The aging Red Hat Enterprise ES4 server I have colocated at ServerBeach was starting to get a bit crufty and I felt kind of dirty running RHEL instead of Ubuntu now that I’m working for Canonical. It was finally time to bring up a shiny new Dell PowerEdge 440 running Ubuntu 8.04 LTS Hardy Heron however ServerBeach does not yet officially support Ubuntu and will not do custom OS loads.
No problem. ServerBeach provides a brilliant tool called RapidRescue that allows you to reboot your server into a Linux recovery session and gives remote console access to the disks and hardware. I whipped together an awful hack to take advantage of this tool and automate the process of formatting the hard drives and debootstrapping an Ubuntu install. Not exactly elegant, but it gets the job done.