Migration Project: Part II – Building the Physical Host

Before getting into the virtual machines, I should probably address the physical machine that’s going to run them. For hardware info, check out this page under the heading Nix/Cerberus. I’m going to be installing Debian Etch (stable) as the OS, and I’ll be doing it in the most minimal way. Read on…

During the installation of Debian, you’re asked several questions, for the most part you need to answer them for yourself. The important question, the one that gets you a basic install, is package selection. By default the installer wants to include “Desktop Environment” and “Standard System”, I chose to omit both. This leaves you with just enough to get the machine running (which IMO is a very good thing).

After the installer does all it needs to do, it’ll reboot the machine and leave you at the login prompt. If you’ve never sat in front of a GUI-less machine, then you’re in for a treat. Unplug your mouse, chuck it in the bin and get used to virtual terminals, screen sessions and tired fingers :D

First things first, I need to get this machine going and I don’t have enough software to do all I need. I log in as root and make a few changes.

Remove the Debian CDROM as a source from /etc/apt/sources.list and Add contrib and non-free to the same file; it should look like:

deb http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/ etch main contrib non-free
deb-src http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/ etch main contrib non-free
deb http://security.debian.org/ etch/updates main contrib non-free
deb-src http://security.debian.org/ etch/updates main contrib non-free

Then update the Apt cache (apt-get update) and install my applications…

apt-get install ssh vim build-essential linux-headers-2.6-686 bzip2 p7zip-full less lsof lshw psmisc w3m lynx nload telnet host dnsutils ntp ftp lftp vnstat file screen unrar cksfv rsync hellanzb samba smbfs wakeonlan postfix mailx

  • Some of the applications (samba and postfix for example) will require that you provide some setup information. You’ll want to configure them for yourself.
  • I actually installed hellanzb from Debian testing as it’s a more current version of the app.
  • If you don’t know what these packages are, you can do an apt-cache show <package name> on Debian or Ubuntu.

This machine is not only going to host some virtual machines, but it’s going to act as a samba server, a shell server and the machine I use for various Usenet tasks and some other goodies. Given that, and the fact that I like to know what’s going on, I’ll be keeping an eye on my bandwidth usage. To do that, I’ll be using vnstat. Since it’s installed already, I need to create a database for my Ethernet adapter.

vnstat -u -i eth0

After that and some time, I can issue the vnstat [-<flag>] command to get some really handy network traffic statistics.

Because there are so many ways to configure a shell server and a samba server, I’m not going to get into the editing of the conf files. Basically, authentication with the shell server will be done via public/private keys only and I’ll be running it on an alternate port. Samba will be configured as a stand alone server and I will be required to enter a valid user/pass to view the shares.

Once all of those applications are installed and configured, one needs only to download the latest version of VMware Server and install that. I responded with all of the default answers while installing VMWare and was up and running in almost no time.

After a few other tweaks, preventing users from entering /root and other user’s homes, adjusting umask for my account and installing ClamAV from the Debian Volatile repos (to scan samba shares), I’m up and running.

There you have it, the quick setup for the physical server that’s taking over @ the flat. Next I’ll start working up the VMs.

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One Response to “Migration Project: Part II – Building the Physical Host”

  1. [...] that I’ve got my physical machine up and running, I can get started with my virtuals. I’m going to go into some detail on the [...]

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