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LOTS of Home Server and Backup Questions...

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I had an old Dell Optiplex laying around so I decided to turn it into a NAS for streaming and backup so I don't have to have my power-sucking sig rig on all the time (there are multiple computers/users in the house). Here are its specs:

Pentium 4 2.4
256MB DDR
2x640 SATA
XP Pro
Now on to the problem:

I can steam from it just fine but I want some level of redundancy. As you may have guessed the Dell doesn't support RAID so I just set up a regular backup schedule via the built-in Windows utility. This initiates like it's supposed to but even at 100% CPU (which it indeed uses through the whole process) utilization it takes 5-6 hours to backup 225GB of data. I can easily see myself doubling the amount of storage and 10 hour backups aren't really interesting me.

I also have an antivirus doing a scan somewhere in there too so when you put it all together that's a lot of time this system is just performing maintenance on itself.

I've also been thinking about offloading the two storage drives from my sig rig so I can free up some space which brings the total drives for the NAS to:

x1 1TB
x1 500GB
x2 640GB

I'm thinking of picking up a cheap IGP board/processor and putting this all in a cheapo case. How cheap can I get away with? E5200? Lower? I don't want to break the bank so RAID cards and NAS enclosures are basically out unless either option can be had reasonably cheap.

DATA

I have a lot of what's on the TB backed to disc (old photos, videos, etc) but it would be nice to have the other, frequently changing data to be backed up on a regular basis.

Is there a better option than the poor-man's RAID of having disc 1 write to disc 2 every night?
post #2 of 7
try buy a cheap 2x2 chip of ram i think it will speed it up heaps
TagUrTank
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core i7 950 Gigabyte X58A-UD9 Sapphire HD6990 4GB Kingston HyperX 1600mhz 12GB (6x2GB) 
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OCZ Vertex 2 Sandforce 240GB Hitachi 2TB 7200RPM Hitachi 2TB 7200RPM Hitachi 2TB 7200RPM 
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Seagate 7200.12 1TB Seagate 7200.12 1TB Samsung Blu-Ray combo drive Noctua NH-D14 
CoolingOSMonitorMonitor
Case fans (all slots on the HAF X Filled) Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit Acer V233H Acer V233H 
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TagUrTank
(24 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core i7 950 Gigabyte X58A-UD9 Sapphire HD6990 4GB Kingston HyperX 1600mhz 12GB (6x2GB) 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
OCZ Vertex 2 Sandforce 240GB Hitachi 2TB 7200RPM Hitachi 2TB 7200RPM Hitachi 2TB 7200RPM 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Seagate 7200.12 1TB Seagate 7200.12 1TB Samsung Blu-Ray combo drive Noctua NH-D14 
CoolingOSMonitorMonitor
Case fans (all slots on the HAF X Filled) Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit Acer V233H Acer V233H 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Acer V233H Apple Keyboard Corsair AX1200w Coolermaster HAFX 
MouseAudioAudio
Microsoft sidewinder x8 Onboard Realtek audio -> Optical out -> Yamaha ... Sennheiser CX500 earbuds 
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post #3 of 7
you could use rsync so that way you only write the changes in your data. you have a couple options, you can use a wrapper, or you can use cygwin. Do whatever you feel more comfortable with

cygwin rsync
Deltacopy(wrapper)
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post #4 of 7
I'd get more RAM. 256Mb is not going to cut it anymore. Max it out of you can.

Why not buy a RAID card?
    
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Intel Overdrive 486DX4 100Mhz Digital Venturis 466 S3 Trio 32 1MB 68MB 72 Pin SIMMs 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
1.2Gb & 270Mb 32X CD-ROM Windows 98 SE LG 23" Flatron 
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post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by keith27 View Post
I'd get more RAM. 256Mb is not going to cut it anymore. Max it out of you can.

Why not buy a RAID card?
I think based on your question I may have a misunderstanding about how much a good RAID card costs. I have admittedly only ever used Intel onboard RAID so could I get a decent, reliable, easy-to-use card for $50 or so?

I've been giving it some more thought and this is why I am thinking I don't want to add RAM to and then stick with the Dell:

1. The case only has two 3.5" bays. I'd like to offload the high-availability 1TB drive (serves media only) from my power-gulping sig rig so that can then become a 'use when you need it' system. This already puts me at 3/2 and considering I'd like to be able to add another drive in the near future I don't think the Dell is going to cut it. Sure I could use the spare 5.25" bay but remember Dells don't use standard mounting conventions so I would have to do some modding to get it to work properly.

2. If the mobo ever goes I'd have to replace the case anyway

3. With a new system I would have more horsepower. It would be nice if one user was doing a major upload the box would still be able to maintain a torrent and several media serves. Will the Dell do that with upgraded memory (seriously asking)?
post #6 of 7
Well you're right, it's always better to leave yourself growing room. I've always done that, I use server cases for all mine. That way it doesn't matter what goes in 'em.
    
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Overdrive 486DX4 100Mhz Digital Venturis 466 S3 Trio 32 1MB 68MB 72 Pin SIMMs 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
1.2Gb & 270Mb 32X CD-ROM Windows 98 SE LG 23" Flatron 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Microsoft PS/2 Lite-On Digital Venturis 466 Logitech PS/2 
  hide details  
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Overdrive 486DX4 100Mhz Digital Venturis 466 S3 Trio 32 1MB 68MB 72 Pin SIMMs 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
1.2Gb & 270Mb 32X CD-ROM Windows 98 SE LG 23" Flatron 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Microsoft PS/2 Lite-On Digital Venturis 466 Logitech PS/2 
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post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by MNiceGuy View Post
I think based on your question I may have a misunderstanding about how much a good RAID card costs. I have admittedly only ever used Intel onboard RAID so could I get a decent, reliable, easy-to-use card for $50 or so?
No. The cheapest decent hardware RAID card available is the Dell PERC5/i from eBay. It runs around $100 or so, and supports RAID5 with up to 8 disks (without expanders - not sure on the actual max number). It requires a PCI-E x8 slot (physically, will work in a x4 or even x1 wired slot). For RAID6 support (can lose 2 disks & still preserve data, at the expense of 2 disk's capacity), the PERC6/i goes for $150-200. For retail hardware RAID cards the cheapest & arguably the best option would be the Highpoint RocketRAID 4320, for around $400.

I wouldn't use the RAID functions on any cheaper cards, but if you intend to use software RAID (great & free through most Linux distros, poor on Windows) then you can use cheap SATA adapters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MNiceGuy View Post
1. The case only has two 3.5" bays. I'd like to offload the high-availability 1TB drive (serves media only) from my power-gulping sig rig so that can then become a 'use when you need it' system. This already puts me at 3/2 and considering I'd like to be able to add another drive in the near future I don't think the Dell is going to cut it. Sure I could use the spare 5.25" bay but remember Dells don't use standard mounting conventions so I would have to do some modding to get it to work properly.
Most Dell mobos of that age are standard ATX (the newer ones are BTX). If yours is an ATX board you can grab a cheap case & move the guts over easily.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MNiceGuy View Post
2. If the mobo ever goes I'd have to replace the case anyway
As above - if it is standard. Dell's use much more standard kit now than they did with their earlier machines.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MNiceGuy View Post
3. With a new system I would have more horsepower. It would be nice if one user was doing a major upload the box would still be able to maintain a torrent and several media serves. Will the Dell do that with upgraded memory (seriously asking)?
Your disk subsystem is likely to be much more important here than the cpu - a faster processor won't make any difference if your disks can't keep up anyway. More memory will help with caching writes to the array, and having more disks will help its chances of being able to serve multiple clients (even in software RAID).

Your network also appears to be a bottleneck - your current transfer speed seems to indicate you are only moving data at 100mbps speeds. How is everything connected currently? Also what are you backing up from? If your data source can't go any faster your backup speed won't change regardless of what you do with the server.
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