Monday, February 15, 2010

TLLTS Discussion About Virtulization

Linc over at The Linux Link Tech Show (TLLTS) had a very good conversation about Virtulization and VMWare last week. Look for episode 340.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Another Day Another DL

I finally pulled the trigger and purchased my 4th HP DL360 Proliant Server for my brother-in-laws growing IT system. This new sever will be used as an email server running SME Server 7.4. I guess it is the nerd in me but I am always amazed at how much technology you can purchase for so little if you are willing to shop around.

The latest server specs are:

HP DL360 G3
Dual Xeon 2.8 GHz processors
Dual 36GB Ultra 320 SCSI Drives
Dual Power Supplies
Dual 1 GB Ethernet
HP 5i on board RAID Controller
HP iLo management
2 GB of RAM
CD-ROM and Floppy Drive
On board Video and Legacy Ports

And how much for all of this technology? A hefty $99 USD on eBay. The last DL360 I pickup I was able to purchase for $51 USD!

What is truly funny is replacement rack rails end up cosing 40% of the total cost of the server!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Vector Linux

I have spent the last few weeks evaluating different distros I can use as an OS on my brother-in-law's administration terminal server. I tried a net install of Debian 5.0 but in the end it required way too much tweaking to get what I was after. Debian with LXDE was very speedy and would have done the job but for some reason I was really having difficulties making OpenSSH and VNC work in harmony. VNC is must because I must administer several applications that use a web interfaces.

I did a search on DistroWatch under the category of old computers and it come up with about 20 recommendations. The usual suspects came up; Puppy, DSL, Slitaz, Tiny-Core. The rest fell into two broad categories, the first being Ubuntu based distros using lightweight window managers. The second group were based on Slackware. I have a soft spot in my heart for Slackware. Wolvix was the first distro I could get my wireless card at the time (three years ago) working properly. Because of this Wolvix paved the way towards full time Linux usage breaking my Windows fix. I haven't looked back. 

Absolute, AUSTRUMI, SaxenOS and Vector were the Slackware based distros that caught my eye. A quick review narrowed my interest to Absolute or Vector. I decided to install Vector on a 700mhz test machine with 512meg of RAM because they had just released their 6.0 Lite Version. 

I remember trying Vector early on in my Linux trials and thinking how intimated I was by the installer. I definitely did not get that warm comfy feeling I got when I installed Ubuntu! This time was totally different. I guess after a few Arch Installs my confidence level has raised a few notches (LFS users I bow - I am still intimidated!)

After the install I was greeted with a very usable system even on the 700mhz test rig. I was able to configure OpenSSH and VNC without any major issues. At boot, running JWM as the window managers, I was using only 50meg of RAM and CPU utilization was in single digits. I am very impressed with Vector so far!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I Like My Time

I got my Webmin books and I started to review them. It dawned on me after a few days I was going to have to speed a lot of time setting up the various services in S*M*S. I think this would be a great learning experience but I just do not have the time so I am going with SME Server as my solution. I hope version 8 comes out soon but I have a feeling I will have to install the current stable version which is 7.4.

I have also started to looking for a distro that I can use on an administration server at my brother-in-laws practice. This a very old Penguin Computing server that has a 700MhZ processor with 512Mb of ram. I have been using Puppy Linux for a few months but I am looking for a lightweight distro that has a little better out of the box support for OpenSSH. I favor rolling release distros so it will be interesting if I can find something light enough to server my purpose. I could always and should install Arch Linux but I want to see if anything different is out there.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Learning Curve

I finally found time to install S*M*S on the OptiPlex at work yesterday. It turned out to be a a relatively painless install. I fired up Firefox on another computer on the network and was able to pull the Webmin interface up. A quick test drive revealed a pretty zippy system even on this ancient OptiPlex that could serve as a boat anchor. It also revealed I am pretty rusty when it comes to Webmin. I have not used it actively for over 5 years so I started looking for some good books on using Webmin but it appears the most recent ones are around five years old. The good thing about five year old books is you can pick them up dirt cheap on Amazon. Two of the the best user rated Webmin books were only a few clicks and $18 bucks away. I should get them some time next week. If the books turn out to be too out of date I guess I can resort to printing out the 800+ page pdf webmin book or sections out of the offical Webmin Wiki.

The big question now is do I go with S*M*S and deal with the steep learning curve of relearning Webmin or should I just use SME Server to save time knowing it will do most of what my brother-in-law wants.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Nothing But Trouble

I took my ebox 1.2 disk to work today and I wanted to see if I could load it on an old Dell OptiPlex I use for testing during lunch but I still got the same errors about the CD-ROM. I even went so far as to burn another copy of ebox at an excruciatingly slow 4x speed just to make sure it was not a bad CD but in the end it still came up with the same error. I guess this rules out ebox, Ebox has had nothing but problems with the various pieces of hardware I have laying around. I guess it is time to move on. I am going to play with S*M*S next.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ebox chokes on install

I downloaded ebox over the weekend and wanted to give it a try. The MD5 sums matched and I used the check media option on the ISO image and the CD checked out fine. The system reboots and it appears if it is going to boot without a hitch and then it hangs. I get an error about the CD-ROM Drive and maybe the disk is not Debian based, I installed it twice for good measure and it still hangs at the same spot with the same error. I have installed about two dozen different operating systems on the old 1 gig machine I have laying around for test purposes. I have installed Ubuntu on it before so I have no clue why ebox which is based on Ubuntu 8.04 chokes on this box.