Wednesday, October 7, 2009
The latest server specs are:
HP DL360 G3
Dual Xeon 2.8 GHz processors
Dual 36GB Ultra 320 SCSI Drives
Dual Power Supplies
Dual 1 GB Ethernet
HP 5i on board RAID Controller
HP iLo management
2 GB of RAM
CD-ROM and Floppy Drive
On board Video and Legacy Ports
And how much for all of this technology? A hefty $99 USD on eBay. The last DL360 I pickup I was able to purchase for $51 USD!
What is truly funny is replacement rack rails end up cosing 40% of the total cost of the server!
Sunday, October 4, 2009
I did a search on DistroWatch under the category of old computers and it come up with about 20 recommendations. The usual suspects came up; Puppy, DSL, Slitaz, Tiny-Core. The rest fell into two broad categories, the first being Ubuntu based distros using lightweight window managers. The second group were based on Slackware. I have a soft spot in my heart for Slackware. Wolvix was the first distro I could get my wireless card at the time (three years ago) working properly. Because of this Wolvix paved the way towards full time Linux usage breaking my Windows fix. I haven't looked back.
Absolute, AUSTRUMI, SaxenOS and Vector were the Slackware based distros that caught my eye. A quick review narrowed my interest to Absolute or Vector. I decided to install Vector on a 700mhz test machine with 512meg of RAM because they had just released their 6.0 Lite Version.
After the install I was greeted with a very usable system even on the 700mhz test rig. I was able to configure OpenSSH and VNC without any major issues. At boot, running JWM as the window managers, I was using only 50meg of RAM and CPU utilization was in single digits. I am very impressed with Vector so far!
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
I have also started to looking for a distro that I can use on an administration server at my brother-in-laws practice. This a very old Penguin Computing server that has a 700MhZ processor with 512Mb of ram. I have been using Puppy Linux for a few months but I am looking for a lightweight distro that has a little better out of the box support for OpenSSH. I favor rolling release distros so it will be interesting if I can find something light enough to server my purpose. I could always and should install Arch Linux but I want to see if anything different is out there.
Friday, September 4, 2009
The big question now is do I go with S*M*S and deal with the steep learning curve of relearning Webmin or should I just use SME Server to save time knowing it will do most of what my brother-in-law wants.
Monday, August 31, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
Finding drive tray hardware and a suitable rack rails has been a minor nightmare. I ended up ordering the wrong rails only to find out the right rails are not listed on the Supermicro website! Supermicro tech support finally help get me straight with the proper part number.
The interesting part of the project was installing FreeNAS onto a 1 gig compact flash (CF) card which was pluged into a PCI card, a poor man's solid state dive (SSD). I found the CF card and PCI adapter card on Newegg for around $35 USD. The PCI card supports up to four CF cards. I guess you could create a small SSD raid 1+0 array if you ever wanted to.
The install went with out a hitch. I really like the CF solution since it allow you to dedicate the hard drives strictly to storage.
Friday, August 21, 2009
I burned images of ClarkConnect 5.0 and SME Server 7.4 and have been evaluating them. For some reason I cannot get comfortable with the ClarkConnect 5 web interface. I guess it really does not matter because the 10 free user account cap is a deal killer. Per the Clark Connect website:
"By default, the Community and Enterprise Editions include 10 accounts that have groupware/mailbox functionality. The Enterprise Edition is upgradeable to 250 users (in units of 5) by purchasing additional mailbox licenses from Point Clark Networks."
I have SME Server 7.4 loaded on an old Dell OptiPlex GX110 and it is running fine. The interface has a dated feel to it. It seems to have all the feature that my brother-in-law is immediately looking for and has additional features he can grow into.
e-box looks like it has been under heavy development since the last time I looked at it. I plan on downloading it soon. The interface looks great and it may give SME Server a run for its money.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
"The Slack Mini Server (SMS) Project team announced yesterday, August 10th, the release of Slack Mini Server 1.4.5, which celebrates 2 full years of activity. The new release is based on Slackware Linux 13.0 RC2 and it brings Asterisk PBX, Samba 3.4.0, PHP 5.3.0 and many updated packages (see below for details)."
"It's been 2 years already, and this project I believe matures quite fast. In those two years SMS make a lot of good friends. I want to thank all of you, who are contributing – visibly or not – in any way you can to this project, and for all your kind words. A big THANK YOU to all of you." was stated in the official release announcement.
Highlights of Slack Mini Server 1.4.5:
- Linux kernels 184.108.40.206
- Dovecot 1.2.3
- Dovecot-sieve 0.1.11
- Apache 2.2.12
- Apr 1.3.8
- Apr-util 1.3.9
- Fetchmail 6.3.11
- MySQL 5.0.84
- LibX11 1.2.2
- Pixman 0.15.18
- Samba 3.3.7
- Bind 9.4.3_P3
- Phpldapadmin 1.2.0
- Cxxlibs 6.0.10
- e2fsprogs 1.41.8
- Nmap 5.00
- getmail 4.9.2
- iwlifi-4965 228.61.2
- Gnupg2 2.0.12
- dirmngr 1.0.3
- libksba 1.0.6
- DHCP 3.1.2p1
- libXt 1.0.6
- Subversion 1.6.4
- GIT 1.6.4
- Testdisk 6.11.3
- Linux kernel headers 220.127.116.11
- Linux kernel source 18.104.22.168
- hal-info 20090716
Light and fast - I cannot wait to play with it as a virtual machine.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Acer states: "Put your photos, music, video and important documents all in one place. The Aspire easyStore H340 Home Server holds up to 500,000 digital photos, 300,000 MP3 files and 4,285 hours of movies (based on 3MB per photo, 5MB per MP3 file and 350MB per hour playing time)."
"Protect you vital documents and precious family photos from PC or hard drive failure. The easyStore automatically saves a copy of important files from every computer connected to it."
Digging deeper into the specifications revealed this unit has a personality crisis, It is running Windows Home Server but as its name implies it is being sold as a simple NAS with a 1TB hard drive and backup capabilities vs. a full blown home server.
A review of the specifications also revealed its running on a Atom 230 single core processor, will only support Microsoft clients and can only accept a maximum of four 1TB drives. 4TB should be more than enough for home users but why put a limitation on drive size when 2TB drives are shipping?
The The new HP MediaSmart Server also has some of the same problems as the Acer easyStore. The LX195 has a $399 suggested retail price, runs Windows Home Server, and uses the Atom 230 processor, 1GB of RAM, 640GB 7,200-RPM hard drive, one Gigabit Ethernet port, and four USB ports. You can substitute the 640GB hard drive for a higher-capacity option, but the only way to add more storage is by adding USB external drives. No Serial ATA RAID in other words.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
All my research on RAID was interesting but in reality a RAID 1 array is all I will probably need for a home server. RAID 5 and 1+0 would be an interesting mental exercise but is overkill for home purposes. This is additionally true since 1TB drives can be purchased for under $80 and 2TB drives for $200 USD now. The side benefit of only using two drives is a smaller case can used and electrical consumption will be reduced.
I still plan on using software RAID in my home server due to the cost factor.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
The Intel Atom processor has really created numerous low power, small form factor server possibilities. Building a small home server using the dual processor Atom 330 makes a relatively high performance sub $300 home server a reality.
My brother-in-law asked me to put a phone system together for his small physical therapy practice. I once again evaluated the numerous asterisked based pbx solutions to see if any changes had occured and I still ended up selecting PBX In A Flash (PIAF) primarily due to its focus on security. It is also nice knowing I can post a message on the forums and get a very quick answer to my questions and in some cases directly from the creator himself! More on storage and email servers later....