The Freeware Files: Make the Most of your Spare Storage with Five Freeware Servers!

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FredSource

If you want something more than storage take a look at Amahi Home Server.

Not onyl to you get a Web 2.0 style UI for creating users and shares (with user level access control) you also get a VPN and an every increasing array of applications you can install from an on-line application gallery with just one-click!

 Apps  from media servers (music, pics and video to Xbox, Wii, and a whole lot more), photo gallery apps, content management systems, Groupware applications (shared calendar, addressbook, etc for multiple users), a wide range of utilites for managing the server, and the list goes on!

 

<a href="http://www.amahi.org">Take a look at this amazing home server! </a>

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KenHansen

Old computers use a lot of electricity, consider using a lower-powered new MB/CPU. I like the just announced, not yet available Supermicro X7SLA-H dual-core Atom MB with PCI-Express slots and a PCI slot (around $150 it seems, including CPU)[0] This is a true dual-core Atom, which means it has four threads of execution (HyperThreading). This particular board only supports 2 Gig of DDR2 RAM, but dual-channel is supported (two sockets) and the RAM is CHEAP these days.

Adding external drives can be easily done with a SansDigital HD Organizer - five drives in a frame, powered by an ATX PS (extra), costs around $50 or less.[1] (Just bolt the PS and HD frame into a cabinet with adequate airflow.

Some older SCSI-based Xeon servers can be retro-fitted with up-to-date controllers for little money - I'm about to drop in a Supermicro PCI-X 8 port SATA controller[2] and 4x SATA drives in an older Dell 1600SC[3], the original hard drives were hard-wired, so I simply remove the SCSI cable and install the SATA drives as normal. Many older servers have COA product keys for things like Windows Server 2003 attached - you can use that license on the server if none of the free servers excite you (and, oddly, Windows Server 2003 does?).

Oh, and make sure you enable Jumbo Packets on all your NICs and that your switch supports them, it will greatly increase performance. [4]

[0] http://supermicro.com/products/motherboard/ATOM/945/X7SLA.cfm?typ=H

[1] http://www.sansdigital.com/hard-drive-organizer/hddrack5.html

[2] http://supermicro.com/products/accessories/addon/AoC-SAT2-MV8.cfm

[3] http://www.andovercg.com/datasheets/dell-poweredge-1600sc_specs.pdf

[4] http://www.networkworld.com/forum/0223jumboyes.html

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hades_2100

Got a free 6 year old PC, it's now an UnRAID file server, best and easiest setup I ever did! Was up and running in 20 minutes.

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Denis63

Upgrade your network to gigabit, and your mapped netword drives will be almost as fast as internal drives. gig cards in all your computers, and a new Gig switch, and you're set to max out your HDD's speeds over a network cable!

Great Success! Very nice!

Also, Windows Home Server is rather nifty if you wanna go the windows direction, it'll stream to an xbox without any problems and the Drive Extender is rather nifty, but its not exactly free. 

       -Denis

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Defiant

Gigabit for the win! I bet your dam glad I bought you that netgear switch.  I've gotten about ~90 megaBYTES a second over gigabit copying from a wd 1 tb black to my server with a wd 150 gig raptor

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Denis63

*Drools*       -Denis

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KaylaKaze

I had considered using an old machine for a NAS. I had ordered a coule 500GB hard drives and a SATA card for the old system. Then when I got the stuff, I figured why bother accessing everything over a slow ethernet connection? I put that SATA card in my main PC, took an old power supply and hooked up the hard drives (now 4 of them) to that (so my PC's power supply won't have to try to run all of them) and just run cables out the back of my case to the hard drives. My main system is always on and the only UPS protected system in the house, so it beats using a second PC for that reason. The drives are shared so I have no problem accessing media from them (even streaming to my PS2) and I have full SATA speed access to the drives. The only problem is I really need a rack to store the hard drives in. I'd build one out of Lego but I don't have any and trying to buy blocks in bulk is a little out of my unemployed price range at the moment. I considered using wood, but I live in an apartment and don't have any power tools except my drill/screwdriver. Any suggestions?

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codepath

Pull the hard drive cage out of the old PC you are not using and mount it to something. You could screw the PS and the cage to a plank of wood.

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KaylaKaze

I did that when I was only using 2 drives, but now that I have 4, it's not big enough. I think I can fit 3 in but they'd be so close together they'd get pretty hot.

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neo1piv14

Articles like this make me glad that I keep my old machine around. Thanks Max PC!

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