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15 year old unix server


newbi3
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Hey guys, I recently got a new job and my first project is to find new hardware to copy everything from this 15 year old server running unix onto it. I can't do a fresh install of the OS because they are running software on the machine that is from the late 80s to early 90s that they are not able to afford to upgrade (would cost $30,000 for the licensing). Now they do have the software on the original floppy disks but over the past 15 years there have been updates that they need that is not included on the floppies.

I have an idea of creating an image of the drive and installing it into virtual box. The problem with that would obviously be drivers and possibly architecture issues. The other option would be to find hardware that is newer but still compatible with that version of unix and installing the image to it. This is not without its potential issues either...

Does anyone have any suggestions or advice?

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Is this a mainframe setup you are moving to and hardware setup already in use or moving to, or just newer rack mount server or workstation based hardware for a virtual machine? Does it require legacy hardware, such as tape drives that require certain types of hardware and cables, bus and tag, etc. If so, you may be in a situation like we had at our bank, where only certain things could be moved, but the main system, left in place, as you said, because of drivers, had to be moved to an s390 mainframe because of legacy hardware (round magnetic tape drives with special setup for bus and tag cables and board interfaces). Virtualization is great, but depends on what its currently running off of and uses for hardware too, when thinking about what platform you move it from physical to virtual space.

What the programmers at my work did, was make a virtual section setup on the s390 mainframe which mainly ran MVS but could also run Linux and native Unix, all the older stuff they needed (VSE or z/VSE or z/OS? which is what I think they used for virtualizing the Unix side), but I forget what the exact setup was, but it allowed them to use the same hardware bus and cabling system since it interfaced with the other box in the same way due to the IMB mainframe having the proper hardware interface and capabilities, bus and tag setup for everything. There was like only one thing they couldn't move due to drivers for Windows 95 of all things, that ran some specific job that was never going to go away it seemed, and that was still running when I left on a Win95 box with Novel Netware and some specialized ISA card and cable setup they couldn't find a virtual replacement for. For the main system move, we're talking an OS from like late 60's-70's or so and still in use today, but the other one, was just something that a company made and went out of business and there was no support for, which ran off this old Win95 box.

Not sure I'm helping much with this post, but just sharing some of the issues we ran into, which might make them think about how they virtualize it and what the requirements are to make that happen. Some stuff is so outdated and companies up and gone, you often see some of this stuff on eBay, or in collections like Jason Scott has at the Internet Archives and his home @textfiles storage unit. Museum pieces more or less.

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  • 3 months later...

Maybe I'm misunderstanding, but couldn't you use Clonezilla (http://clonezilla.org/) to copy the entire disk over to the new server and then expand the root partition after? Or do you want a fresh OS on the new server with the old software? Again, I'm having trouble understanding what you mean.

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OMG just saw its a old thread.... GODDAMN can the new people stop making zombies :p

before doing anything make a full disk clone to be safe.

The idea to run it virtually is your best bet for compatibility with new hardware. But you got the watch out for the hardware. Like if the server is controlling machines with a serial port or some special interface card. If that's the case then its gone be hard or not possible to make a VM

Edited by GuardMoony
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OMG just saw its a old thread.... GODDAMN can the new people stop making zombies :P

before doing anything make a full disk clone to be safe.

The idea to run it virtually is your best bet for compatibility with new hardware. But you got the watch out for the hardware. Like if the server is controlling machines with a serial port or some special interface card. If that's the case then its gone be hard or not possible to make a VM

Sorry for bringing the thread back up. :P

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Just to close this story:

I ended up cloning the SCSI drive over to an IDE drive and then dding that drive over to an image that I converted into a virtual machine image. When I booted it, it crashed with a bunch of errors (it couldn't find its SCSI hdd)

After that I decided I would clone the SCSI drive to another SCSI drive that I could boot on the original system so I could mess around with it and make something that I could boot in the VM. I went ahead and orderd the 50pin SCSI drive and it was DOA then I sent it back and got another one which, not surprisingly, was also DOA.

At this point there wasn't time to get a new hard drive so I just had to stabilize the machine and keep it running so I could make the move to the new office in California.

I hate SCO.

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