IBM x335 and Windows 2008 installation

I love the fact that IBM stops supporting its hardware long before Microsoft does; this means that lots of top-tier companies have to decommission their *somewhat* old hardware and you can pick up a server cheap (or free) to play with at home.

It may mean, however, that your installation mileage may vary. Such has been the case for my IBM x335 (of which I have three). I've been on a quest to do an installation of Windows Server 2008 on said boxen. (plural of ox is oxen, plural of box is...)

How fickle a lover are antique hardware and modern operating systems? How doest thou vex me, let me count the ways...

  1. Windows 2008 only comes on DVD while an IBM x335 has only a CD and will not boot from USB.
  2. Windows 2008 will not install from any sort of DOS utility disk. So Bart's Network boot disk is out, likewise a network boot to anything based on DOS.
  3. The IBM x335 has an internal IDE that is used by its CD Rom. You can crack the case and use an internal DVD drive from some other computer to install the os. This feels like cheating on an exam.
  4. VMWare ESXi runs well on an IBM x335, and will allow installation of Windows 2008 from a DVD image (.iso file). This is also cheating, and ultimately not as satisfying as beating the beast at it's own game.

So, you aren't reading this to find out the problems that you probably already know, right? So, let's give some credit here to GeekEleet and two articles that helped me to solve this issue:

I also want to thank for their article on Installing Windows 2008 on an IBM xSeries 335 that included the link to the appropriate raid driver.

The key points of the articles are that:

  1. Windows 2008 only installs from a WinPE 2.0 disk
  2. You can make a WinPE 2.0 disk by using the Windows Automated Installation Kit
  3. WinPE 2.0 allows you to map a network drive (containing your Windows 2008 install files) using net use...
  4. You might also be able to make CD installation media using the WAIK and do away with the network install all together.
  5. You might need to update your bios using the IBM UpdateXpress CD 4.05a for System x
  6. You also need the LSI Logic PCI SCSI/FC MPI Minoport driver v1.25.10 for Microsoft Windows Server 2008 that you can load from a floppy, usb drive, or network drive during installation

One further observation is that you can do an in-place upgrade or install of Windows 2003 server if you specify the driver during installation.


Coeurdeuxlion said…
You rock! I'm up and running right now. Thank you. Keep the knowledge flowing for life. Be blessed

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