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IA64 (yes, Itanium) Linux advice

Last response: in Linux/Free BSD
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April 28, 2010 8:31:44 PM

So, I've inherited an old 1U dual Itanium 1400Mhz server at work. The original OS is crapped out, so the user decided he'd replace it with a new one rather than upgrade the optical drive to a DVD and reinstall the OS. I get to keep it for "practice".

I'm a test lab support tech. I have very little Linux experience, but extensive Window Server experience. They hired me because of my Windows experience, and said I'd learn Linux as I go along. Basically, my job is to install OSes for various systems so that the testers can more quickly test various scenarios. (So far, I've installed more AIX than Linux or Windows.) They get paid 3 times what I do, so it is more cost effective for me to do the installs and the testers do their testing.

So, I'm new to the whole Linux thing, sort of, and I need to install a version of Linux on this old machine. I get 4GB of DDR-266, 4X 36GB SCSI SCA drives, an IDE CD ROM drive, (no DVD installs, of course) and a 4GB FC card for connecting to our external storage, if needed.

Anyone know a good distro of Linux I can use for this? It will likely be a DNS and basic storage server when I'm done, since our current DNS server is an old 32-bit P4 box with a couple bad fans.
a b 5 Linux
April 28, 2010 8:53:21 PM

I have no direct experience of this as I don't have an IA64 to play with (much as I'd love to). However, if part of the aim is to learn about Linux, then I'd recommend you consider Gentoo. This will let you tailor the system to your exact needs. Have a look at the excellent Gentoo Linux/IA64 Handbook.

I wouldn't recommend Gentoo to a casual user, but as you seem have experience of server systems I don't think you would have much difficulty installing it. And you'll certainly learn more than by just installing a pre-configured distro.

On the other hand, don't blinker yourself by just considering Linux. Have a think about FreeBSD or one of the other BSDs. They are usually considered more stable as server systems than Linux (but not as flashy and "cutting edge").
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a b 5 Linux
April 28, 2010 10:04:07 PM

It wouldn't hurt to try Debian IA64 for Itanium. It's easier than gentoo harder than anything from RedHat.

http://cdimage.debian.org/debian-cd/5.0.4/ia64/iso-cd/d...

Most commercially available servers run on RedHat or Debian ( and Ubuntu ) or a RedHat clone like centos or less frequently fedora.

Good luck :) 
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a b 5 Linux
April 28, 2010 10:07:22 PM

You'll probably want to use a netinstall CD which is going to let you boot from a small CD and install the software from the distro's online software repositories.

This way you won't need to use a DVD, which you don't have, and you won't have to download 20 debian CDs.

Semper Fi :) 
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April 28, 2010 10:12:21 PM

Well, I didn't understand Gentoo's download page. I didn't know what of that I was supposed to download. None of them looked big enough to be a Linux install.

The FreeBSD downloads didn't work right. Disks 2 and 3 were far too small to be iso images, as they were only 384k.

I downloaded the Debian images and burned them to disk, but I haven't had the chance to try them out yet.
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Best solution

a b 5 Linux
April 28, 2010 10:51:27 PM

Here's the netinst page

http://www.debian.org/CD/netinst/#netinst-stable

and here's the documentation

http://www.debian.org/releases/stable/installmanual

Good luck :) 
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a b 5 Linux
April 29, 2010 6:21:53 AM

dgingeri said:
Well, I didn't understand Gentoo's download page. I didn't know what of that I was supposed to download. None of them looked big enough to be a Linux install.

The FreeBSD downloads didn't work right. Disks 2 and 3 were far too small to be iso images, as they were only 384k.

I downloaded the Debian images and burned them to disk, but I haven't had the chance to try them out yet.

What you need to install Gentoo is described quite comprehensively in the manual. But Debian is good too.

As for the FreeBSD ISOs, 2 and 3 do look small - but ISOs can be small. Unfortunately I can't check this out without an IA64 to play with.

Good luck with the project!
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April 29, 2010 2:15:14 PM

thanks to both of you. I'll try them out and see what I can learn.
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May 6, 2010 12:33:42 AM

Best answer selected by dgingeri.
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