On Setting up an Ubuntu Server

For a project I'm involved with, we're setting up a shiny new server to handle hosting of lots (and lots) of Drupal sites in a shared hosting environment. We were able to pick up a decently speced Dell PowerEdge 2950 at a really good price. Dell wanted a tonne of cash to pre-install RedHat on the box. Um, no thanks. So, our friendly neighbourhood colocation provider installed Ubuntu Server on the box for me (I'm about 1000 km from the server, so couldn't actually do the physical install myself). The PowerEdge is a 2xdual core Xeon, similarly speced as the new Xeon XServes, but not as nicely packaged. This one requires 2U of rackspace, where the XServe is shoehorned into a single 1U slot.

We hit a minor snag with the configuration - the onboard NICs weren't properly lighting up. Some quick Googling, and I believe the solution was found in this thread, and involved running this:

chroot /target
# fix initrd
echo megaraid_sas >> /etc/mkinitramfs/modules
cp /boot/initrd.img-2.6.15-26-amd64-server /boot/initrd.img-2.6.15-26-amd64-server.old
mkinitramfs -o /boot/initrd.img-2.6.15-26-amd64-server 2.6.15-26-amd64-server

After that, everything came up roses. Once I had my admin account, it was pretty trivial to get the rest of the bits set up. I had some minor stumbling when trying to build httrack from source, but a tip from this thread led me to the quick command to install the full developer's toolkit:

sudo apt-get install build-essential

The whole apt-get stuff is pretty sweet. It's what Fink and darwinports on MacOSX aspire to, but don't quite reach. Want to install emacs? It's just a quick sudo apt-get install emacs away. Easy peasy. Databases, ImageMagick, etc... All trivially installed and updated.

Ubuntu Server Logo

So far, setting this server up has been absolutely trivial. And it's so stinky fast that it should serve the project for quite some time. I might need to set up an Ubuntu client or server locally to play a bit more. It's not quite MacOSX, but from a server perspective, it's pretty close. Actually, having spent about 6+ years dabbling in MacOSX's UNIXy innards, running an Ubuntu Server is not much of a stretch. The biggest adjustment is learning where all of the various bits are installed, but that's easy. I'll be spending a fair bit of time over the break, getting my feet wet in Ubuntu. Should be fun!

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