Data Centers

How to install Ubuntu Minimal Server

Canonical has released a new edition of its server platform, ideal for containers and the cloud. Here are the steps to follow for installing Ubuntu Minimal.

Your data center uses Linux. It might be for web servers, Samba shares, security, networking ... or it might be for containers or the cloud. If your usage happens to fall in line with the latter two categories, Ubuntu has a new platform designed specifically to meet your needs.

The platform is Ubuntu Minimal and it is ideal for both cloud and container deployments. Why this new platform is important is in the name: minimal. The ISO image for this operating system comes in at a scant 67.1MB. You read that correctly—67.1MB. After installation (which included OpenSSH server and cloud deployment tools) my installation came in at just over 300MB. That's still tiny. Add Docker into the mix and the installation was 301MB.

I want to walk you through the installation of this platform. I'll be demonstrating by way of a VirtualBox VM, but the process will be the same on bare metal hardware.

SEE: Securing Linux policy (Tech Pro Research)

What you'll need

The first thing you need is the ISO image for Ubuntu Minimal. Make sure to download the image that matches your architecture. If you're installing on a virtual machine, give the VM enough resources based on your use case, not the minimal size of the platform. That's all you need. Let's install.

Installation

When you boot the image, you'll be greeted by a standard Ubuntu installer (Figure A). Select Install and hit Enter on your keyboard.

Figure A

Figure A

The first screen of the installer.


At this point, you'll be asked to select the standard choices (language, location, keyboard). You'll find very little variation from the installation of the regular Ubuntu Server installation. Once the network autoconfigure completes (by getting a DHCP address), you'll be asked to set the hostname for the platform (Figure B).

Figure B

Figure B

Setting the Ubuntu Minimal hostname.


In the next window (Figure C), select the nearest mirror to your location (for downloading packages).

Figure C

Figure C

Selecting a mirror for installation.


SEE: 20 quick tips to make Linux networking easier (free TechRepublic PDF)

The next step is to fill out a proxy, if necessary. If no proxy is necessary, leave it blank and continue. With the proxy taken care of, the necessary packages (for the installer to continue) will download and install. This won't take long at all (less than a minute). When that completes, you'll be asked to create a standard user account (Figure D). This account will have sudo privileges, so you can actually work with the server.

Figure D

Figure D

Creating a standard user.


With the account out of the way, select a time zone and then it's time to select a partition option (Figure E).

Figure E

Figure E

Partitioning the drive.


Once the drive is partitioned, the operating system packages will download from the chosen mirror and then be installed. This process will take about two to five minutes (depending upon the speed of your network connection). When this completes, you'll be asked how you want to handle updates (no automatic updates, install security updates automatically, manage system with Landscape).

The next step is to select the software you want included (Figure F). I highly recommend you go through this carefully and select only the software you need to fulfill the purpose of this deployment.

Figure F

Figure F

Software selection time.


You will notice, during the package selection step, that there are no container options (no Docker or Kubernetes). For that, you'll have to add post-install. Once you've made that selection, the installation will continue and complete. When prompted, install the GRUB boot loader, set the system clock and reboot. If you're using a VirtualBox VM, you'll have to remove the ISO image from the Storage Devices (in the VM Settings) before starting the server virtual machine. When the server boots, log in with the user you created and start installing the necessary software for your rollout. For example, you can install Docker with the command sudo apt install docker.io.

You're good to go. Enjoy your Ubuntu Mini Server installation.

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About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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