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 Post subject: Help me pick a server OS
PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2011 1:24 pm 
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Hi all.

I'm looking to turn my old computer into a file server for my house. I have some requirements in mind (both hardware and software based) and I would like input on the best OS for me to achieve this. I'm somewhat comfortable with linux, but I'd rather work in a GUI then command line (ie, the more user friendly the better, but I will get my hands dirty if need be).

What I have:
ASUS A8N Sli-deluxe
Amd 63 3700+ (single core)
4x 1Gb DDR
320 Seagate IDE (system drive)

What I plan on buying:
8x WD green 2 TB drives.


(Maybe?) Relevant specs from the computer:
Southbridge
2 xUltraDMA 133/100/66/33
4 xSATA 3 Gb/s ports Support RAID 0,1,0+1,JBOD
Silicon ImageĀ® 3114R RAID controller
4 xSATA with RAID0, 1,10, and RAID5


What I would like to do:
I would like to have 6 of the 8 drives set up as NAS drive available for use from any machine on my network (both wired and wireless)
These drives will hold movies, music, photos, and any other information I would like to store on them. This will not be a streaming server. If I want to watch a video stored on the server, it will usually be copied over to the machine in advance. Some sort of redundancy would be benificial, maybe Raid 5?

I would like to have the other two 2TB drives set up as a mirrored raid array. This should also be accessible as a NAS drive over the network, but I was access to it restricted as this drive will contain stuff that I don't want visitors/neighbors having access to. This drive will also be backed up weekly to an external 2TB drive. The OS needs to be capable of automatically handling this backup.


Obviously my onboard raid controllers cannot handle my requirements as is. Should I purchase an expansion card or are there OS based software raid options that would accomplish what I want?


Any thoughts?


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 Post subject: Re: Help me pick a server OS
PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2011 1:16 pm 
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FreeNAS (http://www.freenas.org/). I've heard good things about it, haven't used it yet though. Supports ZFS, which could let you get away with just using the onboard RAID.


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 Post subject: Re: Help me pick a server OS
PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2011 3:59 pm 
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Don't see how I could use the onboard raid without some sort of port multiplier, I've only got 4 sata ports on the chipset that has the Raid5 option...


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 Post subject: Re: Help me pick a server OS
PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2011 5:44 pm 
Bitchin' Fast 3D Z8000
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Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2004 5:29 pm
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perhaps you should give this a read...

viewtopic.php?f=7&t=97989

IMO...I'm not sure it's worth the taxing on your CPU to do it.


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 Post subject: Re: Help me pick a server OS
PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2011 11:25 pm 
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I was under the assumption that even if I used the onboard raid it would still be 'fakeraid' as there isn't a built in processor specifically dedicated to raid functionality, or am I incorrect in that assumption?


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 Post subject: Re: Help me pick a server OS
PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2011 11:27 am 
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Unfortunately, the fakeraid doesn't really work in linux (generally speaking, there are exceptions and workarounds). Basically, unless you are gonna spend the money to get a real raid controller (probably $250+), software raid (mdadm) is your only real option. Your cpu should be fine, based on it just being a file server. Looks like you have a total of 8 SATA ports and a few IDE ports, so you should be ok on that, unless I read your post wrong.

For comparison, I have a BE-2350 (2.1 GHz x2) that runs as a home server; file/print server, plays movies (bluray rips) via HDMI to a HDTV with room to spare, DNS, DHCP and probably a few other thinks I dont remember setting up. I have 3x1TB in a raid 5, its easy to setup. Basically, follow that link and the directions are still current for any linux distro. Personally I prefer Debian, but the OS is almost irrelevant, the software is available on all. The configuration is what matters. Installing the OS on a separate drive is the way to go, keep the OS off the array. While it is possible to install it to the array, it may end up being more trouble than its worth in the long run. Backup the config files once you have them setup and if it crashes or whatever, a reinstall takes ~20 minutes, copy the files back in, and done.

For what its worth, that array was originally created in one box running Fedora. I later ditched it and installed Ubuntu. Reassembled the array, 5 minutes, no data lost. Moved the 3 drives to another box, different hardware, and installed a newer version of Ubuntu. Again, reassembled, no data loss. Later installed Debian, reassembled, you get the idea. The main OS drive has been slicked at least a dozen times, and each time the array is reassembled easily, and with no problems.

One recommendation would be to put all 8 drives as one big raid array. Raid 5 utilizing one or more as a spare would probably be my choice, but do what you like. Instead of creating 2 arrays, one for everyone and one locked down, make one, and use proper file permissions when setting up the share and you would achieve the same results. With proper Samba permissions, there is really no need to do separate arrays, it is just more trouble than it is worth.
Any linux OS can also handle that backup you mentioned, read about crontab.


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