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Thread: File Server advice please.

  1. #1
    SiM
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    File Server advice please.

    Spec is intended to be:
    CPU: 4400x2 (can be changed to Opteron 152)
    RAM: PNY PC3200 2x1GB 3-3-3-8 (can be changed to Patriot PC3200 2x512mb 2-3-2-5)
    Case: Antec Sonata
    Hard drive: 4x1TB (I have 1x1TB seagate at the moment, will probably buy 3x1TB Samsung, make the raid 5 array with the 3 samsungs and then copy the data from the seagate to the array, and then expand the array to include the seagate)
    Graphics: 7600GS Passive
    OS: Some form of Linux - Probably Ubuntu
    PSU: I need to buy a new one. Any suggestions? Would like to keep cheap as possible. There is the £28 700W FSP, but that would be overkill.

    Would like to make the system consume less power if it won't effect performance. Should I change to the single core opteron? Is 2GB ram overkill?

    Cheers guys

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    Re: File Server advice please.

    Can you put this in context? A "file server" supporting 200 users is going to have rather different requirements from a personal homer server that only ever has you using it. One will wants lots of power, probably hardware RAID, high thoughput (SAS?) drives not SATA, perhaps redundant power supplies, ECC RAM, and do on. The other will probablty need a LOT less processing power, and perhaps the most demanding use will be a video stream or two.

    Of course, if you're specifying a server for 200 users and asking here (rather than already knowing) what it needs, I'd be worried.

    But the point remains - some idea of usage will help.

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    Re: File Server advice please.

    Oh, and if you're using RAID, I assume resilience is important. How important?

    1GB drives will take a while to rebuild if you lose one, and while thast's happening, the whole array is at risk. If that's a factor, you might want to consider

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    Re: File Server advice please.

    Oh, and if you're using RAID 5, I assume resilience is important? How important?

    With 1GB drives, it'll take a while to rebuild after a drive failure and while it does, any further failures will lose you the whole array. So, maybe think about RAID 6 with 500GB drives. The capacity will be broadly the same, as will the cost of the drives, but the resilience from dual parity goes up a fair bit.

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    SiM
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    Re: File Server advice please.

    Sorry for not being clear Saracen... its really a homemade NAS, rather than a 200 user file server. It will only be serving 2 or 3 computers at one time. A couple of high bitrate 1080p video streams is the most demanding serving it will do.
    Will be connected via gigabit to a switch to my computer and the switch will go to the router which will connect to the to the HTPC (100mbit). There might be a couple of other computers using it for small files.

    Redundancy is important as I wouldn't want to have to rip my HD/DVD* again

    *lets just say that they are legal uncopywrited homemade films

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    The late but legendary peterb - Onward and Upward peterb's Avatar
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    Re: File Server advice please.

    Resiliance really refers to availability - which is the real reason for using a RAID set up - it isn't a substitute for external backup as you still have the possibility of array failure.
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    Re: File Server advice please.

    Quote Originally Posted by peterb View Post
    Resiliance really refers to availability - which is the real reason for using a RAID set up - it isn't a substitute for external backup as you still have the possibility of array failure.
    Indeed. And other things, too.

    I had a PSU fail that took out, among other things, three hard drives in a machine. Instant RAID problem, even with RAID 6.

    Or, of course, you might get burgled.

    I completely agree, RAID might go some way to preventing data loss in that it'll catch some problems, but there's a number of things it won't catch. To avoid re-ripping all those DVD home movies, SiM, backup is essential and RAID isn't it.

    If that's all the RAId is for, think about alternatives. Perhaps Windows Home Server, because the file system presents some interesting options. Or, a decent backup routine (scheduled perhaps), perhaps imaging software or a decent backup program (TrueImage??) and a large external drive or two.

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    SiM
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    Re: File Server advice please.

    I understand that guys. Redundancy <> Backup... I don't want to spend double on storage though...The point of raid 5 in this system is protection against drive failure. I will buy a good quality PSU and do everything else reasonably in my power to prevent other things causing loss of data. I know there is a small chance I can lose it all, but that is a risk I am willing to take...

    Would not like to spend more money on Windows Home Server too as I hear Linux can do a better job and this is meant to be a cheap use of my old components...

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    Re: File Server advice please.

    Fair enough. These things are always a case of working out risk, working out what it'll cost to eliminate that risk, and deciding what level of risk is acceptable. When I mentioned WHS, I was referring to buying the software and using it on your old hardware, rather than buying a WHS machine, in case you thought that was what I meant. But there's certainly often more than one way of skinning a cat, as it were, and Linux offers options too.

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    Re: File Server advice please.

    Sim, sounds like you have a similar set up to me - I run a home server using Fedora core 6 as the Os software with SAMBA shares for both private and shared use. (I also have a small hacked linksys Nslu2 which acts as a streaming music server)

    The main server runs on an Asus terminator and has RAID 1 usingg a cheapo XFX card - mainly because the Terminator only had IDE drives and I wanted to use SATA - if I was doing itt again, I'd use MDADM - the Linux native RAID system. It aklso runs a web and mail server - so I back up to another machine with a tape drive - but that is probably obverkill for you, but a single hard drive in a USB caddy would probably do for your backup situation.

    The processor is an Athon 2400 which is more than adequate for the job - and I wouldn't have thought you would have had any difficulties streaming video with such a setup.

    A gigabit network helps - for file access on the client machines, file access isn't noticebly slower than accessing a local drive.
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    Re: File Server advice please.

    Quote Originally Posted by peterb View Post
    if I was doing itt again, I'd use MDADM - the Linux native RAID system.
    FYI the Thecus N5200 uses MDADM for its RAID system. Supports RAID expansion and level migration.

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