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Old 01-23-2010, 02:50 PM   #1
swphreak
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Another Phreak has questions thread!

So I'm thinking of building myself a little home server to store files on and use for backup/recovery, and figured on throwing a flavor of Linux on it (free!). So I have a couple of questions.

32-bit vs 64-bit
I've done some research on this, and I know what the differences are. My question is how do I make sure my hardware is 64-bit capable. Do I have to worry about the motherboard and processor being able to do 64-bit, or just the processor?

Do you really think 64-bit would be better than 32-bit for my purposes?

RAID
Right now, my backup/recovery consists of me using Backup Utility for Windows to backup my data to an external USB hard drive.

I figured it'd be nice to have a real backup option using RAID on the server. I know about the different RAID types and junk, I've just never implemented it. I've read that hardware RAID is better, and it makes sense. What do I need to consider when purchasing other PC components to make sure the hardware RAID will work?

Which RAID # should I use? I'm fixing on getting 1TB drives, so anything more than 2 or 3 for RAID seems a bit much to me.

Edit: To clarify, I do know that RAID isn't some magical backup fairy. It just protects the server's hard drives. I'd find a software solution for my desktops/laptop and store them on the server.

Linux
Only one I've looked at is ubuntu server. I downloaded the iso and fired it up in VMware. Do you guys have any preferred flavor?

Specs
I'm not expecting to spend a whole lot. It's pretty much a file server or whatever else I come up with. Don't need any video or sound card, and I was thinking low price point processor with 1 or 2 GB of RAM. I figured gigabit network ports are integrated these days.

Better spec suggestions?

Encryption
Not really high on my list of priority, but would be nice. Anyone know how I can encrypt the server's hard drives?


Thanks for the help. Feel free to add anything else that I missed or might come up.
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Old 01-23-2010, 05:51 PM   #2
Samnmax221
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StarWarsPhreak View Post
Encryption
Not really high on my list of priority, but would be nice. Anyone know how I can encrypt the server's hard drives?
I've got one of these in my desktop. But that's probably not what you need for an always-on fileserver, as the key has to be left in for the drive to work at all.

Now Truecrypt is cross platform, and can encrypt entire disks, and can also make bootable encrypted partitions.

All this really did for me was make me realize that I don't really have anything to hide.
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Old 01-24-2010, 11:47 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StarWarsPhreak View Post
32-bit vs 64-bit
I've done some research on this, and I know what the differences are. My question is how do I make sure my hardware is 64-bit capable. Do I have to worry about the motherboard and processor being able to do 64-bit, or just the processor?

Do you really think 64-bit would be better than 32-bit for my purposes?
for x64 computing, all you need is a x64 compatible CPU. in today's CPU market, i think you'd have a hard time finding a CPU the isn't x64 compatible. the CPU lineups from both AMD and Intel are cross-compatible with either x86 or x64.

and given how easy it is to have a x64 CPU in your system, i'd go ahead and put a x64 Linux distro on there. it'll let you install more RAM which is always nice to have for any kind of a server.
Quote:
Originally Posted by StarWarsPhreak
RAID
Right now, my backup/recovery consists of me using Backup Utility for Windows to backup my data to an external USB hard drive.

I figured it'd be nice to have a real backup option using RAID on the server. I know about the different RAID types and junk, I've just never implemented it. I've read that hardware RAID is better, and it makes sense. What do I need to consider when purchasing other PC components to make sure the hardware RAID will work?

Which RAID # should I use? I'm fixing on getting 1TB drives, so anything more than 2 or 3 for RAID seems a bit much to me.
well, implementing RAID on today's computers is actually pretty easy since RAID controllers are often integrated directly into the motherboard (assuming that you'll be using an aftermarket mobo) for SATA HDD's. the biggest problems come either from booting from an array or if you're trying to do a more complicated RAID array like RAID 10, 01, 3, or 4. most integrated controllers do support 0, 1, 5, and JBOD, though.

as for the kind of array your using, i would go for either RAID 1 or 5. 5 will give you the best performance and still give you the data protection you're looking for, but you'll need 3 HDD's to get the job done. RAID 1 will be a bit slower, but you'll only need 2 HDD's for that.
Quote:
Originally Posted by StarWarsPhreak
Specs
I'm not expecting to spend a whole lot. It's pretty much a file server or whatever else I come up with. Don't need any video or sound card, and I was thinking low price point processor with 1 or 2 GB of RAM. I figured gigabit network ports are integrated these days.

Better spec suggestions?
that'll work just fine, though i'd look for two things in particular: a quad-core processor and lots of RAM. anything demanding (streaming video for instance) will go a lot smoother with more RAM. i'd go for 4GB at least.

i'd help you in some of the other areas, but i really don't have the experience with Linux to help you out on that front. hopefully the rest of the data will be helpful, though.


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Old 01-25-2010, 01:37 AM   #4
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Previous posters pretty much have it covered. The only 32 bit processors floating around are ones in *very* old pc or mobile devices

Whilst the whole NAS game is beyond my requirements, I know alot of folks who run freeNAS, which you may want to look into.

Good luck PhreakTron - I foresee many hours of terminal window skullduggery ahead. If it was me, it grab a thecus NAS, or possibly a windows home server rig. Plug it in, works

A colleague of mine once said "Linux is never free if you value your time"

so true...

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Last edited by Astrotoy7; 01-25-2010 at 01:49 AM.
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Old 01-26-2010, 09:37 AM   #5
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Terminal window skullduggery doesn't bother me.

I've looked at Windows Home Server, but it doesn't play well with RAID. I don't like the sound of Drive Extender. This server is my primary backup (I'll still have my usb hdds that are hanging around). I'm just not confident in Microsoft's Drive Extender's ability to keep my data safe.

I do like the sound of all the other features it has. Just not Drive Extender. I've tried looking online to see if there's a way to turn it off, but it looks like it's too much a part of WHS to do it?

I've picked the specs I'm going to use. I'm just lookin' around for an OS.

Edit: Those Thecus NASes look nice, but I'd rather build something myself and be able to do what I want with it.
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Old 01-27-2010, 02:23 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StarWarsPhreak View Post
I'm just not confident in Microsoft's Drive Extender's ability to keep my data safe....
Still, it's good to be able to blame someone else if you're data does bugger up. When you DIY, the buck stops with you of things go awry In a moment of mental fog, I once annihilated over 1TB of archived TV and movies \o/

Checked out server 2008? Nearly everyone I know who uses it loves it in an unhealthy way

There's also MS virtual server 2005, which I cant say I'm hugely familiar with, but more appropriate for certain setups, and cheaper.

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