[ILUG] Re: [OT] selecting home file server hardware (Darragh
colm at tuatha.org
Sat Apr 3 09:21:40 IST 2010
On Sat, Apr 3, 2010 at 8:43 AM, Niall O Broin <niall.obroin at gmail.com>wrote:
> I think this process can be summed up like this - buy a device like the
> above, and it'll be small, neat, quiet, easy to get going, low power and
> will do a lot, but maybe not everything you'd like it to do. Build your own,
> and it's going to take more time to get going, be less plug and play simple,
> but more likely to do everything you want, eventually, at a price in terms
> of your time, noise, and power consumption.
I kind of have one of each. My multi-purpose server-with-lots-of-storage is
based on a "Bare Bones Server 2" from TranquilPC (
running Ubuntu Server. It has five 1TB drives stuffed into it, in a RAID6
configuration (using MD giving about 2.8T of usable space - it can also do
hardware RAID on four of the 5 drives if you want it to); it boots from a
4GB IDE flash drive. The drives are Western Digital WD10EACS, which are
both very quiet and pretty low-power. This was not a terrifically cheap
system, but I am very pleased with it; it's extremely quiet and consumes
only a trickle of power (which is important as it's on 24/7). The CPU is a
dual-core Atom 330 (with HT); not a speed demon but it's easily handling
everything I throw at it. The only real downside of this box is that it has
only a single Ethernet port; I really would have preferred two (one to talk
to the DSL modem, one for my internal network), but I used a USB Ethernet
for the DSL side and it works fine.
I also have a LaCie 5Big NAS which I use for backups; also with 5 1TB
drives. This is the "appliance" model; it only does NAS (CIFS+AFP) with the
usual bells and whistles like media sharing, HTTP access and so forth, none
of which I use. It's also very silent and was comparatively inexpensive.
It's not hugely fast, but does reliably serve out the filesystems I've put
on it. It's entirely unhackable as far as I can tell (although I suspect
it's just another PC under the hood), but is also quiet, power-frugal and
generally well-behaved. The administration interface is a slightly fiddly
HTTP system; I would have liked an SSH command-line or something as an
tricks which actually end up making it unusable in Chrome (Firefox works
fine). Firmware updates come out a couple of times a year. It's wakeable
using wake-on-LAN, but to shut it down you need to log into the web
interface. It's also visually quite a striking box; gray metallic cube with
a large round blue light in the front face.
Anyway; they're both fine boxes for what they do; I like the flexibility of
having a "full" Linux on the BBS server (it also acts as my dhcp/radvd/DNS
server, firewall, router etc.) and the simplicity of the LaCie appliance.
If I was to only have one, it'd be the full Linux box for sure; nothing
beats the flexibility of having the full power of a mainstream Linux distro
on a home server without needing any special hackery.
Colm Buckley / colm at tuatha.org / +353 87 2469146
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