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My home server died

My home server died. Just as things were starting to get interesting too. 😭

All right I've been putting off writing this for too long so I'll just hash this out as quick as possible.

My home server died after I replaced the wireless card. Not sure if the wireless card was the cause of the fault but after installing it the motherboard didn't POST and just constantly rebooted. Over the next few evenings I tried to narrow down the fault. Eventually I figured out that the three of the ram sticks (DDR 3 non EEC) had died and caused the failure to POST so if I used only the one remaining good stick i could finally get into the motherboard BIOS.

motherboard taken out of the case

Here's a photo of the early stages of trying to figure out was wrong. Later I got rid of the case altogether and just had the motherboard sitting on a box.

Now the next issue. The bios would no longer boot my Arch Linux install. I needed to confirm the drives were still okay so I booted a Ubuntu live disk and confirmed that all the drives were still showing up in lsblk. So the drives were fine but something had gone wrong with the bios detecting grub. This was resolved with a quick reinstall of grub using the arch live disk.

I'm not really that clear on how UEFI works. Maybe doing a bios reset (when trying to figure out what was wrong with the board) cleared whatever the UEFI was using to remember what it was booting from? Something to look into in the future.

From there is was just a matter of changing the IP reservation on the router to point to the new mac address and everything was back up and running. Except with only 4GB of ram.

monitorix log

Here is a chart from monitorIX showing ram usage. The usage history from before the incident has been chopped off by the change in total ram. All in all the debugging and boot fixing took place over almost 3 weeks but probably only equals a few hours total work.

Even though I did eventually fix up the issues and get the server running again it does now provide me with a excuse to build a real home server instead of a scrapheap machine built out of leftover parts from several old computers. I've briefly enjoyed the benefits of having my own personal server and I don't want to go back. It's fortunate even that this experiment was interrupted now before I managed to get a large number of services running on it. If the server had failed a few months further down the track it would have been a serious inconvenience rather than an opportunity to upgrade.

I've actually already ordered the parts for the new system and a few bits have already arrived but I'll write about the process of picking those parts and what I plan for them later.