When it comes to geeky stuff, at heart I’m a hardware guy. I’m reasonably proficient at software configuration, and I can bang out a shell script or a little Python if there’s a need, but hardware has always struck me as more intuitive. Had I been born a bit before I was, I’d probably have become more interested in cars rather than computers, but sadly modern cars are fairly difficult to work on. Plus, mass production and Moore’s law, together with the ‘upgrade treadmill’ perpetuated by hardware and software vendors, have conspired to create an enormous, basically everlasting supply of IT junk, just waiting to be messed with and put to good use. As cheap hobbies go, as long as you restrict yourself to nothing that’s less than 4 or 5 years old, it’s about one step up from ‘trash art.’

So it was with that in mind that I found myself at a seedy self-storage facility last week, loading my latest acquisition into the back of my car. Via a corporate-surplus website, I’d picked up an old Dell Poweredge 2300 server for next to nothing. (Arguably, anything more than free is too much, but I was willing to pay a little to get one that was known to work.)

Over the next few weeks I’ll be playing around with it, with the eventual goal of setting up either BSD or Linux on it, and putting it to some sort of productive use (probably a backup server, if I can get the RAID system working) in my home LAN. Since information on the 2300 seems to be fairly limited, and there also seem to be a lot of them turning up on the used/surplus/come-get-it-on-the-curb market, I’ll periodically make updates with anything interesting I’ve found, and general progress.