New Xserves are shipped with video cards. Much to the chagrin of many administrators and the humor of many older UNIX administrators, the Xserves were not being shipped with a graphics card for a couple of years and now many donâ€™t come with dongles. In many cases you will come across one of these server that need to be set up. During this time this was an upgrade that many administrators did not know they would need to purchase if they did not wish to perform a headless installation. Luckily, Apple has provided us with numerous ways around this issue.
One of the best features of Mac OS X Server is that the when you boot to a CD or DVD SSH and a client for the Mac OS X Server Setup Assistant are automatically running on the system. You can use Setup Assistant to complete the installation that was started at the factory. Likewise, Mac OS X will run in a similar fashion, allowing administrators access through SSH when booted to a CD. Most Xserves are setup with static IP addresses. However, computers crash. For this reason it is a good idea to setup a DHCP reservation for the MAC address of your Xserve. When you use a DHCP reservation you will tell the DHCP server that if a host with your Mac address requests an IP address it will always be given the same IP. This is similar to assigning a manual IP address to servers.
How do you find the system on the network. Bonjour browser can be useful for this. The Setup Assistant will search the network for systems that are waiting for this portion of the installation to be complete.
The password to log into an Xserve when it is booted to the CD is the first eight digits of the serverâ€™s serial number. If you are installing on an older Xserve, the serial number may be â€œ12345678.â€.
You can also boot to a Fibre Channel port.
Once the server has been installed, you should be able to tap in using Apple Remote Desktop and SSH provided you did not disable this at installation. For headless systems you will typically use ARD, SSH or Timbuktu for the bulk of your administration.
Luckily, Metadata Controllers do not require much work. However, for Xsan administration you may find that you use Xsan Admin more often than you use the desktop or SSH for configuration.