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Ok so basically I have a web server in a datacenter. However I have purchased a new enterprise SSD and I had it shipped to my house. Rather than installing it on another server in my datacenter, what I want to do is put some things on it while at my office, and later have it sent to the datacenter ready-to-go.

What I am not sure is what is involved in doing this. I am aware I need a static IP or at least an unchanging IP for the duration of the server's uptime while at my house. Besides that, I am not sure. Basically I want to fully configure a new server onto my new SSD (which I know how to do), but do that from home. That way I can send the completed and ready-to-go SSD to be plugged into my server.

What I want to know is how I can do this from home. I have a Windows computer. Of course, I will need to install CentOS onto the SSD and then be able to have it access the internet to do things like download software over SSH, etc.

What do I need to do for this? Can I perform this operation within Windows? How can I do this without booting into the drive alone (which would otherwise disable my computer while temporary server is in use, which is impractical)?

Moreover, how would I configure IP without having my ISP give me a static IP which my ISP does not offer (I asked)? Keep in mind this server is temporary only for configuration, would not be up for more than a week or two which means that my home external IP address would work just fine.

Any advice you could give on this operation will be very appreciated. I do not intend to run a home server as that is not a good idea for so many reasons. I only want to know how to do this because once I know how I can do a similar operation in the future when I need to. It sure beats the difficulties with remote setup and trying to get my server farm to exchange hard drives and assist in setup. I would prefer to do things myself as much as possible.


To be clear, I am asking about running a server on a second drive in my computer from my home temporarily from within Windows.

My computer's main drive is running windows. I will be connecting this drive which will run CentOS as a second drive in my computer. My home internet has just 1 external IP address.

The details on issues I have regarding this are above. Rather than asking 7 different questions on Superuser about the same topic, I made it in just one question since it is all the same topic.

The goal is to turn on my computer running windows and install CentOS on the second drive which is my enterprise SSD which I just bought (I already know how to install CentOS). And then use this second drive as a web server in order to finish configuring the drive (which I already know how to do the software config) as a web server accessible on the internet.

  • What is the specific issue that has prompted this question? Is it just how to configure the static IP address on the server? I hate to ask, but there does seem to be quite a few issues that you're trying to address with one question. – Service Manager Mar 2 '17 at 21:05
  • Your question is way to broad. You ask what you need to install CentOS on a spare hard drive, which has many variables to it (like will it be a VM or the host OS). You also asked "how would I configure IP without having my ISP give me a static IP..." (which is why I thought you were asking how to set a static IP). I did read your question, which has way to much left open to interpretation. If you can narrow down your issue, to specifically what you need help with, then we can help you. – Service Manager Mar 2 '17 at 21:45
  • Nope, as I said I want it to be a live web server. Clearly it can't be a VM as a live web server which I can hotswap into another server. To be clear, CentOS will be the only OS on the enterprise SSD. – user7783780 Mar 2 '17 at 21:48
  • To be frank I'm not sure how to do this. As one drive running an OS and be able to manage that from Windows all from one IP address and have it publicly accessible. I may need to take my old laptop and turn that into a dedicated machine for the SSD. But if it can be done on my computer it would be easier. – user7783780 Mar 2 '17 at 21:52
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    One way I'm not sure if will work (because I've not done it) would be to setup everything up into a VM, using the SSD as the hard drive of your VM. Once everything is working (may be) CentOS will work running into the real computer without much reconfiguration hassle – fernando.reyes Mar 2 '17 at 22:02
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Other pc/laptop dedicated device possibility

As you mentioned, you can turn your old unused laptop into a server which is the easiest way to do it. If you didn't have one, there is a chance to emulate in a virtual machine.

Dual boot possibility

You could set up a dual boot and install centos on the second drive, and boot into the server when you need to work on that, if maybe you had another computer to do your normal work. And when you needed to work on your computer just boot back into windows. Make sure you know what you're doing however when setting up a dual boot.

Virtual machine possibility

But if dual boot just isn't an option (need web server live but also need windows pc as your workstation) then you need an emulated environment. Virtualbox is a possibility and you can set your second SSD as the hard drive for that virtual machine.

IP

As for IP that can be a little tricky but doable. The problem is your IP is one public facing IP, and it can't really be publicly accessible as a web server but also let you connect to the internet in windows simultaneously without some effort.

You could possibly consider a VPN for that strategy to get another IP, especially if you only need it temporarily.

You will need to do port forwarding on your router or use a third party DNS in order to make your external IP the publicly accessible IP for your home web server as a live testing server.

Drivers

Now, depending on the processor architecture for your PC vs your web server, it may be incompatible. For example if you have an AMD processor in your home PC but a xeon processor in your web server, you simply can't do this, it isn't possible.

However, if you have an x86-64 bit intel processor at home and your web server is also a xeon with x86-64 architecture then this should be compatible. RAM is not problem, your web server will have more but as you know you can add more

RAM in your PC no problem, so swapping into with more ram is no problem. As a linux/unix web server there is no graphical interface usually (unlike windows), so graphics capabilities probably aren't an issue.

Sata

As long as your device can work on the server, it should be compatible with both your pc and the server no problem.

I hope this helps, please let me know if you have more questions.

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This question is very broad but regarding the dynamic ip rest assured it is a non-issue. You will have to setup this CentOS exactly as you would any pc in your home envoronment, since it will not be actually serving anything over the Internet. Give it a static ip on your home network and download, install and configure everything you need. You are going to have to use the console until you give it network connectivity, and then you may connect to it via ssh from another pc in the same network. This way you can test every functionality just by connecting to its "home" ip. If for some reason you want to reach it from outside you can setup port forwarding on your router from your dynamic external ip to its static internal one, and even use dynamic dns to give it a public hostname that stays the same even when the ip changes. Setting up a server should not take you a very long time so I hope you can live without your usual desktop pc for one evening. Of course before shipping the SSD to its final destination, you'll have to configure it with the network parameters of your server or it will not come online.

My perplexity lies in this: your desktop pc and the server in the datacenter probably have different hardware, so you cannot be 100% sure that the once the SSD has been swapped between the two it will work without a flinch.

EDIT: Since you mention in a comment having an old laptop, you could certainly use it but I would give preference to the machine that has the hardware most similar to the server. On your desktop pc with two hard drives it's not much of a hassle to press e.g. F9 at boot and choose between the work-inprogress CentOS and your regular Windows os. Finally, setting up a virtual machine with direct access to the physical SSD (as suggested to you by fernando.reyes) is certainly doable and there are some good Q&A about it. In my opinion exploring this option is not worth the hassle in your case, unless you plan to do this over and over again for several servers (like you hint to): then you could spend time perfecting this technique and you would be rewarded in the long run.

  • For every reason I want to reach it from outside. Good tip about the two having different hardware. It's true drivers may need to be updated, however the good news is CentOS and other software is going to be the same regardless of physical hardware. – user7783780 Mar 2 '17 at 22:23

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