Install your own OS on a VPS?
July 4, 2011 10:40 AM   Subscribe

VPS providers that allow you to install the OS from ISO?

Are there any VPS providers that allow you to install your own OS from an ISO, rather than starting with a pre-created image?

I don't need Windows but I would like to be able to run both Linux and some kind of BSD.

I'm currently with Linode but you can't boot from an ISO.
posted by Mwongozi to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
While they may not let you use an ISO (ask, who knows,) John Companies offers a pretty broad selection of both linux and bsd distributions. Recommended.
posted by w.fugawe at 10:53 AM on July 4, 2011

Mwongozi: "I'm currently with Linode but you can't boot from an ISO."

Are you sure? It seems like you're overspecifying the problem. I know people do run BSD on Linode, but I'm not sure they upload custom .iso's to do it.

Apologies if there's something specific to booting from CD you're after here.
posted by pwnguin at 12:13 PM on July 4, 2011

Amazon EC2. Nice and flexible and can be quite cheap especially with the free tier for the first year. Easy to shut it off if you don't need it or spawn more than one instance if you do (or upgrade to more CPU, ram, disk, etc...). They don't directly support installing from an ISO, but you could accomplish the same thing by installing your OS to a empty new filesystem and bundling that into a virtual machine image to run on EC2. I haven't done this personally, and I don't doubt that it looks rather convoluted if you've never used EC2 before, but between the manual and the forums and AskMe, I don't think it would be super hard.

You could also simplify that process a bit by booting a scratch machine running a standard Linux distro (Amazon provides one that is basically CentOS), creating an empty virtual disk to hold your new OS, installing your OS of choice from the ISO to the new virtual disk, and then registering a snapshot of that disk as the image for your virtual machine. I'd be happy to elaborate if you are interested in going this route.

There are also pre-made EC2 images for a gazillion Linux and BSD distributions already available, so if it works for you application, you could start with one of those, customize it to your liking, and then just save that as your virtual machine.
posted by zachlipton at 3:04 PM on July 4, 2011

Thanks pwnguin, that's useful. (Although they don't support BSD, but I knew that already.)
posted by Mwongozi at 5:22 AM on July 5, 2011

Sorry about the late reply, this has been in my to reply list for a while. I just finished installing my own OS on my linode. How I did it was create two partitions, one for their OS of you choice (as small as you can make it) and one for your OS. Install their OS, then download you installation medium and extract from their and voila, you have a bootable drive with an installation medium. I did this with gentoo which was particularly easy because the install OS is irrelevant, you just download the stage3 to your partition and follow the handbook.
posted by DJWeezy at 4:02 PM on July 15, 2011

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