Oracle X5-2, from bare metal to VM Server. Without disks, without dvd drive.

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Oracle offers a fine machine called the X5-2. Not to be confused with the ODA X5-2, which comes with sophisticated database software. The X5-2 is just bare metal.

The X5-2 is a 1HE 2 socket Intel machine with limited configuration options in terms of processor speed, number of cores and storage.

I will show you how to install Oracle VM Server software without even having a dvd drive for the installation disk, nor a hard drive to store the VM Server software and configuration.

We accomplished doing so completely relying on USB drives.

Note! Having the VM Server run from a usb is not supported for production environments. In the end we decided not to go that way for exactly that reason.

The X5-2 has 4 USB slots: 2 inside the machine and 2 on the front side. On inside slot is occupied, by default, by an Oracle USB containing the Oracle System Assistant. This USB should not be removed, nor used to store VM Server software and/or configuration.

We inserted a Kingston 8GB USB 2.0 stick, kindly provided by Oracle, in the free internal slot. This was to be the software destination.

On the front side we have 2 free slots. Why not tell the server to boot from that USB slot in order to install the software?

First we need a bootable USB containing the installation software. Download the VM Server software, V77111_01.iso in our case, which is Vm Server 3.3.3.

To create that USB, download a free program like Universal-USB-Installer to create a bootable USB with the VM Server installation software. It’s very easy to use.

Put that USB (in our case) in the left front USB slot and we’re ready to go.

Before you continue, click here

Apologies for the poor pictures… I can’t take screenshots and tried to avoid the reflection of my camera flash.

 

First we need to set the bios settings in order te boot from the right device.

  1. IF the configuratio screen pops up, press F2. THis will open the Setup menu (might take a while).
  2. Choose the menu option BIOS and press F9. This will set the right defaults.
  3. Go to Boot choice 1 and press Enter. Choose the first boot device and press Enter. This should be the internal USB stick that we just installed. Then go to the second choice, press Enter and choose the external USB device (USB:USB3:<make-of-the-device>.
  4. Pree F10 to save your configuration and leave the menu.
  5. The computer restarts.

Eventually (this takes several boring minutes) you’ll get the next screen:

Choose Hard drive. USB sticks are seen as hard drives.

Since we have several of them, you need to pick one. The one on the front to be exactly.

After some trial&error we found that in our case we need /dev/sdb1

In the next screen you need to choose where the software should be installed. I’ll show you some attempts and eventually the right choice.

Mind the asterisk: The internal USB that we placed is sdc. Again, in our case. Don’t assume it will be the same in your case.

Wrong choice: Allthough it’s an empty stick, there is no free space. Free space assumes it is a formatted disk, apparently.

The right choice is this:

We still selected sdc by the way, which is not visible here.

Oacle will now automatically create 3 partitions on this drive.

Now we ran into an error that cost us quite some time:

The installer has tried to mount image #1, but cannot find it on the hard drive. (This line I inserted for google search purposes:))

Skipping all the attempts… This was solved by stopping the installation, taking out the USB stick on the front, and copying the downloaded ISO file to the root of the installation USB. Yes, the same ISO we used to create the bootable USB in the first place.

Now insert the USB again and start all over. Very easy, just follow the book.

 

In the end, we decided this was not the way to go. Installation from USB is fine, but installation to USB is not supported. Since we were attached to a SAN anyway, we decided to create LUNs to boot from. This solved another issue too: suppose your USB dies…. You don’t want to do the installation all over again, would you?

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Pom Bleeksma is Oracle consultant at AMIS

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