How to set up a virtual KVM/VNC console on your OVH server

Want to install your own image on a OVH Kimsufi or SoYouStart server? Want to install an official image on your server instead of the pre-built OVH OS templates? Want to encrypt the home directory at install-time? Want to use RAID 5 using mdadm on one of those SSD equipped SoYouStart servers? Or do you want to use a more refined, custom partition layout which is not supported by the OVH partitioner? And you want this without having access to or having to pay for a KVM console?
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How to install CoreOS on an OVH Kimsufi low-end dedicated server

Wouldn’t it be cool to build a bare-metal high availability cluster using CoreOS and a handful of DDoS-protected, €5/month Kimsufi servers from OVH? Here’s how to install CoreOS on a Kimsufi server.

At the time of this writing, OVH is not providing a CoreOS installation template for the Kimsufi servers. Since there is no virtual KVM console available for the entry level servers,  I tried to use OVH’s iPXE API. This approach would have worked well weren’t it for the CoreOS installer which tries to load binaries in the installation script after overwriting the same partition – which always results in a segfault. Also, the API is only available for the older Kimsufi 2G servers on OVH’s V6 control panel, not for the current Kimsufi servers for which OVH doesn’t provide an API at this time. Fortunately, OVH provides a “rescue mode” which lets us boot from an USB stick which is permanentely plugged in on all Kimsufi servers. Continue reading