Hello Xserve!

It’s been almost a year since I bought an old rack for all my one server, and I’ve toyed with the idea of getting rid of it. I don’t really need it, having only 1/12th as many servers as I could theoretically fit into this cabinet, and my office being about 2.8m square it takes up a non-negligible amount of space.

I had considered briefly, rather recently, selling my R510 while it’s still worth something (indeed it’s presently worth more than it owes me, somehow!) and buying a tower server of a bit newer vintage instead. But fuck it, in for a penny, in for a pound… I bought a shelf to sit the VDSL modem on, and arranged to buy a rack-mount Unifi switch to complement the rest of them, and started thinking about how else I’d fill the thing up without spending an arm and a leg on power and having 60 fans spinning all day every day.

A UPS is obvious, but expensive and I don’t really need one (I have one, it’s just not a rack-mount unit), but beyond that? I reasoned while casually browsing eBay one day last week that I could fill it full of interesting but mostly useless hardware, that I would not be inclined to turn on. They’d be essentially curios, that I may turn on once or twice a year, and that’s it. I took a look at the bottom end of the “enterprise servers” section of eBay and found a few interesting things, like some old Sun Fire gear that’s exactly up my alley, that perfect gaudy, pre-to-mid-dotcom-boom aesthetic that I absolutely adored. Nothing SGI in my price range, naturally, but whaddyagonnado.

But at the bottom end of the lane of the e-waste pound I found something I originally passed up: an original Apple Xserve, ca. 2001 (indeed I’d not been yet married a year when they first came out) for ten bucks. Why, shipping was more than that! Missing a couple of hard disk caddies, but screw it, that mostly fits the bill, there’s no way I’m leaving that on 247 I seem to recall that they’re very loud.

So it arrived today and after work I set about taking a look at it, and I soon overlooked a very grave error on my part - the caddies that it has included were all blanks! So I’ve no way of putting a disk into the machine at all, even though I’ve got piles of PATA (yes, pre-SATA!) disks that’ll likely fit it. Bugger!

Back to eBay for a look, and nope the PATA-pinned caddies for it start at about $50, I don’t care that much and it’s supposed to be a curio right? Otherwise, the thing looks pretty much as-advertised. It’s a bit dinged up, but not much of it where it matters. It’s missing the rear rack ears, but I’ll make something work. It’s a screamer alright, and I sure wouldn’t be leaving it running - sans disks, it clocks about 100W all day long, and nothing ever throttles down from what I can tell, it’s full noise all day long.

I burned the macpps OpenBSD port onto a CD, stuck it in the drive, and it booted, so that’s good enough for me. I’ll figure out a permanent home for it later, and I might see if I can install OBSD to a USB drive, but other than that it’s just going to be for looks.

… or I might replace the entire rack with a T430 or something instead, dunno yet.

Horsham, VIC, Australia fwaggle

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Horsham, VIC, Australia

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