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Build Advice Home server

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Beezie, 4 Dec 2010.

  1. Beezie

    Beezie What's a Dremel?

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    Heya
    i am in need of a home server and i am fairly clueless of which parts i should go for, to give me the the best server for the money

    Budget: £1.200

    Main uses of intended build: FTP fire sharing, Web hosting in-house, HD media streaming(music and video), storage, backup for 4Pc`s, blue ray 1080p encoding and uTorrent

    Parts required: the only part i got which i can reuse from an old pc is a Geforce Graphic card

    Storage requirements: up to 8 hard drives in raid 5

    Extra information about desired system: it will be running 24/7 with backup a few times a week beside being able to logg in trough a client on my other pc`s and have access to the content when i am traveling.
    I still dont know which OS i should run, been looking at WHS and FreeNas, also on Linux but i have no experience of any of them so any input on that would be appreciated :hip:

    Edit: i live in Norway so it can be hard to find some parts
     
  2. ShakeyJake

    ShakeyJake My name is actually 'Jack'.

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    Well if it's going to be on 24/7 then maybe you should think about power requirements. An embedded motherboard will use way less power than any socket, so that's definitely the way to go. You won't be needing that gpu on a properly set up server.

    There are two ways you can do RAID 5, either using software RAID or a RAID card. Actually, some mobo chipsets are capable too but they tend to be lacking at best. Software RAID is easier to set up as it can be done from the OS and doesn't need anything except HDDs and SATA ports. The downside is that it eats a fair amount of CPU power and as such it tends to be slower. Also, the array is only an array as far as the OS is concerned, if you have to reinstall then you'll normally lose the array and any data on it.

    Hardware RAID requires a specialist (expensive) RAID card with it's own CPU and RAM onboard. Of course this method may be a lot more expensive but it frees up the main CPU and as far as the OS is concerned the array is only one physical disk, so re-installation, failure or upgrades maintain the array.

    I'd be tempted to buy an atom board, a hardware RAID card, and a big, quiet case to house ithat lot and as many Western Digital Green drives as you think you need, you can always add more. If you think you need more power then an AM3 board with a 45W CPU such as a Sempron 145 or one of the dual-core Athlons will cost about the same to buy but a little more to run.
     
  3. ShakeyJake

    ShakeyJake My name is actually 'Jack'.

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    Actually, with a budget of £1200 you are able to go a little crazy. Even if you decide on a hardware RAID card and more memory, PSU and CPU than you really need, you still come in way under budget.

    [​IMG]

    Install Ubuntu onto the SSD, set up the drives in RAID on the Highpoint. Set up all the services using friendly GUI tools and then kill the desktop environment to leave it command line only. That gives you a server fast enough to do things like encoding and ripping, whilst still serving a massive amount of data. You just said '8 disks' in your post, I had no idea how large a disk you meant so assumed 1TB, if you want 8x 2TB or 3TB disks then you're probably looking into something much more severe than any consumer-grade technology and would be better off buying something enterprise class to protect against data loss.

    Of course, I'd rather have 5x2TB disks over 8x1TB to allow for future array expansion.
     
  4. Beezie

    Beezie What's a Dremel?

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    I would say it would be on close to 24/7 all year, my pc are almost never turned off and restarts are only for updates so the server will be on more then my pc

    i had been thinking of a HighPoint raid card for hardware raid

    that budget are only how much i can spend with a few discs not how much i need to use. There can be a bit more expensive to shop here were i live so its ok to have some room to move
    the build you have set up are amazingly close to what i had set up in my own mind but since i have never buildt a server for my own needs before i felt it was a good thing to ask

    i did set up to 8 discs as a marker at how many discs i felt i had a use for, to be able to expand the server with more discs as the time goes on.
    The discs are going to be 1.5TB i tought maby samsung Spinpoint F3. I cant see any need putting in 8x 3TB discs ever:eeek:.
    its eather 2TB or 1.5TB discs
    Will the SSD be connected to the Motherboard or Raid card?
    The chase you suggested are the chase i had been looking on as well:rock:

    thanks a lot snakey:thumb:
     
    Last edited: 4 Dec 2010
  5. Burnout21

    Burnout21 Is the daddy!

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    I would say the SSD is total overkill for a server, just add another 1tb drive.
     
  6. Beezie

    Beezie What's a Dremel?

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    was thinking a bit about that, and i agree
    the parts are a bit more expensive over here so im droping the ssd
     
  7. ShakeyJake

    ShakeyJake My name is actually 'Jack'.

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    Oh I'm well aware the SSD is likely overkill, but I figured the quick access time would only be a plus. Besides, something like an OCZ Onyx isn't much more expensive than a medium-sized HDD. Like I said, many parts of that build are overkill.

    If you don't need 8x disks, then there are smaller, cheaper cases that are just as quiet. The OS disk would go on the motherboard, there's no sense having it on the raid card and sometimes this can cause problems. Why bother?

    As a side note, are your pcs on all the time 'cos they're busy? Or are they just left on when doing nothing for long periods of time?
     
  8. Beezie

    Beezie What's a Dremel?

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    i will keep the ssd option open to right before i go off and buy/build.
    Ok i will plug it into the motherboard, was a bit unshure about that thanks for clearing it up

    My pc are on all the time, which being gaming when i am at the computer when i sleep or are away i set it on download and beside download it have set up tasks like virus search, updates etc etc the list goes on, there is absolutely no reason to have it on if it`s just sitting there idling trough the night
    when i get the server set up i will start to turn my pc off and let the server do most of the night time work
     
  9. Cthippo

    Cthippo Can't mod my way out of a paper bag

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    If you drop the encoding requirement (do it on one of your client machines and transfer the results to the server) then you can do this really cheaply.

    I use a Via mini-ITX board with a 1.5 GHZ chip and 1 GB of memory for my server and it's completely capable of the requirements you have laid out. I've got two 1TB drives in a RAID1 array for storage and the OS is on a 512 MB CF card. I'm running FreeNAS, which again, does everything you outlined above. When the server is not being accessed the only moving parts are the fans since the drives spin down when not in use. I've got a GB ethernet card in there and the whole thing works beautifully.

    When it comes to file servers it's really easy to spend more than you need to without getting anything more.
     
  10. Beezie

    Beezie What's a Dremel?

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    i am always open to suggestions on hardware to my builds, but the amount of hard drives requirement still stands (up to 8)
    i could save some by tweaking a little bit here and there, Like a different case or less ram but the impact of the overall price would be minor because of the hardrives.
    If i were to set aside the encoding as you said and make my main rig do it, what would you suggest for hardware? just curious

    whats the difference on FreeNas and Ubuntu Server?
     
    Last edited: 4 Dec 2010
  11. Cthippo

    Cthippo Can't mod my way out of a paper bag

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    FreeNAS is a highly specialized OS just for servers. The whole program is only about 150 MB installed. It has no GUI and is run entirely over a web interface. Despite that, it has pretty much everything you could want in a server, and not much else. FreeNAS is FreeBSD based and so it's a good idea to check hardware support before buying parts as this has cropped up for me with GB NIC cards.

    Ubuntu server is a full OS with some extra server components added in. It will do the job, but it's not really designed for it and comes with tons and tons of stuff you don't need.

    I'll take a look at what's out there and see if I can suggest some hardware.
     
  12. Beezie

    Beezie What's a Dremel?

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    ok thanks for your time, i will go and read up on FreeNas to get some baring of how it operates, functions and whatmore
     
  13. Cthippo

    Cthippo Can't mod my way out of a paper bag

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    I put together a build list, but due to the way Newegg handles things it won't be available publicly for a while yet.

    Here are the key components though...

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813500036
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816115026

    And then your OS goes on this...

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820171353

    Which plugs into this...

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812186061

    I'm sure someone who is more familiar with UK / Euro sellers can put together a better parts list for you.

    The 2 GB card is total overkill. Mine runs on a 512 MB card, but they don't sell too many of those anymore. Speed isn't an issue because the whole OS is loaded to memory at boot and so unless you change a setting in the web GUI nothing is read or written to the card.

    The other parts are 1 GB of cheap brand name memory, a decent relatively low wattage PSU (350W should be fine), and a case. You're going to need something fairly large to fit those 8 drives.

    The relatively low powered CPU is not an issue because the RAID card will handle most of the parity calculations on board. If you have extra room in your budget I would look at putting it into a better RAID card as I see that as being the most likely bottleneck. I'm running on-board RAID1 and so it's no problem, but RAID5 requires a lot of math and so a more powerful controller might be worthwhile.

    Depending on how the rest of your network is set up the GB NIC can actually make a big difference. When I switched from on-board 10/100 to add-in GB on my server the transfer time for a 1 GB test file went from 1:40 to 0:29. Granted, all the machines have GB NICs and I have a GB switch, but the difference was substantial. That said, I never had any trouble streaming video over the 10/100 connection, the difference only became noticeable with very large file transfers.

    one issue you will probably notice is a delay when first accessing data off the server. Mine is set up so that the drives spin down when not in use and so there is a 2-3 second delay for them to spin up again when I go to access data. It can be a bit annoying at times, but the energy savings and additional longevity of the drives is worth it.

    Let me know if I can help.

    Chris
     
  14. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    Just to reiterate what Cthippo said: A good router and great Gigabit NIC will make all the difference: that's your bottleneck.

    PSU: Antec 380W Earthwatts imo.

    Go for an onboard IGP, save the money. CF cards are far more prone to death because they don't have the wear levelling modern SSDs use.

    FreeNAS is very hit and miss on component support, after trying it out several times my best results were after keeping it simple. WHS is versatile for remote desktop, but also failed on me multiple times losing a lot of data.
     
  15. Beezie

    Beezie What's a Dremel?

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    Cthippo

    it was as i thought, the Shops here in Norway do not have most of the parts you linked, availability can be a bigger problem then price sometimes

    :)
     
  16. ShakeyJake

    ShakeyJake My name is actually 'Jack'.

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    Beezie, if you do decide to go low-power then Mini-ITX.com deliver to the continent. I have something similar to CtHippo by the sounds of it, I'm using an Atom NM10 board with just an extra SATA ports card, not hardware RAID. It's currently in a too big, old case, but I'm eyeing up the CFI A7879. I've been through several iterations of server including an older VIA board) and I still haven't found what's right for me.

    Ubuntu Server is not a full OS with server bits added in, it too is a CLI-only interface, server-specific distro. It's better than FreeNAS in that it's much less picky about hardware, but it is also much bigger and really needs a HDD to run on, it can't really boot from a CF card like FreeNAS can. With the simple addition of Webmin it gains many of the easy-to-use, web-administered features of FreeNAS.
     
  17. Beezie

    Beezie What's a Dremel?

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    I am reading up on both FreeNas and Ubuntu for the time being.
    thanks for the input so far!:thumb:
     
  18. Cthippo

    Cthippo Can't mod my way out of a paper bag

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    What are you finding lacking?

    mine is currently housed in a mini-ATX tower case, but I have a shuttle case I'm going it put it in when I can get around to doing the mods. It's going to be a black cube on the wakk with a single glowing blue button in the front. :D
     
  19. Beezie

    Beezie What's a Dremel?

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    sounds cool. :clap:
     
  20. Beezie

    Beezie What's a Dremel?

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    decided to go for ubuntu, will suit me just fine
     

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