Computers Are Fun!

So my friend John sez to me, he sez “I just installed XenServer 7.1.0 on my new server and it’s awesome. You should give it a try. It’s easy to install. Only takes about 30 minutes.”

And I think to myself “I have a couple of blades in my Dell C6100 that aren’t doing anything, and I want to do some virtualization, so sure, why not?”

How hard can it be? I download the XenServer 7.1.0 ISO and get started.

First I have to remember what IP addresses I assigned to the remote management interfaces. That’s not too difficult. I point my browser at the IP for one of the blades that is not in use and run into my first road block. I don’t know the username and password for the remote management interface.

It’s not the default one and of course I didn’t write it down. So I run through a bunch of old passwords that I can remember, but no luck. Finally as I resign myself to the fact that I’m going to have to go down into the server room (basement) and put a keyboard and monitor on the server to reset the password I type in root/root and viola! I’m in.

The next catch is that the remote console requires Java to run. Of course Chrome doesn’t support Java anymore. Maybe I can make it go with Firefox? Oh, look. Firefox won’t even load the page because the SSL cert is too insecure. Oh joy. Of course there is no newer firmware for the remote management board, and there doesn’t appear to be a way to install a new SSL certificate either.

Okay, on to the next plan. I have the same kind of problem at work with some older servers, so I know that I can run an Ubuntu VM with an older version of Firefox and use the IcedTea web java plugin to get the console to work.

So I download and install VirtualBox. Then I start the download of Ubuntu 16.04 Desktop. It’s 1.4GB and the progress bar says 9 hours. Oh joy. So I stop that and search for a list of mirror sites. Turns out my ISP (US Internet) has an Ubuntu mirror, so I start the download from there. The speed looks better – says it will take about 30 minutes.

It’s time to make dinner so I take a break.

After dinner I fire up VirtualBox and start to create an Ubuntu VM. Why is it only letting me select 32-bit? A quick Google reveals that I probably don’t have the Intel Virtualization Technology or VT-d enabled in the BIOS on my desktop. So I close all the programs and reboot to get into the BIOS. Sure enough, it’s turned off, so I turn it on and boot up again.

Now that I can get a 64 bit VM created it’s a simple and quick task to install Ubuntu. Then I have to Google around a little again to figure out how to install the version of Firefox that will work (it’s called Firefox ESR for future reference.) I get that installed, then install the IcedTea Java plugin.

Finally I have a browser that will let me log into the remote management interface and launch a remote console!

I mount the ISO through the console and power on the machine. It boots up and starts launching VMWare. That’s not right. Guess I was playing with VMWare a while ago. So I reboot it and get in the BIOS so I can make it boot off the CD. It finally does and I run through the installer and get XenServer installed.

After it reboots it shows me a management interface in my console window, but says I have no management IP defined. Which is odd since I know it asked me for one when I installed it. So I start poking around and realize that it doesn’t appear to have drivers for the network cards installed. What?

A quick Google leads me to the XenServer Hardware Compatibility List which shows me that v7.1.0 does not support the Dell C6100. Bah. But it appears that 7.0.0 does.

So… off I go to download v7.0.0 and I install that while I’m writing this up.

Now I’ve got 7.0.0 installed but although it appears to see the NICs, the management interface is still not configured and the Java console is repeating keys, so it’s very frustrating to try and enter the config. turns into 192222222222222222222 or 192.168888888888888 and then hitting backspace deletes the whole thing so you have to start over.

Elapsed time so far and I still don’t have a running XenServer installation: 3.5 hours.

And now it’s bed time.

Although if this stuff was easy they wouldn’t pay me to do it.



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