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Planning first server, looking for online resources on how to do so.

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
EDIT: After research, I have made this a much simpler question. The quote below is my original post.

I have been wanting to set up a home server system for various reasons (see long post below) and have been trying to figure things out. I have been reading this section a lot, and have come to determine that I know nothing..

I want to figure out how to build a nice server (or two) with sane power consumption, and set them up with linux to do a number of different things. Is there a good resource for figuring this out? Somehow my google-fu has failed me on this, and I have not found a good source of information yet.

Thanks!


Quote:
I have never used a home server, but I am moving out on my own now finally, and have been wanting to set up a decent server for various uses. Many of these uses are unnecessary, but I would love the learning experience of setting it up, and the super secure network I could have should I do so correctly.

I just have a quick question on the saleability of a single powerful server for everything I want it to do. I am planning on running the entire system on linux of some sort, and it to all be on high performance hardware, gigabit ethernet etc. My wife and I are currently only using basic laptops, but we do play minecraft with friends rather often, would like to continue doing so even when across the country, and also I plan on getting a real desktop for gaming again someday. We have plenty of data and media, and the server would get used rather frequently. (Honestly, since most of our work is done on laptops currently I would love to have a better backup system..)

Essentially, I want two main "sections" of functionality.
1. Network security & Administration: I want all internet traffic to physically pass through this server, and for it to be a firewall, internet cache, (basic) internet blacklist, load balancer, DNS server, VPN server, DHCP server etc. (Snort server?) - This would then connect via gigabit ethernet to everything. (I also have a nice asus RT N65U Router that I assume I could set up to be a painless wireless bridge, and allow the server to handle all network administration rather than it)
2. "End user" functions: Print server, file server, automatic backups, media server, maybe a simple minecraft server, other game servers on occasion, others..

Mostly, can I do all of the network stuff and all of the end user stuff one one well set up powerful server? Or do I ideally need two separate machines?

Also, if not everything I want to do can run concurrently, can I use VM's to fit it all into one physical computer? I would ideally like to keep the total size down (to one large tower), noise at a low level, and power consumption.. reasonable. (I would pay more for a setup that would use a small amount of power when nobody is using it for anything) We will be living in a small apartment, and will most likely move again in the near future, possibly multiple times, so physically simple is ideal!

If you have any suggestions or links for someone new, that would be very appreciated! I am not looking for extreme specifics as I will not be starting this project for a few weeks at minimum, but I would like to have a better idea of what to look for. I know I am asking a lot of a server and will have to spend money on hardware that can handle it, so I want to do it right the first time.

Thanks!

EDIT: Of course, right after I post this I run into a thread basically saying it is a horrible idea. http://www.overclock.net/t/1478347/linux-bsd-or-hurd-for-a-file-server/0_20
I am still looking for a decently elegant solution though, I don't want to have multiple expensive and power hungry servers.. and I would love to learn more. Help is still very appreciated!

Edited by christian_piper - 4/24/14 at 9:00am
post #2 of 7
I think you're a bit too ambitious with a single server. However, this is just my opinion.

I would build a small mITX, probably something like a AMD Kabini or Intel Atom build as your security server. Using mITX should hide it well enough.

Then a larger ESXi/Xenserver box to do all the other stuff. Something like this for around $500 to start, or like this for around $500. Pricing is obviously different since the original article.

IOMMU passthrough capabilities means you can give GPU, ports, controllers cards, etc to any VM you build. If you read the articles, it will give some ideas to try yourself.
post #3 of 7
or just get an ubiquiti ERL or a Mikrotik for ~100$ and spend your money on the virtualization it.
post #4 of 7
Grab a pair of Dell C1100's from ebay (with the Xeon L5520's), and done. All the resources you'll need; install the hypervisor of your choice (Hyper-V or ESXi, in my opinion) and go cray-cray setting up some VMs.

I second the above post; get an Ubiquiti EdgeRouterLite for $99. Very powerful and super-cheap. I have run one myself for over a year now and couldn't imagine using anything else since this does everything I need.
post #5 of 7
Please note that the C1100 will be noisy unless you have a garage to store them in

But like tycoonbob suggested install a Hyper-V of your choice and then run virtual machines it is what i do on one of my Whitebox servers at home
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Yggdrassil
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Sapphire R9 290X 8x Samsung 8GB DDR3 1333 ECC 3TBx2 in Raid 1 Noctua NH-U12DO 
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post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Norse View Post

Please note that the C1100 will be noisy unless you have a garage to store them in

But like tycoonbob suggested install a Hyper-V of your choice and then run virtual machines it is what i do on one of my Whitebox servers at home

They aren't that noisy. Not quiet enough to use in your bedroom, but I ran mine in my home office until switching to Dell R610, which are even quieter. But yeah, garage, basement, a well ventilated closet, home office...
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thank you all! This gives me a much narrower area to research and figure out, which is quite helpful!

ESXi looks perfect for my uses, and I suppose two servers will probably be better overall..

I LOVE the idea of at least one C1100- they seem ridiculously overpowered for my uses, and I like that biggrin.gif I imagine a minecraft server would be extremely easy on one of those. However, I do fear that for now, living in small apartments, going with at least larger rackmount servers, with larger quieter fans, would be best. I imagine I could easily find a comperable server, though I might spend more..

I shall be looking into every suggestion here! Thank you so much!
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