Poweredge Sc440 Pci-e hack (x16 vga card in any slot)

I decided to re-write this looking at what i wrote last night, I was evidentally effected by the inhilation of melted plastic fumes.

I was recently sent a link to dell.com where there was an offer on their servers, making a dual core xeon with 4gb of ram etc.. dirt cheap. So without any hesitation I wipped the card out and a week later my brandnew machine arrived, the reasoning to myself was that this was going to be my new workstation. I stuck in a vista install disk and off I went, didn’t take long and a fresh install and a new machine was there ready to use. The poweredge comes with an onboard ATI es1000, which honestly is bloody awful. So without any real investigation i went out and purchased a gfx card allowing me to hopefully have some sort of graphics acceleration in my machine. New GFX card in hand I opened up my dell machine and found there was no where inside the machine for this card to fit…

Centos 5.1 Xen build (domU)

Here is a quick how to for installing centOS 5.1 in a domU, this is a netinstall so all thats required is a kernel and a ramdisk. The latest release is 5.1 and i’m in the uk so I’m using the UK mirror.

The Kernel and ramdisk are found here, download these using wget or any of your favourite methods and place somewhere in your dom0. In my templates folder/xen you will find a simple template for a centos config, change the paths to match your kernel and ramdisk… you’ll also need to change the disk to whatever you’re using, disk image or another LV.

then xm create -c <centos_config> and you’re away.

 The templates folder can be found here.


I’ve used GNU screen for absolutely ages,  a recent chat made me have a look around for an alternative, the alternatives are at best weak. The best i found was a program called twin, which cleverly enough stands for Text WINdow manager….  🙁

 It works *just*  there is a screenshot, but I think im going to stick to screen for now

chasing your tail

In my earlier builds (v66) of opensolaris xen domUs i’d already been through the playing around with the networking bug. So realistically you would document all of the steps that you took with the physical nic and virtual nic’s etc.. whoops

I decided that i’d do a fresh install with (v77) of opensolaris, which after discovering in the bug report has a kernel problem with mounting HSFS. This means that it can’t use an install cd properly (genius), the bug report suggests doing a NFS install which is fantastic(regarding the networking bug requires a reboot and the boot_archive updating).


bash-3.2# uname -a
SunOS host-a 5.11 snv_77 i86pc i386 i86xpv

Notes to follow

Bleeding edge sometimes makes too much mess

As my continual ‘tinkering’ I prefer to think of it as fannying around I decided that my half-baked/uncompleted solaris domU’s may as well be built from the latest version of open solaris, generally released quite regularly. Latest is 77, which as i managed to find after an hour of fiddling has a bug — YOU CANT INSTALL IT.

So luckily i’ve found version 75 which im downloading ever so slowly from a russian site, hopefully by tomorrow I can start to re-do my domU 🙂

Solaris install hang

Setting up Java, please wait... *HANG*

Not really investigated this issue fully, however thanks to baggy there is an easy solution. In the boot options select:

6. Single user mode

This will drop you straight to a shell where we can start the install process manually. The normal (console) install follows these steps:

1. mount cd-rom

2. dhcp network interfaces

3. do some java initialization

4. start the solaris install procedure

It is step 3 where the installation process hangs for some reason, so we simply manually do these steps. From the shell:

mount -F hsfs  /dev/dsk/c0d6p0 /cdrom

Should you wish to play with the java initialisation then:




For pretty much everything that needs doing i’d recommend using this link: here  

One of the primary reasons for the creation of the xen box would be the inclusion of solaris domU’s, these generally would be for testing and general usage etc..

Google Open solaris and again you’re faced with a plethora of scraps and tid-bits of information with regards to creating and more importantly troubleshooting a solaris domU. This was originally the most upto date and comprehensive guide with troubleshooting that I found –> here. However this would start to load and then present me with a kernel panic in the domU, this was a quick fix though as it was down to the kernel and ramdisk being 32bit.

‘A quick change in the extraction of the kernel and ramdisk, just make sure that you pop into the 64bit directory where the 32bit kernel is and grab that one if you’re on a 64bit box. ‘

On grabbing those you’ll find that starting your domU presents you with this:

Started domain solaris-a
SunOS Release 5.11 Version xen-nv66-2007-06-24 64-bit
Copyright 1983-2007 Sun Microsystems, Inc.  All rights reserved.
Use is subject to license terms.
WARNING: Found xen v3.1.0 but need xen v3.0.4-1-sun
WARNING: The kernel may not function correctly

Ignore the version problem, doesn’t appear to cause any sort of issue. Once the domU is using the correct kernel etc. it will work as any normal native install does.