Version 59 (modified by Jamie McClelland, 10 years ago) (diff)


Installing Debian

Install Strategy

USB Stick

Come with a bootable USB stick with Debian Squeeze installed (as of 2010-05-25, all physical servers are being installed with squeeze and will be creating KVM virtual servers).

To create a USB installer for Debian Squeeze...

  • Download boot.img.gz.
  • Plug in USB stick (don't mount) - run dmesg | tail to figure out which device (e.g. sdb)
  • zcat boot.img.gz > /dev/DEVICE
  • mount /dev/DEVICE /mnt/
  • Download netinst ISO
  • Copy ISO image to /mnt/
  • Download BNX drivers (optional): aptitude download firmware-bnx2x; aptitude download firmware-bnx2
  • Copy the debs to /mnt/
  • umount /mnt
  • Done!

PXE Boot

Or, you can install using our naomi pxe install or telehouse pxe install.

Initial steps

  • Plug in monitor and keyboard
  • Boot machine while USB stick is inserted (or while a network cable is plugged directly into the PXE boot machine)
  • Enter Bios/Setup. Specify that Bios should output to serial console and make our standard bios changes
  • Ensure that server skips errors like no keyboard attached
  • Reboot and select Boot Options and choose to boot to USB stick (or network)
  • Choose Expert install
  • For DNS servers, use:
  • When prompted for component to use, include all of them to be safe (but be sure to include the SSH server one)
  • When given the option - choose to continue your installation via ssh - this will give you the ability to easily set and record pass phrases

Drive partioning/Disk setup

Our servers are now coming with four hot swappable disks.

The big picture is

  • One approximately 512MB partition on all four disks: configured as RAID1, used as boot partition
  • The rest of the space on each disk: configured as RAID10, used as encrypted disk
  • Encrypted disk: used as physical volume for LVM
  • Create on volume group: vg_${server_name}0
  • Create standard partitions as logical volume


Since we are using disks at are 2TB or bigger, we need to ensure that the partitions are created properly. Open a new ssh session and choose to switch to console.

parted /dev/sda -- mklabel gpt
parted /dev/sda -- unit s mkpart biosboot 8192 16383 
parted /dev/sda -- set 1 bios_grub on 
parted /dev/sda -- unit s mkpart boot 16384 1015807
parted /dev/sda -- set 2 raid on 
parted /dev/sda -- unit s mkpart pv 1015808 -1 
parted /dev/sda -- set 3 raid on 

parted /dev/sdb -- mklabel gpt
parted /dev/sdb -- unit s mkpart biosboot 8192 16383 
parted /dev/sdb -- set 1 bios_grub on 
parted /dev/sdb -- unit s mkpart boot 16384 1015807
parted /dev/sdb -- set 2 raid on 
parted /dev/sdb -- unit s mkpart pv 1015808 -1 
parted /dev/sdb -- set 3 raid on 

When done, type:

parted /dev/sda -- unit s p
parted /dev/sdb -- unit s p

And you should get:

0 sittingbull:~# parted /dev/sda unit s p
Model: ATA Hitachi HUA72303 (scsi)
Disk /dev/sda: 5860533168s
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
Partition Table: gpt

Number  Start     End          Size         File system  Name      Flags
 1      8192s     16383s       8192s                     biosboot  bios_grub
 2      16384s    1015807s     999424s                   boot      raid
 3      1015808s  5860533134s  5859517327s               pv

0 sittingbull:~#

You should be able to return to the graphical installer to do the rest.

For the record - here's how you can do it by hand:


mdadm --create --raid-devices=2 --level=1 --metadata=1.0 --verbose /dev/md0 /dev/sda2 /dev/sdb2 /dev/sdc2 /dev/sdd2
mdadm --create --raid-devices=4 --level=10 --metadata=1.0 --verbose /dev/md1 /dev/sda3 /dev/sdb3 /dev/sdc3 /dev/sdd3

Now cryptsetup:

anna-install cryptsetup-udeb
cryptsetup luksFormat /dev/md1
cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/md1 md1_crypt

pvcreate /dev/mapper/md1_crypt
vgcreate vg_nameofserver0 /dev/mapper/md1_crypt
lvcreate --name swap --size 1GB vg_nameofserver0

Choose manual partition in the Debian Installer. Then:

  • Choose "Congifure software RAID" (skip step if one disk system)
    • Choose "Create MD Device"
    • Choose RAID1
    • Number of active devices: 4
    • Number of spare devices: 0
    • Now select the second partition on each device.
    • Click Continue. Repeat for third partition on each device but select RAID10 instead of RAID1.
    • When you are done, click Finish. Now you are back at the partition menu.
  • Scroll down to the raid devices (or apply straight to your partitions if it's a one disk system). Modify the 512 MB RAID device: Filesystem: ext3, mount on /boot
  • Encrypt the larger, remaining device. Save passphrase in keyringer.
  • Choose "Congifure LVM" (selecting the device encrypted in the previous step)
  • Create a volume group called vg_nameofserver0
  • Create logical volumes in this volume group based on your needs. Suggestions: 3GB for /, 1GB swap.

Last steps

  • After returning to the main disk config menu, click on each logical volume that you create and specify how it should be formatted and mounted.
  • Enter root password. Save in keyringer.
  • Do not install the server package or the base package - deselect all of them.