Subject: Re: small home file/backup server
To: , <>
From: Richard Grace <>
List: netbsd-users
Date: 08/22/2002 10:53:40
>>> Steve Bellovin <> 22/08/2002 05:42:57 >>>

> I'm going to be building a small (i.e., cheap) home file server.
> The primary use is for backup copies of a few Windows file systems,
> via a switched 100BaseT network.

Groovy - you never know when the FAT or NTFS filesystems are
going to get to "that point" at which your files become unusable.

> I have a 60G, 7200 rpm, ATA/133 drive lying  around; I'm
> contemplating buying another and setting up a RAID=20
> environment.  But I've never built such a system before.
> So -- should I use two drives, each on one of the two IDE channels on=20
> the motherboard?

I've used RAIDframe with great success.  You can monitor it with
custom scripts, cron jobs, or something flashy like NetSaint (now
called Nagios).  I have two identical drives set up as a mirror,
one on each onboard controller.

If you want to spend a little more, you can get ATA RAID cards too.
I know people who've used Promise cards an love them.  I have
found RAIDframe good enough for all my everyday stuff, and
that's on a P233 MMX with ATA33 controllers.

My system is a _really_ cheap solution.

> The CD drive would be very lightly used, except for=20
> NetBSD installations and upgrades.  Buy an outboard IDE controller?

I don't use one - I have a DVD drive in my workstation (NetBSD 1.6RC1)
and mount that on other machines if needed.  Once an OS is installed,
you probably have no need for an onboard CDROM drive.

> (SCSI, apart from being unneeded, is well beyond my budget for this=20
> project.)  Would I be better off with a small system disk, plus two=20
> RAID drives for data?

I decided to mirror everything (including swap).  In case of one disk
failing, everything should be OK for some time - until I get another
disk.  If you have a separate system disk, and it dies, your data is
still OK but you can't get access to it until you rebuild the system.

> Which RAID should I use?  Is RAID1 sufficient, or should I use 4 or 5? =
> (The goal is reliability, not speed.)

You get more storage on a RAID 5 set, but at the expense of CPU
load (for software RAID).  Disk space is pretty cheap these days,
and if you want RAID 5 capacity, you will most certainly need a
multi channel ATA controller so that you can have one disk per
channel.  The cost of good controllers may outweigh the cost of
large disks for a RAID 1 config using software RAID.

Both of these are definitely cheaper than using tape backup.

> How much CPU do I need?  Would a 233 Mhz Pentium or a 350 Mhz P II=20
> suffice?  (I'll almost certainly use one of the Intel NIC cards.)  =
> any suggestions on motherboards?

My P233 MMX with 64MB RAM kicks along nicely - I don't use really
large files, such as movies, or print-resolution graphics, so you may
consider using more RAM to get better performance.  Mine's great
for streaming my CD collection across the network at home ;-)

The Intel network cards are good.  And well priced too.

My motherboard is an AOpen.  I've also used ASUS and Gigabyte with
good performance.  Stay away from VIA chipsets if you want good
throughput from both disk controllers.  I'm in Australia, so perhaps
our brand-names are different.

Good luck!