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Thread: Reuqesting some input

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2002

    Reuqesting some input

    It's been a long time since I've logged onto AO but I was just ridiculously busy with my last year of school. I am now an honours computer science graduate! I am working at a company called Caris writing some C++ code for their ocean mapping software. It's pretty good. To the point:
    Now that I have some free time I want to start some work on a home network. I left a post on my blog but I doubt I'll get any feedback (my friends are essentially computer-illiterate). I figure this is a much better forum to solicit some feedback. A few background things:
    I currently have a Linksys home router hooked up to a cable modem.
    I just have two PCs running (main Windows 2k box and a older PII with FC3 on it (the server)) but I'd like to add more in the future, as well as those of any roomates.
    Besides a new hard disk or two, I don't want to buy any more hardware.

    I'll just paste the post verbatim:

    As many of you know I play around with Linux a bit because itís a good thing to have under your belt. I have been running an old PII as a server for about 6 months. It runs Fedora Core 3 but isnít doing much. Really I just try to set something up on it and when it works I never use it again.

    I think it would be a good idea to start to use it to store all my data (a file server essentially). I just donít know exactly what I should do.
    For hardware, I have enough processor speed and memory but I need more disk (currently at 6 gig). I want a 200 gig drive for ample storage but should I get two for a RAID-1 system?
    For an OS, I know Fedora but should I instead opt for the stability of OpenBSD?
    I think the best choice for the file server is an NFS system since I can use the MS services for unix to map the NFS share on my main workstation.
    Since I code, Iíll also use CVS to manage my stored code.
    Since I use iTunes, Iíll add the daap daemon to share my stored music as iTunes music.
    Iíd like to have all my email consolidate on this machine as well and access it using IMAP. I could then set up a webmail system to access my mail remotely too.
    Obviously SSH (and maybe VNC) are necessary to manage the machine remotely. This means I can use SCP for file transfers. Bye bye FTP.
    I will probably be able to find a use for Apache too.
    Will I need any sort of DNS on my internal network?
    What about backups of critical data? I have a DVD burner on my Windows machine. I could care less about losing music but personal documents are important. With RAID do I even need a regular backup scheme or is that overkill?
    I can use dynamic DNS to have a link to this machine from the real world too.
    Proper firewall and router setup is important as well.
    What else?

    I know most of my friends would have no idea about anything I just said but hopefully a few of you can provide some insight into what Iím setting up and some of the pros and cons of each. Thanks.
    I have set most of this stuff up before so I won't have any problems with actually doing it, I just need to know what I should be setting up. Even a description of what some others have done would be helpful. Thanks a lot!
    \"When you say best friends, it means friends forever\" Brand New
    \"Best friends means I pulled the trigger
    Best friends means you get what you deserve\" Taking Back Sunday
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  2. #2
    Senior Member nihil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    United Kingdom: Bridlington

    I won't insult you by advising on your network. Just a bit of hardware consideration.

    That PII box is pretty old, so you can expect HDD failure remember it is never a question of "if" just "when" I would look at replacing the HDDs.

    I personally go for RAID1 whenever possible, or RAID5 in a pure commercial environment. I don't like RAID0, too much grief in a recovery situation

    Please consider getting a DVD R/W/RW drive for your backups, and ghost everything.

    I am sorry if I sound paranoid and pessimistic, but I tend to have a fairly low tech customer base, so I have to do the worrying for them.

    If you are putting multiple drives in a box, please look at an exhaust fan (fits into a PCI space) and the fan cooled mountings for the HDDs. Heat is a real killer of HDDs.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    I won't insult you by advising on your network.
    I wouldn't take any advice as an insult. I am doing this for two reasons:
    1. Have a safe place to store important files
    2. To learn to build a complete, secure system.

    If you think there is a better way to do it, I'd definintely take that under consideration.

    As for the data storage, I am definitely getting new drives to store the data on. If I even do use the old 6gig it would only be for the OS (which could be reloaded from a ghost).

    I will look at backing the data up using a DVD drive. Perhaps some sort of network backup where I can just fire the data to the DVD writer on my main system?

    It's true about being paranoid. I looked at the PCs at my university residence (both the lab and students home machines) and I saw probably a dozen cases in two years where students lost EVERYTHING, including the essay due tomorrow, to hardware failures.

    Again thanks for your input, but let em know if you have any thoughts about the network setup itself.
    \"When you say best friends, it means friends forever\" Brand New
    \"Best friends means I pulled the trigger
    Best friends means you get what you deserve\" Taking Back Sunday
    Visit alastairgrant.ca

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