handle the load, the Ubuntu server edition I had installed was giving me segfault issue frequently. Those of you who had been visiting my site would have noticed a lot of downtime thanks to all these segmentation faults. The memory was clean; verified by numerous memtest runs on them but the problem persisted.
As I was contemplating a new server, one of my friend favored me by giving me his IBM xSeries server. He was not able to find space to keep this huge beast. Yes, it weighs 32 lbs, takes up space and is merciless with it’s fan noise.
Obviously, we are not equipped with racks to mount a server at home as in a datacenter. So now it stays on my floor hoping I would find a proper placement soon. As it came to me, it had the following specs
- Model: 8687-1RX
- Processor: 4 x Intel Xeon MP (Dual Core) 512 KB 2 GB (4x 512 MB)
- Processor Speed: 1.4GHz
- L2 Cache: 256 KB
- L2 Cache: 512 KB
- Memory: 4 GB (8 x 512MB)
- Memory Slots: 16
- Max. Memory: 64 GB (with 4 processors)
- Memory Type: PC-133 ECC SDRAM
- PCI-x: 6 available slots compatible with both 32 bit and 64 bit cards
- 2 x 66 MHz
- 2 x 100 MHz
- 2 x 133 MHz
- Video: SVGA with 8 MB video memory
- USB: 3 ports (1 front, 2 rear)
- Storage Type: SCSI 160
- Network Adapter: 1 x 1000 MBps (on board PCI-x 66 MHz 64 bit)
When I got the system it had two 32.5 GB Ultra160 SCSI drives configured with RAID 1 handled by ServeRAID-4MX controller card and an additional 100 Mbps PCI-x network adapter installed. However, the RAID configuration was corrupted. I also felt the need to expand the storage space so as to accommodate two virtual machines. Since I do not have a SAN solution, these virtual machines have to be self contained for their storage requirements.
After extensive googling, I found the following sites that provided the hardware for the two upgrades I wanted, hard drive and memory.
While I was waiting for my new hardware to arrive, I tracked down the BIOS upgrades for my server, the RAID controller and more importantly the SCSI configuration Disk ISO. Hardware upgrade was very quick and simple; thanks to the modular and tool-less designs of these servers.
I used the SCSI controller disk to create a new RAID configuration and plopped in the VMware ESXi installer disk into the CDROM drive. It took about 10 -15 minutes from power on to complete the ESXi installation. The first and the last configuration from the console was to set a static IP to my ESXi host. Once done, I used the VMware client on my desktop (which comes with VMware server for desktops) to connect to the ESXi host and set up two virtual machines. One of them is a Linux VM running Ubuntu 9.04 Beta (Jaunty Jackalope) server edition. This was a major task and a long awaited one for me. I am glad that I have a production server and enough hardware for a standalone development environment.
Watch out for more posts on how I configured a LAMP server on my ubuntu VM and also on ESXi issues that I faced as I learnt administering it!