Hi from the Netherlands

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ruud
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Hi from the Netherlands

Post by ruud »

just wanted to say hi from the Netherlands,

just received my shiny brand new Odroid C4 that will replace my home / office server in times that energy prices are going throug the roof.

Have worked all my professional life in IT: done roles on every layer of the OSI model. 5 years ago I decided to quit management functions and bring IT back to actually doing something with it myself: I now develop extensions (PHP) for Joomla (Open Source CMS).

long time user of Ubuntu on both desktops / laptops and servers.

Been moving some of my office functionality (Nextcloud) from my office server onto my cloud server (Vultr VPS) where I mounted a NBD (Network Block Device) from my office server (that holds all the GB of data as that was becoming way to expensive to also host in the cloud).

So my current office server is in due need of a rebuild and I bought an odroid C4 would fit the bill for this: running as a server serving NBD storage to my cloud VPS servers, some Mysql databases and the occasional personal website (like for displaying the performance of my solar panels / energy usage).

So why am I here on the forum? Well mainly as the odroid C4 is new to me and I am trying to figure out things like:
  • what is needed to boot from sdcard (I understood that this is a requirement) but have all Ubuntu OS files on a USB drive (is it as simpel as aditing the boot.ini on the sdcard or do i need something like petitboot)
  • is it possible to use 'vanilla' Ubuntu (LTS) or do I always need a Odroid version?
So mainly the basic 'trying-not-to-reinvent-the-wheel' kind of questions :)

What would be the right place for these kind of questions?

Regards,
Ruud.
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Boca (Thu Jan 19, 2023 1:14 am)

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joerg
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Re: Hi from the Netherlands

Post by joerg »

Welcome here in this forum.
Yes, you need a tailored OS image for the Odroid C4.
One official from Hardkernel you can find here: https://wiki.odroid.com/odroid-c4/os_im ... e/20220713
And another with newer kernel from @tobetter you can find here: https://docs.linuxfactory.or.kr/install ... image.html
You need to flash the whole image to sdcard or emmc.
Installation guide: https://wiki.odroid.com/odroid-c4/getti ... tion_guide

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Re: Hi from the Netherlands

Post by mad_ady »

You need to tell us if you want a C4 or HC4. Both are similar, but HC4 has dual sata (instead of 4 usb-3), and has petitboot support.
With petitboot support you can do netinstall and install ubuntu 22 or debian which are stock, but come with tobetter's repo with some custom packages (mainly kernel, uboot, graphics). The advantage is you can install and boot directly from disk, no need for sd/emmc.

There is also an older petitboot for C4 (ODROIDBIOS.BIN) that can be booted off an sd card and should allow you to install the os on usb.

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Re: Hi from the Netherlands

Post by ruud »

Hi @mad_ady, thank for your reply, appreciate it :)
I am the proud owner of a C4, so 4x USB3 but I will extend that with a powered USB hub as I will be adding more USB devices / drives.
You say that when using petitboot there is no need for sd/emmc, but I guess there is a need as petitboot itself needs to be stored somewhere itself, or does The C4 have some sort of onboard boot partition?

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Re: Hi from the Netherlands

Post by ruud »

Hi @joerg, thanks for your reply and for providing these useful links / info: appreciate it!
So basically this is what I have done now: downloaded the image (from hardkernel) and installed that on the sdcard. This works :)
For me this was more of a test that the hardware received was working. So now I am gathering the info on how to make a setup that will be production ready, maintainable, secure, etc.

Benefit is that I now still have my other production server up and running, so i can play around to get the best setup with the odroid.

Not a big fan of running the the OS / install from the sdcard: have several PI's in my house (libreelec) and when there is an issue with them it is in alomst all cases the sdcard that is not fit for this purpose. So I want to be using the sdcard as little as possible and have a hdd / sdd via USB where all the 'action' (read / writes) are taking place.

I'm also trying to be as 'vanilla' as possible when it comes to the OS, but I understand that devices as odroid are not that mainstream and need some customization to be able to run / run efficiently.

what would your advice be: go with petitboot or the boot.ini change?

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Re: Hi from the Netherlands

Post by mad_ady »

Since you have a c4 and not a hc4 you don't have spi flash to hold petitboot, so you're limited to boot from sd or emmc. But you have a few options:
1. Put ODROIDBIOS.BIN (search the forum for it) + uboot on a small sdcard and it will boot to petitboot (which is an advanced linux bootloader). You can them drop to a shell (Exit), run netboot_default; exit and you should get a list of OSes curated by tobetter that are closest to mainline linux. You can install an os normally, partition, etc, on the disks. The system still boots from sd, loads petitboot and petitboot loads the os, but sd access is only on boot (and mostly read-only).

2. Flash Hardkernel's image to sd. Use gparted (on PC) to move (and resize) the rootfs partition on disk. The system loads kernel/uboot from sd, but loads rootfs from disk. The sd is written to on kernel updates. But you'll be running an older kernel.

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Re: Hi from the Netherlands

Post by ruud »

Cool! Thanks @mad_ady, i am going to play with this. Thanks for sharing your experience!

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Re: Hi from the Netherlands

Post by ruud »

Okay, so i have been running in circles for the past week trying HardKernels / tobetter kernel / armbian jammy / armbian debian / DietPi.
Of all the 'distros' I really like (from a professional point of view) the robustness and UX of DietPI: you can tell that this is a large and very active community with monthly releases definitely something you need when running a server setup.

biggest 'issue' was having the rootfs running an a usb drive, as sdcards are just not up to the task for running a server: both performance wise as well as stability / fault tolerance.

Welcome in the dungeons on the internet where there a re a lot of instructions, all of them that either didn't work or where to intrusive for the distro disabling the usage of build in tools as that would break your installation.

Finally i came up with a solution that for me is working, you can find it here: https://dietpi.com/forum/t/tutorial-odr ... rive/15662

Hope this helps somebody that is looking for the same.
Thanks everybody here for your help and support!
regards,
Ruud.

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