Decomissioning of an old friend

Posted by Admin on January 13, 2009

Old Faithful

My friends know that I’ve been a geek for some time.  So much so, in fact, that I made a somewhat decent career out of it.  But I’d like to go back for a moment to the year 2000.   At the time, I was the “new kid” in the IP Engineering group.  I studied and got my MCSE, my CCNA and my mentor, Malcolm, taught me the basics in UNIX.  I learned how the web worked, and set up my first server at home.

Fast forward to a year ago.  I was hosting 79 domains, dedicated Celeron 533 for DNS and my personal e-mail, a PIII500 for hosted mail (RedHat 9), PII350 for Apache (RedHat 7.3), a file server (PIII600 win2k), a firewall on a PII350, a desktop and a lot of heat.  Being that I think VMware is the greatest thing since sliced bread (and I teach the stuff professionally,) it was time to put my money where my mouth was.  I bought an HP XW6200 on eBay for about $400 and built out an ESX server.  Granted, these workstations are not on the VMware HCL for ESX for a number of reasons (the least of which is lack of redundancy and it has SATA controllers), but after a few BIOS tweaks, it’s rock solid.  For the money, you can’t beat it.  There are a lot of them coming off lease right now so it’s time to pounce if you want one.

Moving forward to this post, I’ve virtualized the entire shebang. No redundancy, but hey, it’s not like there was any before!  So now I’ve decommissioned all these old machines and am getting rid of them (as well as the spare parts I was keeping on hand).   I mean, it’s not like this equipment can run Vista (or for that matter, OSX or Ubuntu.)

Inwin Case.  When it ran RedHat 6.2 with no GUI, it was a Celeron 533 with 128MB RAM and two 3com NICs.  For its new life as WinXP, the CPU was changed to a PIII 500, 512MB RAM, a single Netgear NIC, a sound card and an ATI Rage AGP adapter.

This is what prompted me to write this post.  I just built my old faithful RedHat 6.2 server with over 3600 days of service into a WindozeXP machine that I’m passing forward to a friend (There was extensive vacuuming btw.)  .  It’s not fast, but it’s got VLC, Open Office, Firefox and AVG.  Hopefully it will help some young kids get their feet wet.  It’s a bittersweet farewell to that old beast.

4 Comments to Decomissioning of an old friend

  • I’m finally getting rid of my old Windows 2000 (which originally was ’98), 10-gig computer. Sustained writing all these years, although I couldn’t download any kind of music or anything else, for that matter. I’m so happy to have a state-of-the-computing world Mac, but the truth is I will miss all the whirring, trying-to-start-up burps and gyrations and the 3-minute lag for such to occur….so sentimental!

  • When you say ESX, do you mean ESX or ESXi? ESXi is working great for me on my xw6200. But I tried the 60 day trial of ESX and it won’t boot. The install completes, but on the initial boot, it hangs.

    I found your site when I did some searching. Funny that we both have xw6200’s from eBay for the same reason. 🙂

  • Hey Jobert, yes- I got ESX 3.5.0 running. I had some trouble with the BIOS settings, but after a few reboots and a little tweaking, it to came up without a PSOD. I don’t remember exactly what I did, but be sure to turn off all multi-media devices, and mess with some of the USB devices – believe it or not, you’ll want to leave some on. Also, FYI, I was running SATA drives, not IDE. Well, the CDrom was.

    Good luck!

  • Thanks. I will have to hunt down a SATA drive. But first, since I have a stack of U160 and U320 drives, I will go through the archives (the closet of doom) and find an old Adaptec instead of the evil LSI card I tried. I installed Server 2008 x64 as a punishment. We’ll see if the xw becomes more cooperative in the morning. 🙂