Low powered File Server. Just a few simple questions

By Ph30nIX
Apr 6, 2005
  1. Ok basically im getting a few (something like 2-4) low powered celerons (266Mhz each), what i want to do is make a low powered file server for my other computers.

    Would it be best to
    A) Put all 4 HDDs and RAM into one computer.
    B)Put 2HDDs in each of 2 computers (making 2 file servers.)
    C)Just have 4 file servers.

    I have two extra sticks of 32mb RAM.
    Im pretty sure all of the ones im getting will be Celeron 266Mhz's each with 64Mb RAM.
    Im guessing that each will probably have 3 DIMM slots (mabye 2, but the coputer we took apart at school without the teach knowing had 3).
    I also have NIC,Cd-ROM and FDD and spare cables.

    Thanks in advance,
  2. isatippy

    isatippy TS Rookie Posts: 497

    I would go with B.
  3. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Things will be simpler and thus better with all the RAM and disk space piled in one machine. This will give you the most efficient disk space usage and ease of management.

    You could get better network performance out of several servers if the server machines had 10Mbit network cards and rest of the network was 100Mbit. That extra speed would show only when you download from all servers at once of course.
  4. Samstoned

    Samstoned TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,018

    Ya the big dogs use clustering plan B
    takes some management with a low power setup like that I'd give B a try
    still should opt for more memory servers need that above all
    still another methos use one for primary use the 2nd one for file caching
  5. nickc

    nickc TechSpot Paladin Posts: 923   +11

    just what I would do...
  6. Ph30nIX

    Ph30nIX TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 243

    So i guess your saying, use 1 HDD for OS, and then 3HDD's to store files, (i'll just take the CD out when OS is installed).

    1) what Os should i use, 98,2000,XP or Linux (fedora core3), i have access to all of these.

    2) is there any handy dandy programs which would make a file server perform better?


    P.S i was thinking that B was the best option.
  7. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Linux/Unix and Samba is all you want or need.
    FC3 in it's default configuration is a bit too much for those machines, but it will work fine if you cut it down to a minimum.

    You can use LVM to merge arbitrary disks and partitions into one big virtual disk in which you can even make your own separate partitions - a very fancy RAID0.
    It will allow you add, remove and swap out disk space with very little trouble.
    Of course it comes with the ususal risk of RAID0 - one drive failing will render the whole contents virtually unusable.
  8. Ph30nIX

    Ph30nIX TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 243

    Ok, what Linux is best, and what advantages/disadvantages does Unix have over Linux.
    What is Samba, and where can i get it?

    Is this a good idea for a beginner/novice.

  9. mokaboy

    mokaboy TS Rookie Posts: 136

    aint linux, unix with new stuff?

    and most hosting companys use red hat for there file holding servers, hope that helps :p :chef:
  10. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    For your purpose, any Linux or BSD or whatever unixoid system will do. None of them would have any signiicant advantage over any other if all you want to do is serve files for a home LAN off an old PC.

    I suggested Unix (BSD) because newer popular Linux distributions are very bloated and complex. In contrast, a base install of the latest version of NetBSD is 60MB for example.
    You add Samba and you get a full-powered file server on less than 100MB of disk with no bloat.

    Samba is something that allows Unix/Linux computers to access and offer Windows shares. You need this to serve files to your (supposedly) WIndows clients. Most Linuxes and BSD come with it.
    You asked for some handy dandy programs. It is your choice whether you want to use it or not.
  11. IronDuke

    IronDuke TS Rookie Posts: 856


    Unix is proprietry.
  12. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,202   +422

    I personally would go with a single machine containing all the parts and running either Fedora Core or RHE4 (if you can get it at a discount - like student discount or something.) That's pretty much how I have my home network set up - my weakest machine is my fileserver running RHE. I should run RAID 1 but I need more storage space.
  13. Ph30nIX

    Ph30nIX TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 243

    Ok, thanks nodsu, you've been a real help with this.

  14. Ph30nIX

    Ph30nIX TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 243

    i had a look at some linux/unix, nodsu, in your opinion, what would be a good one to download, and where can i get it from?

  15. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    As I said, any one of them will do. Just pick one at random :p
    The difficulty of set-up will not differ too much since you will most likely be doing it reading from the manual anyway.
    A quick list for you to get started: Fedora, RedHat, Mandrake, SuSE, Debian, Slackware, Gentoo, Ubuntu, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Solaris

    Oh. And make sure your server machine(s) can run it.
    SuSE for example wants to see 128MB or RAM before it even starts installing.
  16. Ph30nIX

    Ph30nIX TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 243

    Thanks Nodsu. :D

  17. Samstoned

    Samstoned TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,018

    I have heard debian is the easyest to add or ,How should I put it ,install programs on
    Mandrake I run (sometimes)works out of box and internet setup is easy
    explain samba ,way to share files of network? been so long since I used it forgot.
    rams cheap these days get more ram :chef:
    suse is for ?
    PS,I don't have any of the new flavors I still use 9.0
  18. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,202   +422

    All that stuff is incredibly easy in Fedora Core Samstoned.
  19. Ph30nIX

    Ph30nIX TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 243

    Samstoned, RAM aint that cheap, its SDR we're talking about, $130 for 256mb compared to $50 for 256mb DDR.

    The computer will most likley be a Celeron 266Mhz wiht 192Mb RAM, NIC, and a few small (2-5 Gb) HDD's. Nodsu gave me a list of recomenations, what do you other guys think about it?

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