The smaller SAS drives arrived a week or so ago, but I didn't have time to get them installed until I happened to be waiting for something else yesterday. I plugged them in, and, sigh, nothing. At first. I did get it worked out.Small recap. New Sun Fire X4600 M2 server ordered, with separate drives. Ordered 300GB drives because they worked in the T5220. Tried and tried again to make them work, including searching for updated firmware, to no avail. Ordered smaller 146GB drives, as they're supported with all of the firmwares.
Got the drives a week ago, but plugged them in yesterday. Same result. No disks found. Super frustrated, I decided to look inside the machine, which I had only done and marveled at the racks and racks of RAM and cascade of CPUs. All looked well. I couldn't see anything amiss. Then I stuck my hand in the little hole where the drive enclosures live to check the wiring, and found...they weren't attached.
Further, trying to push them into place revealed that the drive chassis wasn't securely mounted into the server chassis! It just "snaps" in with a little "ping," so maybe in all of the FedEx bouncing around they managed to jar it loose and it unplugged. Or maybe that still unidentified PCI card is indeed a fiber-channel SAN controller (as it seems to look like) and the original owners disabled the native chassis. After a few yoga moves to insert the cables, with a little help from the Force as I couldn't bend and see at the same time, the server restarted and the drive lights flickered to life.
Of course, no cable, no drives.
Rebooting still didn't identify the drives. I ran through the BIOS configuration and enabled the SAS-to-IDE controller (whatever...), and then there were the 146GB drives and DVD! I had plugged in all four disks, but the 300GB still weren't identified. I vow to return to the RAID controller and see if I can get them to show up, and I'll look to see if I can safely pull that PCI card and not bother the machine with interrupts I won't be leveraging.
One last reboot, and the CENTOS DVD was found, and booted immediately. I hadn't plugged in the mouse as I expected a server installer to be less graphical (used to doing it with VM images or shell into a server), so it was a little tedious to get the arrows and tabs to do what I expected. The installer could see one 136GB partition (which I took to be the RAID of the two 146GB drives with rounding errors in the GB...raw bytes in disk labeling versus gigabyte math in BIOS/OS addressing.
I left it sitting at the "go ahead and install' screen, as I'm still vascillating over CENTOS versus Ubuntu. Ubuntu because I'm lazy and use it on my desktop, and it's MAAS might be what I want to use for my containers with LXC, which I also use on my other servers. Or CENTOS because it's a little more tightly coupled with Docker and Kubernetes, a model we use at work and with which I might experiment at home. Of course, Ubuntu is also tightly involved in OpenStack, which is another metal as a service offering.
Ultimatlely, I want a shell-able interface, and not a dependency on being able to connect to a GUI remotely. Further, I just want to rearrange my over-subscribed little server (the one currently hosting this blog) into something well under-served. This new server has 8x2.3GHz quad-core AMD Opteron processors and 128GB of RAM, which is a far cry above the 8GB RAM dual-core, about 2GHz AMD Athelon running now. Recycled desktops, once at the peak of need for high-end gaming (or so we thought at the time), make fine lab servers, but a real server will surely kick its butt. Not a massive server (except the RAM, which is old and slow DDR2) by today's standards, but plenty massive for my current playground and simple hosting needs.
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