Re-purpose An Old Google Search Appliance

I managed to get my hands on a pair of old Google Search Appliance (GB-7007) boxes. I wanted to see if I could re-purpose them for some other task other than a search engine.  Under that bright yellow “Google” hood, it’s a Dell motherboard, with over 40GB memory and 2 Quad-cores CPU’s.  Since it’s a standard PC, it’s a matter of finding the right BIOS.

This is where the service tag comes in handy.  Using Dell Product Support page, I was able to identify the box’s Dell server product.  In my case, it’s the PowerEdge R710.  I found the BIOS update through the PowerEdge R710 support page and downloaded it to a bootable USB drive.

Before proceeding with the BIOS update, I read Dave Hope‘s post on getting his GSA reconfigured.  He suggested to remove the jumper labelled PWRD_EN, which disabled the password to get into the BIOS.  After changing the boot order, I used the USB drive and went through the update.  As Dave also noted, the executable may complain it can not erase the Google Search Appliance BIOS, but can be forced to do an update anyway using the switch “/forcetype”.

Now it’s just a matter of running diagnostics and finally boot a CentOS or Ubuntu DVDs to re-install a new Linux OS.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.