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vangelis
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Joined: 05 Jan 2004
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Location: St. Louis, USA

PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 4:42 pm    Post subject: media/file server configuration Reply with quote

I need your advice, probably in the form of a survey. Here is my problem:

I am trying to build a file/media server to serve files music and videos not only to computers but also to network devices around my home LAN. I purchased an LSI PATA PCI RAID card and when I tried to set it up with some of my older motherboards that I had laying around, even though I was able to get a Gentoo system up and running (with just system + samba+ device-mapper) it has been quite unstable. Some times the card (although recognized during bootup) would not end up showing any device on it (when it showed something it was /dev/sda). Anyway at some point, even after I replaced my power supply, the system now locks during POST.

As you may have guessed, I am in the market to build a new box with recycling as many parts as possible (to keep cost down).

Do you think I need a dual core processor to sufficiently meet the demands on server as above described? Can I go for a Cedar Mill based Celeron or some cheap single core AMD?

Optimally I would like a relatively new motherboard (so that I can have dual Gbit ethernet, SATA and PCIe) definitely LGA775 or AM2 (so that future proofing is to some extend ensured...).

Then I would try to go for a processor really cheap now. That way, in a few years I can upgrade the processor to one that is currently in the hundreds without a lot of hassle (if it is really needed...).

I would not even mind if there is integrated graphics... as I am not planning in installing X. But I need to have all the options for storage solutions.

All the recommended options would have to behave well with Linux as this box (after it is setup) will have to keep going 24/7 (I am also planning on UPS). I will be running the storage on RAID 5 configuration, so I do not want to have to mess with it.

Thanks

Evangelos
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slithy
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Joined: 26 Nov 2005
Posts: 321
Location: Kansas

PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How many people/machines are going to be accessing your server at the same time?

You should take this into effect when picking out parts. For example, IDE drives slow down a whole lot with multiple simultaneous reads/writes. Seems like to me, this being a file server, the drives are going to be the bottleneck. I personally wouldn't even consider using IDE drives unless that's what you have and don't want to buy new drives. SCSI would be ideal for great speed and multiple access, but I would think SATA would be more suited since you'll want large amounts of storage (which isn't really feasable with SCSI unless you throw a lot of money at the problem).
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vangelis
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Joined: 05 Jan 2004
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not many. We are just a family of 4. But have many locations from where to actually access the material. Probably no more than 2 clients at any given time. And yes, at this time I would like to work with the IDE drives. My next upgrade will definitely be a SATA RAID card with (obviously) SATA disks. By that time I am assuming the hardware will be even smarter with NCQ etc.

Evangelos
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slithy
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

With probably no more than two clients accessing data at the same time, IDE should be fine. Also, with that little clients and this being a file server, I would think that a single core CPU would suffice just fine. With either socket AM2 or LGA775 you could get a cheap single core CPU now and if the need arises later, upgrade to a dual-core.

What exact parts do you need to complete your build?
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dfelicia
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Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 281
Location: Southwestern Connecticut

PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LJ featured an article on this very topic in their March issue... author even used Gentoo. http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/9175 (Not sure if you have to be a subscriber to see the article, but it's called "Building a Multi-Room Digital Music System.")

From article:
Quote:

Like many media buffs these days, I have a media center computer in my house. It is a small VIA M10000 Mini-ITX system in a Casetronic C158 case running Freevo on top of Gentoo Linux. It sits inside my media cabinet and serves music, video, photos and various other bits of information to my TV. The small media center gets all of its content from a much larger AMD64 Gentoo Linux server that resides in a closet near the back of the house. The two machines talk to each other over a wired network using NFS (Network File System). I will be the first to tell you that it is great to have all of my music, videos and photos in a digital format and easily accessible.


Anyway, fun read. Pick up the March issue.
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vangelis
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Joined: 05 Jan 2004
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Location: St. Louis, USA

PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I need motherboard processor and memory. I guess I could go for one of these combos that they advertise all over the place...

But I want to be sure that I am not going to spend the next couple of weeks wrestling with drivers etc...

Evangelos
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dfelicia
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Joined: 11 May 2005
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Location: Southwestern Connecticut

PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 11:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you considered a Miniboard computer? I bought a Commell LE-564P from these guys 2 years ago: http://www.bwi.com/prod/6223

The board + enclosure and power supply ran about $500. I run OpenBSD 3.8 on it and use it as a transparent pf firewall/bridge (at work). It's been rock solid. I'm quite sure it would run Linux with no hassle. No moving parts, no noise, very small form factor. It does console redirection to serial port via BIOS, which is really nice. Plug it in and stick it on a shelf somewhere, then forget about it.

Of course, for my use I need no hard drive (using CF).
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vangelis
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2007 9:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That definitely looks nice. I will give them a call.

Evangelos
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