[coreboot] RFC: reliable XEN-Server project with Core-Boot. Which Mainboard to use

Ludwig Jaffe luja at openhardware.de
Thu May 14 10:44:39 CEST 2009

Hi there,

as coreboot gives us the possibility to fully control a board's boot 
process, I would like to suggest to make a small end-user project.
As I do want to build some web and application servers using xen. I 
think about joining forces and build a reference-implementation for that.
So anyone then can buy a quite cheap an available mainboard, that 
supports coreboot and a XEN-Kernel with some small userland (sshd, 
mgetty (modem-access), busybox, xen-tools).
The reason for this is that people can build cheap servers to put them 
into colocation without the need of expensive remote-console-interfaces 
or remote-hands service and the like.
The Server just boots coreboot and then the xen-kernel with the 
essential tools. So if anything goes wrong (Misconfigured Xen-clients, 
hdd-failures, Network, other pain which does not affect cpu+chipset)
the box will be able to be put to life again from remote.
Within coreboot, using a 8MByte Bios we should have enough space for the 

Now the question is, which board/chipset would you choose? There some 
serverboards supported in coreboot which are now end-of life, and there 
are consumerboards which may be good for the task.
As I think, that this xen-server sould be a 1u (max 2u) server, a small 
board with  low peripheral count (4x sata for kernel-raid5), 2 
PCI-express-slots for extensions, chipset-graphics, internal serial port 
for modem etc.  should suffice.

Any suggestions/ideas?

Thanks for reading all the best


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