Issue installing Ubuntu Server 14.04.1 LTS on 32 core AMD Opteron server

I am in the process of setting up a virtual machine host.  The system will host virtual machines for the developers to use as a test environment. The system is a few years old, but still a fairly heavy duty system – Dual AMD Opteron 6272, 16 2.1Ghz core per CPU, 32GB RAM.

The server was used for something before at this shop.  No one seems to know why it was retired, other than stating that the AMD G34 processors are “experimental”. The SAS RAID controller has been harvested for other uses, probably to replace a broken on on another system, so I am only using standard SATA drives at the moment. I had to replace the CR2032 battery so I know it has been sitting on the shelf for a while, but other than that everything looks like it is working.  So I decided to throw a test install on there and run some stress tests to see if anything breaks.

I dug up an unopene 500GB SATA drive and threw that in on port one.  Burned the ISO to a 16GB USB flash drive, one that I had used a few days earlier to install three other servers.  Everything seemed to be going find but right before the end of the installation when I expected the prompt for Grub installation, it errored out.  The error message:

Unable to install busybox-initramfs

I took a quick look at console 4 and the only thing that stood out was this:

kernel already present vmlimuz-3.13.0-32-generic
warning failed to get deb conf answer base-installer/kernel/linux/initrd
Unexpected error; command not executed sh --debconf -apt-progress -no-progress --logstder-- apt-get -q -y --no-remove install busybox-initramfs

I did a little searching and found numerous other people reporting the same problem. I two possible fixes for the problem that make sense and one that doesn’t.  I am going to try all three on Friday.

  1. Download the ISO again, double-check the MD5 and try again
  2. Use a different USB flash drive and USB port on the server
  3. During the install, on console 2, run the following code:

# while true; do rm /var/run/chroot-setup.lock; sleep 1; done

I will try these on Friday night. If I get it up and running I will throw a couple of virtual machines on there and run another stress test to see what kind of performance I get out of them. I suspect the initial load will be a little slow because of the drive, but after that it should be fine. I’ll post some statistics here if I get it all up and running.

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