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Build me a file server!

7.62

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#1
Hi all,

I have been asked by a not so computer literate friend to build him a file server so he can log on and get autocad drawings from interstate.

I know that I will need a SSD, and a good processor, but mind you he will not be playing games.

Im thinking

AMD dual core
4 Gig dual channel
1TB HDD and a 64Gig SSD for OS

Can you recommend a MOBO?

Please advice.

TIA
 

W1zzard

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#2
2 gb should be enough

get 2x 1.5 tb hdds and run (software) raid 1
no need for ssd imo
 

DanTheBanjoman

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#3
Why would you need an SSD for a file server? Same actually goes for a fast processor and 4GB of RAM. An Atom with 512MB RAM can already fill your Gbit line. (just look at prebuilt NAS devices) So I would recommend some Celeron/Sempron to allow it to run all kinds of fancy services. Find the cheapest memory you can find, 2GB is sufficient. Only get 4 if you really plan on giving it something to do.
 

7.62

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#4
I dont know anything about RAID
I dont know how to set it up, and dont know how to fix it.

OK, dropping from 4g to 2g. So you dont think I need a dual core CPU?
 
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#5
why does it need a SSD? if its just a file server and your transfering interstate (over the web) your going to be limited by your network connection long before the HDD.


i would go the cheapest dual core (you could even use an ATOM for a file server)
cheapest 2gb of ram. (even less if you go ATOM, 512 would be enough)
either an asus or gigabyte motherboard (again cheap with enough sata ports so you can add more drives in future, say 6)
1 1TB hard drive to start with,
and a decent brand 350 watt PSU. (corsair, seasonic, antec ect) no noname brands.
 

DanTheBanjoman

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#6
If you do not know anything about file servers I would not recommend building one for someone else. When shit hits the fan your friend will be coming to you.
 
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#7
Would Windows Home Server work for his needs? That's a pretty straight forward build & software package.
 

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#8
I dont know anything about RAID
I dont know how to set it up, and dont know how to fix it.

OK, dropping from 4g to 2g. So you dont think I need a dual core CPU?
It's actually pretty simple. You buy several hard drives of the same model and size, enable RAID in BIOS, press Ctrl+I or whatever to get into the RAID management utility right after POST, and then in there you create your RAID array. I suggest RAID5. RAID is actually pretty easy stuff, all you need to understand is how it works: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAID read the first couple of sections and you'll be good to go.

You can't make a serious file server without RAID, so learn.
 

DanTheBanjoman

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#9
RAID is actually pretty easy stuff, all you need to understand is how it works:
Indeed, the same goes for timetravel actually. It is pretty easy stuff, all you need to understand is how it works.

RAID 5 is good for larger storage systems. If that single TB of storage is sufficient RAID 1 would be smarter, better redundancy. And when using RAID 1 you are better off letting the OS handle it as you can then just move the array to another PC in case of motherboard failure.
 

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#10
Go with RAID1 if you want but you aren't going to get the spiffy speed benefits of the striping in RAID5. You can shift over to a couple of 1TB drives, but this RAID5 will do the same job (appear as 1TB) cheaper (3x56 vs 2x90), and with striping, so tell me again why RAID1?

Anyway, I built it:

 

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#11
Your right about the internet connection. That is going to be the bottleneck here (In Australia)
I was going to put a copy of XP onto this machine, would that be enough? or Windows 7?
How does this sound for hardware.

AMD Athlon II X2 240
Gigabyte GA-MA74GMT-S2 mATX Motherboard
Corsair VS2GB1333D3 2GB (1x2GB) DDR
2X Samsung EcoGreen F2 500GB HD502HI
Thermaltake V3 Black Edition with 450W

$450 AUD
 

DanTheBanjoman

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#12
Like I said, fault tolerance. RAID 1 actually does get a boost in read performance, RAID 5 gets a hit in write performance and CPU load. Either way it won't matter as the user will be using an internet connection to access the machine.
 

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#13
Your right about the internet connection. That is going to be the bottleneck here (In Australia)
I was going to put a copy of XP onto this machine, would that be enough? or Windows 7?
How does this sound for hardware.

AMD Athlon II X2 240
Gigabyte GA-MA74GMT-S2 mATX Motherboard
Corsair VS2GB1333D3 2GB (1x2GB) DDR
2X Samsung EcoGreen F2 500GB HD502HI
Thermaltake V3 Black Edition with 450W

$450 AUD
Green drives are likely to fail under RAID setup, if you were thinking of going RAID1 with em. If you're just spreading data between the two then it will be fine. But if you're not going for RAID then just make sure you have some sort of backup solution implemented. That's about it, the specs you listed look good on paper.

Like I said, fault tolerance. RAID 1 actually does get a boost in read performance, RAID 5 gets a hit in write performance and CPU load. Either way it won't matter as the user will be using an internet connection to access the machine.
Fair enough, but I don't see how RAID1 is more fault tolerant. Both RAID1 and RAID5 can function with a missing drive, both will need to be rebuilt if a drive goes bad. RAID1 appears to be more expensive per GB and not deliver the striping performance of RAID5... that is all my argument is.
 

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#14
Seriously I know nothing about RAID.

I was going to take all his data from the dying computer and put it on the new one.
I as going to format his laptop (dying computer) and put windows 7 on it.

Then set up the new computer so that he can access his old data via the internet while he is over seas. A mate of his also needs to accesss this data.
 

DirectorC

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#15
Seriously I know nothing about RAID.
Yeah but if you read like 2 paragraphs about it you will get the basic way it works and how to take care of making an array and fixing one if it goes bad.

All I ask is that you have some sort of backup solution implemented. Whether you set a timed backup from one drive to another, or whatever. You may not be used to hard drive failures, but they happen, especially in high data traffic environments. So be nice to your buddies and make sure that their data isn't in just one storage device at any time.
 

DanTheBanjoman

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#16
Fair enough, but I don't see how RAID1 is more fault tolerant. Both RAID1 and RAID5 can function with a missing drive, both will need to be rebuilt if a drive goes bad. RAID1 appears to be more expensive per GB and not deliver the striping performance of RAID5... that is all my argument is.
RAID 1 is not slower than RAID 5, the only reason why RAID 5 _can_ give higher speeds is due to the higher number of disks. Though with every disk added the reliability goes down. Apart from RAID 1 being more expensive per GB your arguments are incorrect.
 

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#17
Hmmm.

I have read that RAID Wiki, but im not sure how to set it up, or how to maintain it.

I like the idea of writing data to 2 physical drives. Whats the one called? and is that easy to set up?
 

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#18
RAID 1 is not slower than RAID 5, the only reason why RAID 5 _can_ give higher speeds is due to the higher number of disks. Though with every disk added the reliability goes down. Apart from RAID 1 being more expensive per GB your arguments are incorrect.
Wait but RAID5 has striping, meaning it functions by reading all the data off the drives at once, just like RAID0. RAID1 is just one drive, it has no speed boost. I have seen the HDTune bench for a 3-drive RAID5, it was running like a 2-drive RAID0, twice as fast as a single drive, and RAID1 runs at the speed of just one drive correct? We literally had a discussion about like 2 days ago and I saw the proof myself of a 3-drive RAID5 using striping to achieve 2-drive RAID0 speed. Correct me if I am wrong that RAID1 only works like one drive and offers no speed boost.
 

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#19
If you do not know anything about file servers I would not recommend building one for someone else. When shit hits the fan your friend will be coming to you.
This. So much this.
 

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#20
Cant I just build a desktop computer and put all his stuff on there?
That might sound silly to you lot, but thats pretty much what I was planning
 

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#21
OK Dan, I used my own Wiki link: RAID1: "Increased read performance occurs when using a multi-threaded operating system that supports split seeks, as well as a very small performance reduction when writing"

But does that really mean that you can get RAID0 read speeds from a RAID1?
 

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#22
Cant I just build a desktop computer and put all his stuff on there?
That might sound silly to you lot, but thats pretty much what I was planning
No that's pretty much what I figured. But when you say file server you put special emphasis on the files stored in it and that's where we begin buggin you about FAULT TOLERANCE. This is the KEY concern of mass file storage, and RAID1/RAID5 are actually seen as easier to deal with than backups.
 

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#23
Ok so which one writes data to 2 different disks in real time?
What ever it is, is it easy to setup?
 

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#24
Ok so which one writes data to 2 different disks in real time?
What ever it is, is it easy to setup?
1. Both RAID0 and RAID1 do that. RAID0 just splits the data between drives and has no fault tolerance. RAID1 mirrors one drive onto the other.

2. It's very easy. Like I said, in BIOS you enable RAID, and assign the SATA ports that the drives are plugged into as RAID drives. After POST, you will see a prompt to let you enter a RAID configuration utility, with a key combo. In there, you simply select the drives and the type of array (you'll be selecting Mirroring). That's it. Windows will see it as one drive and you will not have to mess with it again unless one of the drives fails. If one drive fails you can still run the file server, and when you want to rebuild just plug in a new one and once again, it's pretty much point and click.

---

Here is a link to a chart that sort of confirms my assumption about the relative speed differences between RAID1, RAID0, and RAID5: http://www.pcguide.com/ref/hdd/perf/raid/levels/comp-c.html

Clearly only RAID0 and RAID5 offer speed increases while RAID1 appears to perform only slightly faster than a single drive.

But you don't NEED the speed boost for your server so RAID1 is fine for you.
 

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#25
Thanks DirectorC

The speed is not really that important as the internet connection will be the major slow down, and we have pretty poor internet here in Australia. To make matters worse, he will be using wireless broadband too.

I will give the RAID1 a go, that sounds like its what im after.