PowerEdge 860 Update

First off, sorry for the lack of pictures in this post. I wasn’t actively documenting while I was working on the server. Anyway, you probably remember my last post which had me working on a server computer that would refuse to stay on for more than 15 seconds without shutting back off. A bit over a week ago, I received the power supply unit that I had ordered for it. I popped it in and attached the power cables and booted up the server. To my surprise, it stayed running.

The first thing I found upon booting up the server was that the RAID configuration was marked as degraded due to a failed hard drive. I checked the RAID settings and found that the system was configured to mirror data onto both of the hard drives (RAID 1 or Integrated Mirroring, as the RAID controller called it). I pulled both hard drives and tested the S.M.A.R.T. diagnostic data on both. The first hard drive tested just fine, while the second hard drive had quite a few bad sectors.

Definitely not a good thing when you see that!

Since I don’t happen to have a 3.5″ SATA hard drive on hand, I decided to simply pull the bad hard drive and┬áconnect the other hard drive directly to the motherboard, removing the RAID card since it was no longer needed. What I discovered was that the server was running FreeBSD. After this, I decided I would install Ubuntu Server onto it.

I tried unsuccessfully booting from a USB flash drive (and finding out that it may not be possible to conventionally do so), and instead plugged a DVD-RW drive into the motherboard and installed from a CD. After installation, I removed the DVD-RW drive (it did not fit into the case and was not needed after installation).

Another issue I was having is that settings seemed to be lost each time the server lost power (i.e. being unplugged). I figured this might be due to a dead/weak CMOS battery, but the solution was actually a lot easier. The CMOS battery was simply not inserted all the way into its slot on the motherboard. This was a very easy fix, and settings were being saved successfully after that.

So, there you have it. With a little work, I was able to get a fully-functional server computer for about 16 bucks! Not bad, huh?