Intel NUC is a life saver

This should be a pretty quick post about a tiny little computer that I used for the first time, no i’m not talking about about the Raspberry Pi. The particular little box I’m referring to is the Intel NUC or Next Unit of Computing.

intel NUC stock photo

It’s basically a barebones system, just add a hard drive and memory. The short version of this story, is my company is currently in the process of building a new data center in Europe, we are getting on with the new hotness in networking, which is Spine-Leaf and VXLAN. But ideally to deploy this tech you need to have the controller software to deploy all of the network configuration. The problem? We haven’t deployed any server hardware yet, and to deploy the server hardware.. You need the network to be up and running. Classic chicken and egg problem. I was tasked to figure out a way to deploy the controller software in a portable format and to do my best to make it possible to do P2V or V2V to our KVM cluster when the servers have been deployed. After doing some looking around I stumbled on this little bad boy. I had heard of them before but I’ve never had any experience with them.

After acquiring the hardware I assembled it. Then tried to install the controller software directly on to the bare metal and was hit with an unpleasant surprise, Kernel Panic. The NUC uses Intel’s Skylake CPU and the controller appliance is basically a modified CentOs 6 install. After some Google foo I basically figured out that Linux kernel 2.x doesn’t support Skylake.

Plan B

I installed a fresh copy of Fedora 25 with libvirt, but soon realized the networking wouldn’t work the way I needed it to. Finally I decided to go with Proxmox, admittedly this product doesn’t have a great reputation however when I installed it I created a couple of bridges, Created my VM and I was off to the races.

proxmox

15 minutes later I was greeted by this gorgeous screen.

DCNM Login

Verdict great little machine for a reasonable price. While this was a dual-core i5 model, there is also a i7 version, quad-core I believe.

Here is exactly what I ordered for those of you that are curious: