Sys Admin

Charmander, the C6005 node, runs outside of its chassis! ¬†A few pictures of what I’ve done.


I couldn’t find my pin extractor, so I used two staples. It took me a long time, but I only had to solder one wire.


Down the middle are the two “No Connection” pins, and the one in the outer corner is the brown line that I haven’t analyzed yet. The system runs fine without it for now.


All connected up


We have post!


Ubuntu LiveCD with up to test connectivity ūüôā

This first node is going in a custom Backblaze-inspired chassis build. ¬†I ordered a bunch of parts from FrozenCPU for it and have laid out what I can in the chassis. ¬†Once I plan out how the hard drive cradles will work it’ll be time for playing with metal. ¬†So far though everything is fitting together even better than I could have hoped!

This will be the first part of my 1980’s inspired rack build. ¬†Hopefully it goes well since the others are counting on it.




I picked up a 3 node C6005 off of ebay awhile ago, and while I love the systems for their cost and ability, the chassis they are in leaves a lot to be desired for the home lab. ¬†So I’ve been attempting to figure out how to run the nodes outside their nurturing cocoon. ¬†Tyan lists on their datasheet that it uses a “Proprietary 20-pin (12V single input) power connector” so I pulled the server out of the rack and started taking some notes.
c6005 Power ConnectorOnce I had an idea of what the connector looked like I could measure the voltage at each pin. ¬†First odd thing is that when each node is ‘off’ pins 1 through 8 are all at 1V. ¬†Once powered they are all 12V. ¬†The other Yellow wire (pin 18) is the only 5V line. ¬†All of the black lines (11 – 17 & 19) are Ground. ¬†Pin 20, the Brown line, I’m not quite sure what it is. ¬†It goes to a 2 pin header on top of the power distribution board. ¬†My current thoughts are either a fan speed indicator or a “PSU on” control.

Also! ¬†Header “U15” ¬†by the USB port on the board are the power switch pins.


In the normal Windows fashion, it took me 2 hours to do something that should have taken 5 minutes.¬† Setup: A windows server is running Apache and a self-contained inventory webserver.¬† Going to the servers address “” should take it from Apache and bounce it to the inventory server is which incidentally requires the connection to be on port 8080.

Normally I would go into the .htaccess file and add one line

Redirect 301 / http://newip:8080

/ indicates that root is moved and 301 is the condition for a permanent move.  Easy

Here it wasn’t so.¬† First I had to modify the httpd.conf from:

AccessFileName .htaccess


AccessFileName ht.acl .htaccess

This makes it possible to create the file in explorer.  There are other ways around it but this is pretty easy.  Just create a file named ht.acl and treat it like a .htaccess file.

After that was done it seemed like Apache didn’t want to read the access file.¬† I had to change AllowOverride in the <Directory> command.¬† Originally it was “AllowOverride None” but it should be “AllowOverride All” so that the access file is given some power.¬† With it set as none it was as useless as a teenage boy at an anime convention.

I suppose overall it wasn’t difficult, but in the process I had to rewrite the whole .conf file.¬† It was an updated install that simply copied its configuration from an old one, preserving the old now incorrect file locations and all.

It’s been an extraordinarily long time since my last post.¬† I suppose things have¬† been relatively quiet.¬† There are a couple of possible projects coming down the pipeline so I’ve decided to finally make the push for a real server.¬† I’m going to retire the plentiful 1U’s for something much fancier.

Newegg is lovely as always.¬† There was a combo deal on the Hard Drive and the Barebones server.¬† I normally wouldn’t have gone for that model, but I’m not going to complain in this case.¬† I already have a slimline DVD drive to install and I’ll get another 4 gigs of RAM down the road.

Thankfully a good bit of the server will be subsidized by projects it will be used on, but I should probably give a brief rundown of my thought process anyway.

First, goals.¬† This WILL be a fully virtualized server.¬† I’m going to use Xen with an OpenSUSE 11.1 dom0.¬† My old Ubuntu webservers (2) will be virtualized from their 1Us and installed, as well as an OpenSolaris domU I’ve been wanting to experiment with.

That all being said it means I’d need 2 main things, first, a shitton of RAM, second, a processor that supports full virtualization.¬† I’m being kind of cheap so I went for the second cheapest one offered by Intel.¬† Yes, yes, I know AMD offers chips that support this for much lower cost, however, this box will be installed far away from where I’m sitting.¬† and has a few issues requirements.¬† Namely it has to be simple and silent.¬† The Asus barebones 1Us are amazing.¬† I’ve worked with this model before and it has a sturdy case, simple layout, and is silent.¬† When I graduate I will have more time to play with server builds but until then I’m going with the Asus.

Beyond that there really weren’t any choices.¬† 4 gigs vs 8 gigs was purely economical, as was the hard drive, and the DVD drive was already here.

I’m at the point in my Engineering study where I really have to give up on all this sys admin crap.¬† I need to move onto design, be it the electro-mechanical that surrounds the server or be it software design.¬† I know nothing about it and that’s really got to change.¬† Hopefully with this commitment I can forget about infrastructure for the next 4 years and concentrate only on real engineering.

This server should eat everything I throw at it, so maybe I’ll try and bomb it while I’m at Otakon.¬† We’ll see.