QEMU is well-known as a free replacement for VMware, allowing users to run a PC within a PC. What isn't so well known about QEMU is that, in addition to emulating x86 architectures, it can emulate AMD64, Sparc, MIPS, PPC and ARM CPUs.
In the case of the ARM architecture, QEMU provides a convenient, if slow, environment in which development can be done for embedded systems.
This article describes the process involved in building a Debian/ARM server running under QEMU. It assumes that Debian is also being used as the host server.
Since QEMU's arm emulator has no ability to emulate either IDE or SCSI disks, it will be necessary to install the server on an NFS exported partition.