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Thread: File Server. Build or buy?

  1. #1
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    Question File Server. Build or buy?

    I really need to stop using my general use computer as a file server. It makes upgrading hard to wrap my head around with 5 extra drives and partitions hard to wrap my brain around. So I am thinking of building or buying a power efficient file server.

    What it needs is to be a energy sipping machine that can handle six or more drives and serve NFS and be easily set up to be writable by anyone on the local network. It will need to run headless most of the time. I need to be able to set it up with a minimum of hand holding. So do I build or buy? Where do you start?
    Tumbleweed

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    Smile Re: File Server. Build or buy?

    I really need to stop using my general use computer as a file server. It makes upgrading hard to wrap my head around with 5 extra drives and partitions hard to wrap my brain around. So I am thinking of building or buying a power efficient file server.

    What it needs is to be a energy sipping machine that can handle six or more drives and serve NFS and be easily set up to be writable by anyone on the local network. It will need to run headless most of the time. I need to be able to set it up with a minimum of hand holding. So do I build or buy? Where do you start?
    So this is just my opinion, but I feel I would would go with a Sandy Bridge CPU with built-in video is the way to go:

    i7-2600 or 2600K (95 watts) with 4 cores and hyper-threading for 8 threads.
    i5-2500 or 2500K with 4 cores only and no hyper-threading
    i3-2105 with 2 cores and hyper-threading for 4 threads.
    The K has unlocked speed multiplier. S versions use only 65 watts but run at a slower clock speed.
    Hard Drives use between 6-10 watts each. So six hard drives at 8 watts would take 48 watts.

    So, I think the power supply size is important and a 380 watt model might be the least I would buy and consider they only use the actual wattage required plus its inefficiency. I think I might go for a i7-2600S, 380 watt power supply and look to ASUS for a small motherboard. You would not use any power for separate video which is good for a headless server.

    Thank You,
    My Blog: https://forums.opensuse.org/blogs/jdmcdaniel3/

    Software efficiency halves every 18 months, thus compensating for Moore's Law

    Its James again from Austin, Texas

  3. #3
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    Default Re: File Server. Build or buy?

    You don't need an overpowered CPU for file serving. There are low power boxes designed for file server use based on lower power chipsets such as the Atom or AMD lower power CPU. But you still get a backplane for several disks in RAID.

    For example, around here, HP resellers were selling these at the bargain price of about $170: https://h10057.www1.hp.com/ecomcat/h...612275-001.htm Power consumption around 35W idle. CPU is no slouch, about as fast as a Pentium D 3GHz from tests.

    You can also buy off the shelf solutions from manufacturers like Thecus. They run embedded Linux and can be controlled via a web interface. Also low power consumption.

    For DIY, there are specialised distros like openfiler and freenas.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: File Server. Build or buy?

    Yes an atom or the new AMD low power chips would be plenty of CPU for file serving. It's 99% multimedia files too. I just have a lot of them.

    I don't need raid just a USB connector to back up the drives occasionally. I do need NFS support. Why run SAMBA if you don't have any Windows computers on your network? NFS can be set up from YAST if you stay with openSUSE.
    Tumbleweed

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    Default Re: File Server. Build or buy?

    openSUSE is nice, but you really should look at what a specialised distro offers. Things like a web interface, alerts, monitoring, graphing, additional protocols like FTP, etc. etc.

    There are off the shelf boxes that support NFS. I'm using NFS with my Thecus.

  6. #6

    Default Re: File Server. Build or buy?

    Build your own you use your drives, your enclosures buy you get warranty, new drive, new enclosures.

    I ran a NAS server for about 8 months last year, I built from parts laying the house, using 384Mb PC133 memory, Amd 2000+ cpu, 200watt psu, 1 scsi hdd, 2 IDE HDDs. I used FreeNAS which is like a Swiss pen knife for file sharing, NFS, Samba, iSCSI, ext3, nfts, zfs, DHCP, DNS, NTP, scsi drive support, Web admin interface, CLI, ssh, ftp, raid and I think LVM. FreeNas is based on BSD but its really easy to setup and install.

    One of the 3 PC133 memory modules is bad so I got hardware crashes every so often but FreeNas is really easy to recover especially if its installed on a USB stick.
    Box 1: OpenSuse 11.1/Win7 | Linux 2.6.27 Gnome | AMD 64 X2 6000+ | nVidia 8600GT | 2GB RAM
    Box 2: OpenSuse 11.2 | Linux 2.6.31 Gnome | AMD 64 3000+ | ATI X800 Pro | 1GB RAM
    Box 3: Win7 Premium Home | Intel P4 3.0Gz | ATI AIW 2006 | 2GB RAM

  7. #7
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    Default Re: File Server. Build or buy?

    Quote Originally Posted by tararpharazon View Post
    Build your own you use your drives, your enclosures buy you get warranty, new drive, new enclosures.

    I ran a NAS server for about 8 months last year, I built from parts laying the house, using 384Mb PC133 memory, Amd 2000+ cpu, 200watt psu, 1 scsi hdd, 2 IDE HDDs. I used FreeNAS which is like a Swiss pen knife for file sharing, NFS, Samba, iSCSI, ext3, nfts, zfs, DHCP, DNS, NTP, scsi drive support, Web admin interface, CLI, ssh, ftp, raid and I think LVM. FreeNas is based on BSD but its really easy to setup and install.

    One of the 3 PC133 memory modules is bad so I got hardware crashes every so often but FreeNas is really easy to recover especially if its installed on a USB stick.
    Sounds really interesting. All my spare stuff lacks support for SATA.

    I think I need to be shopping a mobo and low power CPU combo with 6 SATA headders and support for DDR 2 (I have 4 gigs new in the box I miss ordered a while back)
    Tumbleweed

  8. #8

    Default Re: File Server. Build or buy?

    Yes, you can but don't they have SATA II PCI cards? Then you use any spares parts you have. My situation for the NAS was a basic file server, I wasn't using FreeNAS as an application server, MySQL, SVN, HTTP, etc. Which is another reason I moved the drives to the faster PC which is now both server and workstation.

    OTOH, DDR2 is a problem. Instead of shopping low cpu, DDR2 I'd just go high end cpu/mb/DDR3 and pass your current DDR2 system as your server. Doesn't make sense to me to spend money on DDR2 when the industry is pushing DDR3 and its 10% cheaper.

    Check out a hierarchy charts on Tomshardware.com for guidance on performance even though the chart is for gaming cpus.
    Box 1: OpenSuse 11.1/Win7 | Linux 2.6.27 Gnome | AMD 64 X2 6000+ | nVidia 8600GT | 2GB RAM
    Box 2: OpenSuse 11.2 | Linux 2.6.31 Gnome | AMD 64 3000+ | ATI X800 Pro | 1GB RAM
    Box 3: Win7 Premium Home | Intel P4 3.0Gz | ATI AIW 2006 | 2GB RAM

  9. #9
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    Default Re: File Server. Build or buy?

    Trying to get away from the server workstation I have now to strictly a workstation and a low power consumption file server.
    All my current machines are DDR3 I just misordered. some DD2 a while back and there are plenty of low power suitable motherboards that run DD2 on the market I could go the add in PCI SATA card route but the machine I have that would support it wouldn't save much power as it's a early Athlon. It looks like I'll have to build something.
    Tumbleweed

  10. #10

    Default Re: File Server. Build or buy?

    Well, you're right about the consumption.

    My AMD 2000+ needs at least 200w-254w, while Phenom II X3 705e requires 185w-235w but a Phenom II X4 905e requires 210w-260w.
    Newer DDR2 and DDR3 memory have a major impact on wattage.
    I used eXtreme Outer Vision - eXtreme tools for computer enthusiasts to calculate power consumption.

    Max operating temps on the Phenoms is 65˚ while the AMD 2000+ is 90˚.`1
    Box 1: OpenSuse 11.1/Win7 | Linux 2.6.27 Gnome | AMD 64 X2 6000+ | nVidia 8600GT | 2GB RAM
    Box 2: OpenSuse 11.2 | Linux 2.6.31 Gnome | AMD 64 3000+ | ATI X800 Pro | 1GB RAM
    Box 3: Win7 Premium Home | Intel P4 3.0Gz | ATI AIW 2006 | 2GB RAM

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