Since Cloud Hosting seems to be all the rage these days, and given the fact that I’ve basically outgrown my host (Thanks guys!), I decided to set up a Virtual Private Server (VPS). Rather than just having all the fun by myself, I decided to document the process on how to “Build your own cloud”.These guides assume you have basic vi knowledge.
Part 0 is getting your own piece of cloud by choosing a good provider. There’s a lot of them, but the ones I can vouch for are TDRevolution, DreamHost and eSecureData. Amazon’s EC2 and Rackspace are also hosts I considered, but I prefer having a fixed cost and not the “pay-per-byte” schemes. For the record, I rented eSecureData’s Jr Server, which at the moment costs $19 bucks a month. (You pay $38 bucks the first month, which covers first and last month)
After you choose your host, you need to choose your distro. Since choosing your distro is the same as choosing your sword, I chose the sharpest one available: Fedora. Since the Jr Server only has 512MB of Ram, and Fedora 15′s Anaconda apparently requires about 950MB to install, they couldn’t set it up with Fedora 15, so I’m using Fedora 14 at the moment. If you bought into the hype that “Fedora is not for servers” that’s fine, get Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 instead.
So, after choosing your server’s name wisely, you want to make sure that whoever’s setting up your host that you want a “server-like” install. In my case, they set up a Fedora 14 with Gnome and all. I wanted a headless server, so as soon as I logged in, I proceeded to clean out the garbage.
Step 1: Make sure the server starts in run level 3 rather than run level 5. Just vi /etc/inittab and look for the last line. Make sure it looks similar to this:
In case you’re new to Linux, Wikipedia explains init. 3 is for terminal-based. 5 is for graphical-based. If you remove Gnome and gdm, you’ll need to set up so it starts in run level 3. Reboot and make sure its still operational and on Run level 3.
Step 2: yum groupremove gnome-desktop. This will remove all Gnome-y apps that we probably won’t run on a server we want to set up as headless.
Step 3: yum update -y. If this wasn’t obvious, this will update your machine. If you’re using a VPS and are on Fedora 14 or above, you probably want to disable deltarpm, in my case, it takes longer to rebuild the packages than to download them. Reboot after you’re done.
Step 3.5: vi /etc/yum/pluginconf.d/presto.conf. The line where it says enabled=1 ? Make sure it’s enabled=0.
Congrats, you’ve just completed the hardest growing your own cloud server. The rest is comparatively easy.