Updating an IBM 366

Friday, May 15, 2009 

Today I’m updating an IBM 366-8863 to be a new home server because not having a quad 64 bit Xeon box with 24G of RAM and 6 x 72G SAS RAID 10 in your house would be like watching tv on a black and white CRT or something… and it was $350 on eBay so who could resist?  It will replace the old 5500 M20 and save 3U in the rack and probably a lot of power for a decent NAS box.

IBM eSeries x336

Unlike the 335, the 366 does not have a floppy drive.  There’s actually room in the cas right behind the IBM logo, next to the lightpath diagnostics and above the optical drive…  maybe I should get out my dremel and start looking for a 266Mhz 64bit PCI-X floppy controller.

The 366 is supported by the IBM Bootable Media Creator, which is a new thing for me.  This tool gathers all of the most recent firmware updates for the servers you specify (or all supported ones) and creates a single bootable disk (the 335 is not supported).   The tool found 23 updates for the 8863, though the versions are not all the same as you get doing the one-by-one download (there’s an option to select manually, but the integrated one-click approach is much easier).

All you do is download the creator tool for the OS of your choice, execute it, specify the systems you want to support, let it gather the updates and build the disk and it will even burn the disk for you.  Once the update disk is burned, you simply boot with it into a GUI (which supports normal mouse keyboard) and a few restarts later you have a fully patched machine.

The only thing left is to use the latest ServeRAID disk to update your ServeRAID configuration.

Nice job IBM!  This sort of thing is why I like IBM machines.  Plus they’re black.  And they have the built in  KVM/console controller over IP (remote supervisor II).

Posted at 18:45:49 UTC

Category: FreeBSDtechnology

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