New Server Part 1: The new Server OS (Ubuntu) and Virtual Box

I recently upgraded to another new-to-me (i.e. used) computer.  My philosophy has been to, as a rule, buy decent quality used or reconditioned computer gear for some time.  This means I can get a decent box at a price much better than new.  Given that our computers rarely wear out before succumbing to general abuse or being passed on (and then succumbing to general abuse…), this policy has served us reasonably well thus far.

This latest acquisition was a bit larger than usual.  The kids (and I) wanted to run a dedicated Minecraft server.  I tried a virtual machine on my desktop and it worked reasonably well for the three of us, but would occasionally lag.  I moved it on to an old Dell Optiplex GX60.  I had to add a network card as the one on the motherboard was not working ($8), as well as maxing out the memory (2GB, $8).  Unfortunately the machine itself was not able to keep up with more than two players.  Given that I intend to have at least two servers up, and may wind up hosting the local middle school Minecraft Club, this was an issue.

I wound up purchasing a Dell Poweredge 2900 locally on eBay for $66.  No, that’s not a typo.  Although advertised with 4GB of memory and 73GB and 146GB drives, the listing was incorrect.  The server came with 8 gigs, 2 73gb drives in a RAID, and 3 146GB drives in another array. The latter needed reseated before they came up, but they’ve been working reliably since.  Did I mention $66? The 2900 also comes with dual processors… Those are dual-quadcore processors.  It’s also got all sorts of cool server goodies like redundant, hot- swappable power supplies, hardware RAID through BIOs, hot-swappable HDDs, and exessive memory capacity.  The best part is that there are lots of parts available inexpensively.  I get the feeling that there are a lot of these still running in commercial application.  I scored 32GB of memory for 29.99, for example, and used drives are less than $20.

The one issue is that the machine is huge.  Dell calls the form-factor a “tower” but in truth it seems to me more like an old mini-computer than anything. It also weighs in at a hefty 80 pounds or so.  (Amazon lists a shipping weight of 100, so I’m guessing 80. It’s heavy!)

All in all though, I’m very pleased with the purchase. I don’t see it replacing my desktop, and certainly not my laptop of tablet, but I am going to move all of the existing e4g servers off of my Raspberry Pi.

Next: Basic Configuration

Echo4Golf Clear!

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