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Antony Jepson
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22 Sep 2020
 

Notes from setting up a disconnected Debian Testing server
22 August 2020

I recently set up a new server at-home server that isn’t connected to the Internet. It’s only available on the local network and doesn’t have any connection to the outside world. It’s part of my longer term initiative to have a disconnected household.

Here’s some notes I took while setting this up.

Why?

I have servers scattered across various providers and felt a general anxiety about security. While I do feel confident using online storage solutions like AWS S3 Glacier class + GPG encryption, I feel that instance-based compute services would likely cause me a headache in the future. Storing everything locally would be faster and reduce costs as well.

Updates

After a fresh installation of Debian Testing, I briefly plugged in the Ethernet cable, set my sources.list to point to ftp.uk.debian.org, and downloaded the latest packages and security updates including vim, sudo, and screen.

For future updates, I download the weekly testing DVD image from Debian’s servers and transfer them via SSH. I’m still working on optimising this.

Each weekly testing DVD is archived in storage.

Screen suspend

As this is a laptop, the screen didn’t suspend automatically when it wasn’t in use. I appended consoleblank=60 to my GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT entry.

Containers

I successfully migrated my containers from Docker to qemu and systemd-container based deployments. I’ll detail more about this in the future. For each deployment I check that it deploys without problems in another physical machine.