Sometimes you might want to try out a different operating system without having to spend the time installing it using a live CD.

Running a server from a live CD requires you to create a new storage device to copy the live CD image onto, configure the storage disk as a CDROM at your UpCloud Control Panel and then boot up your server from the CDROM device.

Create a live CD storage

You probably already have a Linux cloud server running which you can use to download the live CD image, if not you can find more information at our guide on How to Deloy a Server. The example commands in this guide are meant to be used on a Linux host but you may choose whichever distribution you wish.

With a cloud server ready to continue, you will need to attach a new storage device to it. Begin by shutting down the server and then open the Disks tab under the Server settings at your UpCloud Control Panel.

Create a new storage device by clicking the text Attach new disk, this opens a new dialogue window with the available options for creating a new or attaching an existing storage disk. Keep the options at their defaults and click the Accept button to confirm the selections. Once the new disk has been attached, start the server again.

When the server is operational, log in with a username that has the root privileges. Then check that the new storage disk is available.

lsblk

NAME MAJ:MIN RM SIZE RO TYPE MOUNTPOINT
vda 253:0 0 30G 0 disk
`-vda1 253:1 0 30G 0 part /
vdb 253:16 0 10G 0 disk

The first disk should show up with the regular operating system partition which is mounted at the root and the second disk should be a simple empty disk with no partitions.

Download a live CD image to the server, for example, using curl utility tool that is available on most distributions by default.

curl -o ~/image.iso https://example.com/live-cd-image.iso

When you have the desired live CD image saved on the server, copy the file contents to the empty storage device with the following command. Make sure that the image name and the target disk are set correctly and that the image is copied directly.

sudo dd if=~/image.iso of=/dev/vdb bs=16M oflag=direct

The process is quite fast and when the live CD image has finished copying to the second disk, shut down the server again either at your UpCloud Control Panel or with the command below.

sudo shutdown -h now

Booting from a CDROM storage

Go to the Disks tab in your Server settings and find the second disk device you copied the live CD image onto.

With the server powered down, change the live CD storage disk controller to the CDROM. You can confirm that the change was applied correctly by checking that the live CD disk is now listed as the first device on the list.

You can then start the server and boot into your new live CD OS!

Depending on the live CD you might need to log in using either the Web Console at your UpCloud Control Panel or through a VNC connection. You can find more information about how to use these methods at a guide about Connecting to Your Server.