A journey to .Net

Starting a development server

Friday, 28 May 2010 20:18 by mBerube
(Also available in: français)


I'm a lot less involved in my blog for a couples weeks. Summer is coming and I also got a used Dell server, decommissioned by a company. That a good occasion to improve my sys admin skills and having a real development server.

I would not give all the details in that post but there's some situations I faced. For professional sys admin, all this is piece of cake but with my programmer background, many of these things were unknown to me just one month ago :

  • Installing et configuring RAID : the server has a Adaptec RAID card that I set for RAID 1 (mirror) and everything works, easily and quickly (but I still have some performance issue to check for later)
  • Installing an OS on DVD on a server with only a CD-ROM drive : here, new challenge. I could buy a DVD ROM and install it but I don't like really much working with fragile optical media so I looked for alternatives and I found the procedure to format a USB thumb drive, make it bootable and use it to install the OS. For the details of that procedure, go to Technet. To install the OS (windows server 2008 R2), nothing special, except a bit of extra work to find the RAID card drivers. For the rest, it's almost the same as intalling Vista or Windows 7.
  • Partitions : I like having a partition for the OS and software ande another one for data. I forgot to do it before installing windows server but the Disk Manager is awesome. You can resize a partition like Partition Magic does but you can also do it live, on the OS partition, with the server running. Wow !
  • RAM Upgrade : the machine came with 1GB of RAM. It was a bit low for the tasks I want this machine to accomplish (see below). I bought 2x2gb ram in my favorite computer parts retailer. I was wrong. I learned (the hard way) that server are more specific about the kind of ram they support. I finally found a supplier for the right kind of RAM I needed (it cost me a little more but not much) and now my server have 5gb of ram, enough to do what it needs to do.
  • The softwares:
    • SQL Server : I has never install the full version of SQL server before (by that, I means, not the Express version). It's a bit more complicated than express, there's many service accounts to create and I didn't help myself by putting the database files at the wrong place but I finally make it works. Remember to setup TCP access to SQL server to allow connection from another machine.
    • IIS 7.5 : easy to install and with a little add-on (IIS Management Console), you can manage the IIS server completely from the IIS on your local machine. Nice.
    • VisualSVN Server : the simplest way to setup a Subversion server. It's a little (and free) tool that you install on windows and that simplify all administrative tasks of a source control. On the dev machine,  TotoiseSVN is a must.
    • Vmware server : my server is too old for the Microsoft virtualization technology (Hyper-V) so I installed Vmware Server. It's not really complicated to install, you use a Web interface to administer your virtual machines. It make administration easy and portable but the web application have somes bugs. I also have difficulties installing properly Ubuntu server (I'm at my 3rd attempts) for PHP and Ruby development. I'm still working on this.

That's it. This is where I spent most of my free time for the last weeks so you understand why my blogs isn't as active as it could be. I keep you informed.

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Categories:   Programmer life
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