Home Server, not media server more like a little work horse!

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What should my home server be made of, a Hack-able Router, Custom router, bespoke pico-itx system?

Hack-able Router
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Custom router
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bespoke pico-itx system
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Home Server, not media server more like a little work horse!

Postby mande01 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 5:37 pm

Ok so i want to set up a home server as per all the articles that are out there for this sort of thing.

it will be my, gateway, dns server, firewall, file server (maybe, might put that with the media server), switch, user access, rsync server, bandwidth shaping/monitoring/throttling, etc, etc... all the proper networking stuff!
If someone would like to complete this list for me that would be great! (See note below on me not having a clue!)

So there is only two in the house with a little one just after arriving, (keep and eye out for the photo of her in a tux dungaree)!

Basically very little usage, I want to go the new hardware route but very low power. So yes i could use an old pc but ticking over at 200 W is not an option. more like closer to 2W is what I want.

What sort of thing should i get do people have experience building stuff like this here?

I was thinking either a hackable router (something that would run http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wi ... e_projects) or a specific router ( http://wirelessconnect.eu/catalog/route ... ss_routers), or building a pico-itx system from scratch ( http://linitx.com/product/11693)

Note:
Oh and I don't really have a clue what I'm doing but love a challenge that will be more talked about that done correctly!

Thanks for reading,
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Postby bobthebob1234 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 5:56 pm

I got me a linksys wrt54gl with openwrt flashed onto it. Currently it is a wireless bridge but I did have it as a gateway doing dhcp. dns, etc.
See http://wiki.openwrt.org/doc/howto/server.overview to see what other cool stuff it can do. There are others, such as ddwrt but that didn't do the stuff I needed (namly 801.X authentication but you won't need to worry about that) so that is another option.
If you want to use it as a file server you will need to get a router with usb on it so you can plug in an external hard drive or something.

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There are also plug server thingys that you can get that do similar stuff, can't remember off the top of my head any specific manufactures but they have been in the mag and on this forum recently, but I haven't any personal experience with them

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or you can get an micro motherboard like you say and build your own. http://www.mini-itx.com/store/ are people I have used before, namely the 1u rack bundle if you want something that looks like a 'real' server and you can treat it as a real computer and put what ever you want on it (Ubuntu server, centOS, etc etc etc). No idea on power usage but is very small.


So hopefully that hasn't helped at all and given you even more choice :D
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Postby nelz » Mon Nov 14, 2011 8:50 pm

Your file server etc. should be behind your firewall, not on the same machine. I'd look at a hackable router, like a WRT54G for the router/firewall/DNS server and a plug computer, like a Pogoplug, for the rest. The power consumption of those two devices will still be less than one Mini-ITX device.
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Postby Dutch_Master » Mon Nov 14, 2011 9:12 pm

Remember that any PC-like machine needs cooling and small devices have small fans that need to displace a lot of air so they'd have to have a high RPM. You'd hear that (unless you're deaf, but others still can :P)...
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Postby nelz » Tue Nov 15, 2011 1:01 am

Low power devices are often passively cooled.
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Postby wyliecoyoteuk » Tue Nov 15, 2011 9:07 am

The trouble is that the more you get it to do, the more power it needs.
Traffic shaping AV and AS all require processing power for example.
We run our firewall on a dual Atom miniitx, with 3 NICS, anti-virus, mail relay firewall, etc. It coped with around 20 users until we put Anti-spam and DansGuardian on it.
Of course something like that would work fine for only 2 users.

Many Atom mini-ITX setups come in around 35W.
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Postby mande01 » Wed Nov 16, 2011 3:46 pm

No one has used my poll!!!
i'm really upset about that!

@bobthebob1234, yes you basically added a whole bunch of stuff for me to consider.

everyone else, I did say a pico board not a mini itx board. Typically a pico would only draw 25W Max, so i would be aiming at around 10 W normal, maybe.

What i would love is a webpage that i log on to that allows me access everything in the home.
But,say when i click on my files, that does WOL to my file server, same for media server, security server, etc... that way i have little purpose built boxes for specific task that spend most of the time off. It a pipe dream of having IT services and solution in the home set up like appliances that get turned on and off as needed.

This little box is my first attempt at that, by having it as a "gateway" to the home and everything inside there.

@wyliecoyoteuk, when you say AS do you mean anti spam?
Also my hope is that everything is on it's own device as i said above. so the first box is just a traffic warden directing me to what ever machine i need at that point on time.


The really cool thing about all this is that if you get a standard ATX box, you can fit about a dozen pico boards inside. All connected via GB managed switch everything with passive cooling except the box it's self.

So you have a:
    One pico board which holds the website that controls everything
    media servers; one for music one for video
    file server; just connect HDD via PCI USB3 on the one pico board,
    mail server; but I probably won't maybe just use it as a local back up for web mail,
    torrent server;
    home automation server; arduinos all over the place but if an event occurs they can WOL this board and log/email/sms/phone someone, or this board can be WOL from the central one to get things to happen in the home,
    security server; i.e. zonealarm to IP cameras, and something like arduinos at remote locations that can WOL this box if needed,
    back up server; basically an host for rsync
    "Family Applications" Server; calendar, to-do list, shopping, forum,
    etc...
    etc...



I really do like this idea, it could be a product that is bought in pieces, add in more and the home website just updates based on what is added, like modules in Webmin.

The really beauty is that only the open source community could do all this cheaply (relatively to a commercial version)!


Am I nuts, maybe I should do a poll for that?!?

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Postby wyliecoyoteuk » Wed Nov 16, 2011 4:57 pm

Zoneminder for IP cams can require quite a lot of processor grunt, as the images have to be decoded and analysed for motion detection.
EDIT: and WOL would be useless for ZM, by the time it had started up, the image would be gone.
AS does mean anti-spam, yes, and it requires quite a lot of processor power too.
PicoITX is expensive and quite limiting, as AFAIK only VIA processors are supported..

Nice idea, but it would probably make more sense (and be easier to cool) if you just stacked a couple of dual core Atom MiniITX boards in there.
Careful planning would mean that they would not need a fan either (my mITX mobo has no fan, the GPU generates more heat than the CPU)

Arduinos would probably be overkill for simple automation.
Last edited by wyliecoyoteuk on Wed Nov 16, 2011 7:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby bobthebob1234 » Wed Nov 16, 2011 6:32 pm

wyliecoyoteuk wrote:Arduinos would probably be overkill for simple automation.


But you could get (wireless)network shields as well and stick then all over the place. overkill maybe but cool, yes
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Postby wyliecoyoteuk » Wed Nov 16, 2011 7:34 pm

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