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User Journal

Journal Journal: Linux PXE server P2V: Debian Testing + Vmware Workstation 11

Keeping older hardware useful:
P2V and V2P with an old Debian Testing PXE server and Vmware Workstation 11
By Dave Bechtel / Kingneutron

MARCH 2017 â" so I've had an old PXE server (an âoeASUS S-pressoâ - Pentium-4, 32-bit portable box) sitting around for the last few years, and got a wild hair to do a P2V on it â" make sure it still works right and test an upgrade of Debian Testing to modern standards. Last time this box was booted was November 2013 â" and it was provisioned with Dreamlinux 5 back in January of 2012.

--Thankfully, the SATA drive and CMOS battery have survived with apparently no ill effects, since the box has been moved around through a couple of house changes with no special storage arrangements â" it's basically been unpowered sitting in a corner.

( My unit has a PCI slot on the right that has a Gig Ethernet card in it, and an unused AGP video card slot on the left. Motherboard only supports 100Mbit Ether. )

--Rather than using the antiquated PS/2 ports, I used an adapter to combine a USB keyboard and mouse into (1) USB port.

STEP 1: BACKUP the physical PC

--This box is so old, I had to install fsarchiver (my preferred backup) manually. Incidentally, it's also heavy as hell with a DVD drive and a standard SATA hard drive, so removing the DVD and converting to an SSD (or laptop drive) to save weight would be recommended if I wanted to haul it around.

(Physical box, bash shell, as root)
# apt-get update; apt-get install fsarchiver

# ddir=/mnt/extra
# outfile=spresso-p2v-backup-20170302.fsarchive.fsa
# rootdev=/dev/sda3

# time fsarchiver -o -A -z 1 -j 2 savefs \
    $ddir/$outfile \
    $rootdev

# cd $ddir
# fsarchiver archinfo $outfile 2> flist--$outfile.txt

--I then copied âoespresso-p2v-backup-20170302.fsarchive.fsaâ to my ZFS server (method omitted), since we will need it later for the restore.

--Also, since all of my Squid cache and ISO files for PXE are on /mnt/extra, I made a tar backup of those to my ZFS server.

# cd /mnt/extra
# time tar czpf /mnt/bkpspace/spresso-mnt-extra-bkp-20170302.tgz *

-------------

STEP 2: Setup the P2V VM in Vmware Workstation 11 and restore the backup

--I tried as much as possible to duplicate the physical box, but in this case I already had a P2V VM of my daily workstation (Ubuntu 14.04) that I wasn't using, so adding a 3rd virtual drive to the existing VM and re-using the existing GRUB saved me some steps. Running ' update-grub ' on the Ubuntu side after restoring enabled me to boot my restored environment.

VM details:

RAM: 1.5GB
Processors: 1
SCSI1: 23.5GB (this is the Ubuntu drive)
SCSI2: 20GB ( this is /home and swap )
SCSI3: added as new and then Expanded from 10GB to 60GB (after running out of space)

Net1: Bridged (gets DHCP address from my LAN)
Net2: Started out as Host-only and ended up as LAN Segment â" this enabled the âoeclientâ bare VM to boot over the network.

--I used Systemrescuecd to boot the VM, issued ' startx ' and used ' gparted ' to make 2 partitions that fairly closely matched my physical layout.

PROTIP: In hindsight, I should have made the root partition around 15-20GB because of all the package upgrades that needed to be downloaded. (I ran out of space on root once during the upgrade and had to issue an ' apt-get clean ' to free up space.)

sdc3: 10GB ext4 (restored root) â" make yours bigger.
sdc4: 50GB ext4 (/mnt/extra)

PROTIP: ' tune2fs -m1 /dev/sdc3 ' -- this will reduce the reserved space for ext4 and give you some extra usable free space.

--Now, since I had plenty of space to work with, I copied my fsarchive backup file from my ZFS server to the 50GB VM partition.

(still in Systemrescuecd, in the VM)

# mkdir /mnt/tmp
# mount /dev/sdc4 /mnt/tmp
# cd /mnt/tmp

# ifconfig # Make note of my IP address
# nc -l -p 32100 |tar xpvf -
##Netcat - Listen on port 32100 and untar

(Now on my ZFS server)
# tar cpf - spresso-p2v-backup-20170302.fsarchive.fsa |nc -w 5 192.168.1.95 32100
## (tar to stdout and stream a copy of the backup file to the VM's IP address)

--This is basically a quick-and-dirty way to transfer files over the network without resorting to FTP or slow SSH file copies â" the fsarchive backup file ended up being around 3GB and transferred in less than a minute over Gig Ethernet.

--Now to restore the backup:

(still in Systemrescuecd, in the VM)
# time fsarchiver restfs spresso*.fsa id=0,dest=/dev/sdc4

--And that's half the battle right there. Now we just need to make some changes to the restored /etc/fstab so it will boot. ( If we were doing a full migration, we would also need to adjust things like /etc/network/interfaces , /etc/rc.local , /etc/hostname , /etc/hosts )

--For completeness, here's more info on how to do a Linux bare-metal backup and restore:
http://crunchbang.org/forums/viewtopic.php?id=24268

--So now I ' reboot ' into the VM's already-installed Ubuntu 14.04 and edit my Dreamlinux /etc/fstab.

# mkdir /mnt/tmp
# mount /dev/sdc3 /mnt/tmp

# screen -aAO # PROTIP: GNU screen is invaluable for switching between virtual terminal windows

# fdisk -l # check out our disks
# blkid # get partition labels and UUIDs /dev/sdb2: LABEL="swapb" UUID="f0eb7148-4ff2-4eeb-a82c-349d384a5255" TYPE="swap" PARTUUID="ff1ca075-02" /dev/sdc3: LABEL="root" UUID="38f1d4be-3293-4272-ab79-4ad76cbd5a36" TYPE="ext4" PARTUUID="3a3b65f3-03" /dev/sdc4: LABEL="extra" UUID="603a61fc-4436-4cb0-baac-ef9170754228" TYPE="ext4" PARTUUID="3a3b65f3-04"

--NOTE that fsarchiver will by default restore the same UUID and filesystem label, so no worries.

( Now Hit Ctrl-A, then c to create a new Screen )

# cd /mnt/tmp/etc
# jstar fstab # use your own editor here, I happen to like Wordstar key bindings ;-)

--Now we can switch between those 2 virtual terminal windows and even copy/paste text without using the mouse. See ' man screen ' for more details.

--To make a long story short, I added or verified the following to SpressoVM's /etc/fstab to enable my existing swap partition and double-check that the root filesystem would be mounted as expected.

LABEL=swapb none swap sw,pri=2 0 0
LABEL=extra /mnt/extra ext4 defaults,noatime,rw 0 2

--While I'm here, I also restored the /mnt/extra files from their tar backup as well.

# umount /mnt/tmp # we're done with restored root

# mount /dev/sdc4 /mnt/tmp
# cd /mnt/tmp
# nc -l -p 32100 | tar xzpvf -

( then on my ZFS Server )

# cd /mnt/bkpspace; time cat spresso-mnt-extra-bkp-20170302.tgz |nc -w 5 192.168.1.95 32100

( now back in the VM )

# update-grub # make sure ubuntu knows how to boot dreamlinux
# reboot

--And that's pretty much it. After that, to make a long story short, I went through several cycles of
' apt-get upgrade ' and ' apt-get dist-upgrade ' making VM Snapshots along the way, and had to make allowances for files that were provided in more than one package.

--I also upgraded the kernel from 3.10-3-686-pae to linux-image-4.9.0-1-686. The full saga is documented with errors and fixes, so email me if you want to know more (but it's a pretty long read.)

# apt-cache search 4.9.0 |awk '{print $1}'

# apt-get install linux-headers-4.9.0-1-686 linux-headers-4.9.0-1-686-pae linux-headers-4.9.0-1-all \
linux-headers-4.9.0-1-common linux-support-4.9.0-1 linux-image-4.9.0-1-686-pae

STEP 3: Test PXE booting with another VM using a dedicated network segment

--The end result of all this: I created a âoeblankâ VM with the capability to boot from network (needed to modify the VM's BIOS for this) and after switching the 2nd network adapter to âoeLAN segmentâ I successfully booted the VM from PXE! Mission Accomplished!
--Now, since I've done all the heavy lifting in the VM and my original box is still working the same as it was (but running old software) I can use pretty much the same procedure to do a V2P (Virtual to Physical) to a spare 500GB laptop drive instead of having to repeat the upgrade all over again.

--For brevity, these are the instructions I include in my bkpsys-2fsarchive script:

# time fsarchiver restfs backup-root-sda1--ubuntu1404*.fsa id=0,dest=/dev/sdf1
Statistics for filesystem 0
* files successfully processed:....regfiles=159387, directories=25579, symlinks=49276, hardlinks=25, specials=108
* files with errors:...............regfiles=0, directories=0, symlinks=0, hardlinks=0, specials=0
real 4m26.116s
( 3.9GB )

# mkdir /mnt/tmp2
# mount /dev/sdf1 /mnt/tmp2

# grub-install --root-directory=/mnt/tmp2 /dev/sdf
# mount -o bind /dev /mnt/tmp2/dev; mount -o bind /proc /mnt/tmp2/proc; mount -o bind /sys /mnt/tmp2/sys
# chroot /mnt/tmp2 /bin/bash
# update-grub
[[
Generating grub configuration file ...
Warning: Setting GRUB_TIMEOUT to a non-zero value when GRUB_HIDDEN_TIMEOUT is set is no longer supported.
Found linux image: /boot/vmlinuz-4.2.0-36-generic
Found initrd image: /boot/initrd.img-4.2.0-36-generic
Found linux image: /boot/vmlinuz-3.19.0-25-generic
Found initrd image: /boot/initrd.img-3.19.0-25-generic
Found memtest86+ image: /boot/memtest86+.elf
Found memtest86+ image: /boot/memtest86+.bin
Found Ubuntu 14.04.4 LTS (14.04) on /dev/sda1
done
]]

# grub-install /dev/sdf # from chroot

^D
# umount -a /mnt/tmp2/*

# DON'T FORGET TO COPY /home and adjust fstab for swap / home / squid BEFORE booting new drive!
# also adjust etc/network/interfaces , etc/rc.local , etc/hostname , etc/hosts

--Once I had Knoppix up and running in the âoeblankâ VM, I used ' gparted ' to make a 768MB Swap partition and used the rest as a âoedataâ ext4 partition.

--NOTE that while the PXE boxes are running a 32-bit processor and environment, CLIENT boxes can boot a 64-bit kernel and environment as long as the CLIENT processor is capable.

STEP 4: Reverse the process and upgrade the physical box

--I haven't done the âoeV2Pâ part yet, but that's not a high priority at this point since I have everything pretty much the way I like it right now.

User Journal

Journal Journal: HOWTO safe rm in Linux 1

--HOWTO safe rm on Linux (at least):

- Interactive:
o Use Midnight Commander. Works from a text terminal, no GUI needed.
Insert to mark files/dirs, F8 to delete. Never had a misfire, even as root.

- Script (for the paranoid, and want a log):
IF you have a known dir " destdir=/tmp/blah " with a subdir " /tmp/blah/1 "
$ cd $destdir && cd 1 && cd .. && rm -rv 1/* |tee /tmp/rm.txt

- REALLY safe rm, with find:
# find multiple (known) names of files > 40 days old in a given directory and delete them
bkpath="/mnt/bkpdrive"
pathh="$bkpath/work/bkpsys-laptop-p2400-thinkpad-xubuntu-14-04-LTS--64--sda7"
cd $pathh && \
        find $pathh/* \( -name "bkp*gz" -o -name "bkp*bz2" -name "bkp*lzop" -o -name "flist*" \) -type f -mtime +40 -exec /bin/rm -v {} \;

--If you need to delete multiple levels of subdirectories, or dotfiles -- do it interactively, and use MC.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Current mood: Pensive -- 2011 1

" See the man with the lonely eyes
Oh Take his hand, you'll be surprised " -- Supertramp

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGI6qQHFlPk

Give a little bit
  Give a little bit of your love to me
  Give a little bit
  I'll give a little bit of my love to you
  There's so much that we need to share
  Send a smile and show you care

  I'll give a little bit
  I'll give a little bit of my love to you
  So give a little bit
  Give a little bit of your time to me

  See the man with the lonely eyes
  Take his hand, you'll be surprised

  Give a little bit
  Give a little bit of your love to me
  I'll give a little bit of my love for you
  Now's the time that we need to share
  So find yourself, we're on our way back home

  Going home
  Don't you need to feel at home?
  Oh yeah, we gotta sing

=======

--Pensive, but trying to stay Positive
/ Looking for work

User Journal

Journal Journal: Saving Graces - 2010

So a couple of weeks ago I was truly ready to call it quits, and start learning how to live with being single again for a while.

Sometimes, God steps in where you weren't expecting, and really does something to save your ass.

Things are better now. She's doing better than I am, these days. We're even looking at going to a different church.

Such fierce loyalty, such commitment... The full-on realizations, soul-searching, and changes on her side lately have been incredible. It wasn't what I was really expecting, that night -- but having gone through something similar myself a while ago, it's definitely something I value - and respect.

All I can do is remember to be humble, and thankful, and try to be a better (and Godly) man, for both our sakes... she deserves nothing less.

User Journal

Journal Journal: This is Spring? - 2010

My house is cold, even though I have had the heat on for about a week and a half... This is the coldest d--n Spring in memory.

Announcements

Journal Journal: I has a sad - 2010 1

--Last night, I said something that hurt somebody I really care about.

--Needless to say I did not get any sleep, and had a horrible day wracked with guilt and shame - wishing I could take it back and make things OK again... We were actually having a pretty good time until I caught Teh Stupid.

--Looking back on it, I am appalled not just at my own words, but also the way I said them. I thought I was "being honest", but I was really being insensitive (and blinded to it by my own callousness.)

--I kept checking my phone for texts that never came, and feeling low. Spent most of the day thinking about it with a big pain in my heart, and keeping the tears back.

- I couldn't get this song out of my head all day:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoW3bqnr7tw

--She is one of the best things in my life, and I acted the fool.

--Honey, Six -- if you're reading this, please forgive me - I really am sorry.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Christmas

Oh, to -not- be feeling sick on Cmas...

I've got the typical upper-respiratory garbage; excessive mucus, sore throat, mild headache. All stuff I could do without, especially since I have a largely phone-based job.

So far, 2008 hasn't been the greatest - except for Holly. It all would have been about 3x as hard to deal with if it wasn't for her.

I miss the Old Farmers Almanac and the Honey Nut Cheerios.
But, I got some really cool stuff this year - Holly went all-out and got me -all- the Halo sci-fi books, plus a GPS navigation system. So I got that going for me. ;-)

Wishing you all a great Christmas... :D

User Journal

Journal Journal: Quieting down

Things are quieting down a bit at work, which is nice. Holly and I are still doing well together :)

More updates as time allows...

User Journal

Journal Journal: Horrible week

Well it's pretty much been a horrible week so far. Been stuck in a stuffy room for Citrix training the last 4 days, (with NO BREAKS scheduled besides LUNCH, mind you) -- and been SO TIRED, that I can barely function well enough to drive all the way home from work without crashing into the guy in front of me. Not to mention that homeward traffic has been sucky all week too.

The instructor zoomed thru the whole course like a bat out of hell, which pretty much left me in the lurch as to: HOW DOES THIS TRAINING APPLY TO MY DAILY JOB?? ~:(

Then Wed, my hard drive CRASHED at work and I lost pretty much everything stored there, including the Virtual Machine I've been developing to make the server farm searchable. Last backed-up copy on my USB stick is from like the 18th.

On top of that, I haven't been able to see Holly all week (except for Tue night Bible study) -- then I get the guilt trip for BEING TIRED and having to cancel plans.

Need prayer -- overwhelmed, annoyed, and feeling like some major change needs to happen.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Started a NEW JOB on Monday!!!

Haven't said anything about it till now cuz I didn't want to Jinx it. I'm working for a large agricultural company, doing monitoring and troubleshooting of their (extensive) Web server cluster. It may involve Vmware ESX admin skills in the future - and it's 1st shift :-)

So far it's 1/2 year contract-to-hire possibility -- please PRAY for my long-term job needs, as right now it looks like a very good place to build a career!

Going good so far -- will try to post more often, but it depends on how busy I get.

Please write me an email if you have time!

Dave

User Journal

Journal Journal: Okay, so it's been a while ;-)

Been busy with work and stuff.

Right now I'm working a 1-week contract installing some network equipment; need prayer for reliable work SOON... Will share more as time permits. TIA.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Playing catch-up

Had to call in to work today -- ice storm hit and the GF lost power for a few hours. I've been OK tho; just the roads were bad and I didn't want to chance it. A coworker got in a major 5-car accident on Sat (he's pretty much OK - but he was in the hosp wearing a neck brace for a while, and his car got Totalled.)

Working 6 days a week now - Sats are a pain. Keep me in prayer -- Thanks!

User Journal

Journal Journal: Things going OK at work, need to play catch-up w/ funds tho

I've been working since Nov 5; things are going OK right now but Cmas will definitely be "light" this year. Lots of bills and outstanding stuff to catch up on. And the "official" contract ends in April, so I'll prolly be looking for work again sometime in Spring.

Keep me in prayer - I need to read my Bible *every day* - and I'll be missing Holly for 2 days this weekend because she can't come to Decatur with me for the fam reunion.

Looking fwd to seeing my brother and family again tho.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Job going well, family reunion on the 1st

Sorry for not writing much lately -- been busy.

I'm working 7am-4 now, with some Saturdays coming up (supposedly) -- but I'm planning on going to the family reunion in Decatur on the 1st. As long as we have someone to take care of the cats-n-birds, Six should be coming along as well. :-)

Gimme a call if you'd like to catch up; I should have a fairly slow week til Thu or so.

User Journal

Journal Journal: New Job :-)

Started a new job Monday working for the local tax people (Major worldwide company. ;-) ) I'll be working 1st shift for like the 1st time Evar.

Haven't been on the phones yet, but the training has been going well. I'm a little nervous about manning the phones (I'm 2nd-tier tech support) but I've done it before. Just have to get used to their way of doing things, and knowing WHERE TO FIND ANSWERS...

Keep me in prayer, it might turn out to be something of a high-stress job ;-)

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