Slackware Server 2024 – Plans

#computers #linux #slackware #unix #bsd #servers #hardware #software #virtualmachine #slackwareserver2024

I've desperately wanted a reason to build a Slackware server for quite some time now. Just recently, someone on Mastodon finally gave me a great idea for what I could do if I ran one. There is a bunch of old hardware sitting in my garage just collecting dust. As much as I would love to buy some refurbished server hardware to play with, at the end of the day I'm not going to be doing anything too special with whatever hardware I use. So I may as well try to just re-purpose the stuff I already have.

🖥 Hardware:

Processor: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition

Memory: 8GB of DDR3 @ 1333 (Maybe? I need to check the speed. It's also possible there is 16GB installed.)

Motherboard: Asus M4ABBT-M

Case: Random used ugly green case gifted to me approximately 10 years ago.

Intended Use ?

I'm thinking of using Slackware as a hypervisor to host a few VMs. All the VMs will be headless, and the box itself will be headless once it's setup as well. But I'm not entirely opposed to the idea of containers and learning Kubernetes and Docker... If I can get all of the virtual machines to simply show up like individual machines on a network though, I'm going with VMs, I would actually like to play around with managing a network of machines without actually having a full network of machines to deal with. From what I understand, Qemu let's you simply define an IP address that can be used from either the host machine, or machines on the host's network. Meaning, if anyone were to log onto my home network and run an nmap, they would think it consisted of several physically distinct machines, rather than one box running multiple virtual machines.

Also, I want it to be a backup server as well, for my desktop and laptop. In the past I would have run rsync, not sure if that's a viable tool these days, I'll have to see what is available for both Debian Bookworm and Slackware 15, or what the preferred method of backing up is these days. I'll want to run weekly backups at least, and then maybe monthly longer term storage backups. Thankfully the board I have does have RAID, and 6 SATA slots. Finding refurbished Western Digital drives shouldn't be a problem.

The real question is whether I have the host Slackware instance handle the backups or do I go full inception and run my backups into a VM, then backup the img file to a separate storage medium. I only have around 2TB of data that I want backed up right now. Backing up an img file would be a lot of extra unnecessary bytes, but it does give me the ability to just deploy it on any machine that can run Qemu, and access my data quickly if I have to restore from a backup. Pros and cons to everything I guess. At my last job we had a Dell Poweredge R320 (or something similar) running ESXi that had a single Windows Sever instance on it. Never made sense to me.

Why Slackware?

Nostalgia, maybe? It was the first Linux distribution I ever spent any serious time with. Also, theoretically, once it's configured, that's all there is to it. You don't need to constantly make changes to the system to maintain it, which is not the same as running other Distros—or for that matter, running a desktop versus a server. You're usually not actively upgrading the system once you get it setup to your liking. You're only ever upgrading the bits of software you're actually using and whatever dependencies the software you're using needs. Slackware also really leaves it up to you, so if there are any security patches, it's going to be up to me to stay up to date with that stuff and actively maintain my machine. Now, that being said, if I do run into any weird issues (because I have in the past with Slackware) I may just abandon it in favor for vanilla Debian, possibly FreeBSD... I've also always wanted to use straight Unix for a server as well.

What's Next?

Well, I'm actually writing this in the future. Next post you'll read about me putting the thing together.