My main server lives, like many others do, in a dark, cold room protected by locked doors. It’s a lonely existance, but one that it seems to enjoy – rewarding me with a relatively trouble free few years. On sunday morning that run of good uptime came to a crashing end.

The problems started after a reboot. The box came up, but none of the networking was configured. The people from the hosting company managed to get the interfaces configured (after initially omitting adding a route) and I was able to access it via ssh. Something wasn’t right though and there was a raft of odd behaviour.

The OS was in need of an update, so as the machine was being monitored and the network KVM was still attached, it seemed like an ideal opportunity to upgrade. After backing up all the required files I installed the kernel and rebooted – to be met by silence. A phone call confirmed my fears, but the guy from the hosting company simply asked how he could help – very cool and collected 🙂 After a session of trying a few simple things we managed to get the networking working sufficiently to let me login via ssh. After a 30 minute session of head scratching and puzzling the machine was rebooted and came back perfectly – much to my relief.

It’s been a frustrating couple of days, but the server is now working and the various ports have been upgraded.

This gets me from an old, old version of FreeBSD (4.9) to a slightly newer one (5.2). I’m aiming to get it to at least 6.3 so I can use the newer binary updater to try and avoid all these issues in future.

Full credit to my hosting company, Positive Internet for their help and support.