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Server Noob - What do I need to have a simple home server?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
As above.

Do I need any special OS or software to setup my own home server?

What I currently have:

1 WLAN router.
1 9-year old PC, connected to the Internet via WiFi.

This PC runs on Windows XP Professional SP3.

It has a Socket 423 Pentium 4, 256MB of RDRAM (adding more), two 80GB IDE HDD's, and a 9200LE GPU.


All I want this server to do is host stuff like videos, and then I want to be able to access the content on that server from somewhere else, say, in public.

Is this what 'server' is or am I looking at making a NAS-like PC now?
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post #2 of 11
Windows server 2003-stream videos,share files, ete. Basic home server stuff.

Thats about it for a basic home server, just build it, tuck it away, hook up interwebz, and change some settings (passwords, users, ete.)

I used a pentium 3 rig to stream stuff to my 360 over the summer. Still kick'n, you dont need a 2K dollar server for that stuff.
    
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post #3 of 11
You can use it as it is if you want to.
Just set up some shared folders on the drives and you have a file server.

I'd recommend wiring it into a switch, though.
Transfers over Wi-Fi are a bit abysmal..

For public you'd just need an SSH daemon which supports SFTP.
Port forward port 22 on your router to your server and you can access your files through WinSCP to your external IP.
Personally I'd put Linux on that box and call it a day.
Edited by beers - 12/25/10 at 4:16am
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post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the quick reply.

Okay, so I'll have to get my hands on that OS..

Is there anything else I'll need?

I hear of things like NICs and Ethernet connections, which the Dell doesn't have. It's currently connected to the Internet via a simple USB WiFi stick.


Quote:
Originally Posted by beers View Post
You can use it as it is if you want to.
Just set up some shared folders on the drives and you have a file server.

I'd recommend wiring it into a switch, though.
Transfers over Wi-Fi are a bit abysmal..

For public you'd just need an SSH server which supports SFTP.
Personally I'd put Linux on that box and call it a day.
I may be looking at simple video streaming, so I guess I'll need the NIC and Ethernet cable as well?
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post #5 of 11
I'd reccomend windows home server, as it saves installing loads of server based packets for streaming etc which would be required for windows server. I personally went for the windows server approach and regret it, as im constantly wasting time jumping through hoops to make it do what I want, whereas home server will be much easier

It allows for streaming, remote pc backups and torrent downloads.
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post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skaterboydale View Post
I'd reccomend windows home server, as it saves installing loads of server based packets for streaming etc which would be required for windows server. I personally went for the windows server approach and regret it, as im constantly wasting time jumping through hoops to make it do what I want, whereas home server will be much easier

It allows for streaming, remote pc backups and torrent downloads.
I see, thanks very much for the input.
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post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Volvo View Post
Thanks for the quick reply.

Okay, so I'll have to get my hands on that OS..

Is there anything else I'll need?

I hear of things like NICs and Ethernet connections, which the Dell doesn't have. It's currently connected to the Internet via a simple USB WiFi stick.




I may be looking at simple video streaming, so I guess I'll need the NIC and Ethernet cable as well?
Judging by the age of the machine, I'm not surprised it doesn't have built in Ethernet. Hit up eBay and get a $5 PCI Ethernet card - try get an Intel one; Intel cards are very good, and the drivers should be built into SP3 already. Hook it up to your router and you're set.

If you're thinking of expanding the storage on the server, then pick up a PCI 4-port SATA controller on eBay too - another $5 or so. You can then add modern hard disks to it.

XP SP3 is good enough for sharing stuff around your network via Windows shares, if you simply wish to copy files to the server. For streaming, DAAP servers and DLNA servers should be available for XP. For remote access, an SSH server supporting SFTP, or an FTP server supporting SSL, is recommended.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Volvo View Post
Is this what 'server' is or am I looking at making a NAS-like PC now?
A "server", in terms of hardware, is essentially a computer which has been configured to perform a certain role - in this case providing centralised services to multiple computers asking for that service, whether that service is compute power, storage or information processing. In your case, the "server" is being a central storage pool for multiple clients.

With servers, the core aspect is centralisation. Built upon that are other aspects, such as reliability when running 24x7 (i.e. better quality components), and maintaining that 24x7 uptime - in other words, recognising that those components will fail and taking steps to minimise the impact of that failure - redundant PSUs in the server chassis, uninterruptible power supplies, RAID, ECC memory, tape backup and so on and so forth.
Edited by parityboy - 12/25/10 at 7:40am
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post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by parityboy View Post
Judging by the age of the machine, I'm not surprised it doesn't have built in Ethernet. Hit up eBay and get a $5 PCI Ethernet card - try get an Intel one; Intel cards are very good, and the drivers should be built into SP3 already. Hook it up to your router and you're set.

If you're thinking of expanding the storage on the server, then pick up a PCI 4-port SATA controller on eBay too - another $5 or so. You can then add modern hard disks to it.

XP SP3 is good enough for sharing stuff around your network via Windows shares, if you simply wish to copy files to the server. For streaming, DAAP servers and DLNA servers should be available for XP. For remote access, an SSH server supporting SFTP, or an FTP server supporting SSL, is recommended.



A "server", in terms of hardware, is essentially a computer which has been configured to perform a certain role - in this case providing centralised services to multiple computers asking for that service, whether that service is compute power, storage or information processing. In your case, the "server" is being a central storage pool for multiple clients.

With servers, the core aspect is centralisation. Built upon that are other aspects, such as reliability when running 24x7 (i.e. better quality components), and maintaining that 24x7 uptime - in other words, recognising that those components will fail and taking steps to minimise the impact of that failure - redundant PSUs in the server chassis, uninterruptible power supplies, RAID, ECC memory, tape backup and so on and so forth.
Okay, I'll look into setting it up that way.

Failure wise, I can see it happening, given the age of the machine. But I've taken these steps to minimise said failure.

Firstly, the HDD has been given a thorough scan-down and is fit for use. Despite its age, its running time is barely 3,000 hours. This one was used in many short start-stop rounds.

Secondly, the motherboard has been re-capped. There were no blown caps prior to that, but given the capacitor age, it would probably be safe to do so.

Thirdly, the PSU will be replaced with a more modern, 250W FSP unit to ensure the unit stays running, and nothing gets damaged. With a PSU that's 9 years old, I can't really take risks here.
Besides, I already have three IDE drives in there. May want to swap them out for three SATA drives like you suggested, with the use of a SATA PCI card.
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post #9 of 11
One last thing. Give the machine a thorough clean. Dust is a real killer of electronics, and servers don't tend to get a lot of attention (which is in fact the whole point). If you can fit gauze filters and decent fans, do so. Replace the TIM too, if possible.
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post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
With this Dell, filters are tricky.

The exhaust fan is the CPU fan, so it's relying on a highly negative pressure system.
Dust wise.. This system is sparkling clean.

Well, not really, but it isn't covered in dust.
There's a fine layer on the bottom, but that happens with every rig as well.
Thanks anyway
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Thermaltake Water 3.0 Performer-C AKASA Ball Bearing Windows 7 Home Premium x64 Dell Ultrasharp U2311H 
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Armaggeddon Strike Eagle MKI-3 (Kailh Red) Dell (Foxconn) F320EM-00 320W 80PLUS Gold CoolerMaster Elite 341 CM Storm SPAWN 
Audio
Dell USB Powered 2.0 
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T8
(17 items)
 
T6
(17 items)
 
T5
(17 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core™ i5 2400 @ 3.0 ASROCK Z68 Pro 3 M AMD Radeon HD 6950 Shader Unlocked, @ 900/1400 2x KVR1333D3N9/4G 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
2x KVR1333D3N9/2G Plextor M5S 128GB Western Digital Caviar GreenPower WD5000AACS Western Digital Caviar WD2500JS 
Optical DriveCoolingOSMonitor
LiteON iHAS324 DVD-RW DL Thermaltake Water 2.0 Pro w/ AVC DS12025B12U Windows 7 Home Premium x64 Dell Ultrasharp U2211H 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Rapoo V500 (Kailh Yellow) FSP Aurum AU-400 400W 80PLUS Gold CoolerMaster Silencio 352 CoolerMaster Storm SPAWN 
Audio
Fenda F&D H200 2.0 USB Powered 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i3 2100 @ 3.0 ASROCK Z68 Pro 3 M AMD Radeon HD 5770 1GD5 (Reference) 2x KVR1333D3N9/4G 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
2x KVR1333D3N9/2G Transcend SSD370 128GB WD Scorpio Blue WD7500BPVT Samsung SH-223C 
CoolingCoolingOSMonitor
Thermaltake Water 3.0 Performer-C AKASA Ball Bearing Windows 7 Home Premium x64 Dell Ultrasharp U2311H 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Armaggeddon Strike Eagle MKI-3 (Kailh Red) Dell (Foxconn) F320EM-00 320W 80PLUS Gold CoolerMaster Elite 341 CM Storm SPAWN 
Audio
Dell USB Powered 2.0 
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