I'm writing this partially because I hope to save a few people the headache I just had and partially because there are no babies around to eat.
So, I recently sold a bunch of stuff on eBay (as I previously mentioned). I then used that money to buy a new server. For the sake of making this article easier to find, here's what I bought:
Rackable Systems C2004 with:
- Intel S5000PSL mother board
- 2 x 2.66 dual core Xeon processors
The idea was to load up this server with RAM (it'll take 32Gb) and hard drives (4 x 2Tb SATA II) so that I could replace all of my other servers. This machine has plenty of horse power for performing my GIS work and for reducing my server count via virtualization. So, like I do with all servers, I went to install Ubuntu Linux. This is where the fun ends.
Trying to Set-up the Server
I will spare you some of the details, but I ended up trying to install Ubuntu via a USB thumb drive and a good 'ol IDE CD-ROM drive. Every time I ran the installer (for 10.04.3 and 11.04), the install worked. Everything appeared to be set up without a hitch Great, wonderful, weee! And then...
Good Luck Booting, Bro
It wouldn't boot. No matter how I did my install, with or without LVM, with or without EXT4, with or without sacrificing goats, it just wouldn't boot. I would just get a black screen with nothing more than a single blinking cursor. It wouldn't respond to keyboard input, yelling, or ritualistic dances. Booting the install media in rescue mode showed that the logs were empty. Clearly, I have a hardware problem.
From there, I started monkeying around with BIOS settings. I made sure my on-board (fake) RAID was disabled, that all of the settings were reasonable, and that I didn't have anything strange turned on. No dice. After days of troubleshooting, I started hitting the forums. One suggested that if I don't get a GRUB screen at all that it was a GRUB problem.
The problem was that I was using GRUB2. For some reason, it just didn't play nice with my mobo. So, I booted into rescue mode and executed a shell in my root partition and ran this (Because I was in a rescue terminal, I was already root. If you're not root, you must prefix these with sudo):
Magic! It booted! Hopefully this saves someone a headache.