Tech Friday: Note from the Cranky Sysadmin

1. With VirtualBox chugging along, I’ve have developed super SysAdmin (systems administrator) powers, and created and destroyed dozens of Linux servers and desktop workstations using both Ubuntu and Red Hat operating systems. 

2. It takes over an hour to format an 8 gigabyte USB thumb drive in Windows 7. A quickformat will take just a couple of seconds. 

3. The Boss took a look at my old Linux books, (copyright 2002) and laughed a mirthless hollow laugh. “Those are really old books”.  I said, “yes, they are, but they happen to describe your really old operating systems.” 

4. The object of all of this virtual goodness is to upgrade the hardware on a currently production server that is around eight-years old. The problem is that the operating system, mySQL and PHP are equally old. Our idea was to transfer the existing production server, on to the new hardware, and then worry about upgrading, as we expect that some of the PHP will need to be rewritten. The problem is similar to the proverbial “change a tire on a car at 70 miles per hour”. To date, I’ve been working on several separate scenarios:

  • Shut down the server, and do a bit-copy of the old system to the new system 
  • Leave the server running and do a copy to the new system over the network.
  • Create a new empty server with the old versions of the OS (Redhat 7) and mySQL (3.23). Dump the mySQL data off the old server and restore to the new server. 
I’m pretty confident the first option will work, as long as the server can be booted from a CD or USB, and as long as it can be rebooted once we’ve taken it down. 

As near as I can figure out, the server has two mirrored 40gigabyte drives, which result in a single RAID drive at /dev/hdd.  In Theory… I can do a copy of /dev/hdd to the new hardware and boot.  
[root@hive root]# fdisk -l
Disk /dev/hda: 40.0 GB, 40020664320 bytes255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 4865 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/hda1 * 1 191 1534176 fd Linux raid autodetect
/dev/hda2 192 1211 8193150 fd Linux raid autodetect
/dev/hda3 1212 1721 4096575 fd Linux raid autodetect
/dev/hda4 1722 4865 25254180 f Win95 Ext’d (LBA)
/dev/hda5 1722 1912 1534176 fd Linux raid autodetect
/dev/hda6 1913 1977 522081 fd Linux raid autodetect
Disk /dev/hdc: 40.0 GB, 40020664320 bytes
16 heads, 63 sectors/track, 77545 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 1008 * 512 = 516096 bytes
Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/hdc1 * 1 3045 1534176 fd Linux raid autodetect
/dev/hdc2 3045 19301 8193150 fd Linux raid autodetect
/dev/hdc3 19301 27429 4096575 fd Linux raid autodetect
/dev/hdc4 27429 77536 25254180 f Win95 Ext’d (LBA)
/dev/hdc5 27429 30473 1534176 fd Linux raid autodetect
/dev/hdc6 30473 31509 522081 fd Linux raid autodetect
Disk /dev/hdd: 40.0 GB, 40020664320 bytes64 heads, 32 sectors/track, 38166 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 2048 * 512 = 1048576 bytes
Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/hdd1 1 38166 39081968 83 Linux
The crankyness is partly of my own making, and partly, just Linux, I think. For every command there is a separate program with dozens of options making it almost impossible to memorize anything. Since everything I’m doing at this stage doesn’t involve routine or repetition,it makes little sense to invest time into doing any scripting, which is, as far as I can tell, the traditional way a Linux guru copes with the command line. Usually after six months of being immersed in a foreign language, it begins to Make Sense. (that worked fine before). 

But Linux remains elusive. That’s where Virtualbox comes in; you can rehearse operations and try things out.       

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s