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Old 10th August 2012, 08:36 AM
roger Offline
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winter project: home server

Hi,

First:
@home, i use a HP xw6600 as server. This one uses more power than i like...but it has the power to virtualize, and thats what i needed...

So, i think at the moment about building a home server, from industrial standard components. I am here to search about recommendations...

This should be possbile, and i think this could also get a interessing project for public, as an "equivalent" to olpc (one laptop per child).

The server should be able:
- to have an absolute minimum on power consumption (5 watts would be well, i think...)
- to use as less space as possible on the desk.
- it should be able to run virtual servers (4 is optimum)

as told, it is a home server, and most time of the day, he can be bored. Nevertheless, there are few cpu-consumpting applications like virus check, spam check on postfix, postfix, cyrus, webserver, database server, dansguardian filtering, squid and others on low consumption like samba

it is possible to have disks external (usb or whatever) and have the system e.g. on memory cards.

Target OS should be Fedora of course

So, anybody here to discuss advantages/disadvantages and hardware proposals?

Cheers,
Roger
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  #2  
Old 10th August 2012, 08:52 AM
george_toolan Offline
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Re: winter project: home server

Even the smallest server with an Intel DN2800MT motherboard will require at least 10 watts and the Atom N2800 would be rather slow but at least it's fanless ;-)
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  #3  
Old 10th August 2012, 09:55 AM
Adunaic Offline
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Re: winter project: home server

I suppose it depends on your actual needs, but instead of virtualising, how about a handfull of Raspberry Pi's?
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  #4  
Old 10th August 2012, 08:46 PM
stevea Online
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Re: winter project: home server

Quote:
Originally Posted by roger View Post
Hi,

First:
@home, i use a HP xw6600 as server. This one uses more power than i like...but it has the power to virtualize, and thats what i needed...
Thats a workstation, not a server. It devotes a lot of power to the vid - something you probably don't need on a server.

Quote:
So, i think at the moment about building a home server, from industrial standard components. I am here to search about recommendations...
No idea what you mean by "industrial components". Does that mean 100W Xeons to you ?

Quote:
This should be possbile, and i think this could also get a interessing project for public, as an "equivalent" to olpc (one laptop per child).

The server should be able:
- to have an absolute minimum on power consumption (5 watts would be well, i think...)
- to use as less space as possible on the desk.
- it should be able to run virtual servers (4 is optimum)
You are starting with a very incomplete spec (not a problem) but instead of suggesting what you think the power consumption should be, you need say what the functional requirements are and then we can see how low the power can be.

Miinimum power is a good goal. There are many <5watt Linux systems (you may have a couple in your phone for example) but there is no x86 architecture system that will even idle on 5 watts. The 650W PSU in your HP workstation for example if its 80% efficient then it uses 130W at load and it likely never burns less than 80W. If you really want that low power you need to consider an ARM embedded processor and a SSD drive. You can make a very utilitarian server from such a system, serving files and email and network services, bu it wont be running virtualizations any time soon.

Why do you care about space for a server so much ? A typical sever has no vid interface or KB&Mouse so it sits in a closet/basement on the other side of your LAN where you don't see it or hear it. It is certainly not on your desktop. I suspect your idea of server is quite different. Please explain.

Why the virtual servers requirement - what are you suggesting ?


Quote:
as told, it is a home server, and most time of the day, he can be bored. Nevertheless, there are few cpu-consumpting applications like virus check, spam check on postfix, postfix, cyrus, webserver, database server, dansguardian filtering, squid and others on low consumption like samba
Servers can't generally sleep (suspend/hibernate). They are likely to be configured to respond to incoming request without a WOL delay, dhcp requests for example. You're claims about what is/isn't CPU consuming is questionable, but dansgaurd* seems to be web content filtering. Do you expect this devise to act as a router too ? To pass all network traffic through it ?

Quote:
it is possible to have disks external (usb or whatever) and have the system e.g. on memory cards.
Why ? That slows access and requires additional power.

Quote:
Target OS should be Fedora of course
No no on - that's a bad design decision. Fedora is a great rapidly changing distro and if you snap-shot it any point in time you'll see a lot of bugs. Some of those bugs and certainly security updates will never get patched unless you install updates and biannual releases. Then you also must use the newer apps and that means re-configuration. You DO NOT want that sort of support nightmare on a sever. The OS might be along the lines of RHEL/Centos/SciLinux.


Quote:
So, anybody here to discuss advantages/disadvantages and hardware proposals?

Cheers,
Roger
Yes I am interested, but let's spec the functionality first. What I want to see is ....

- File server, must support glusterfs; others will want Samba and NFS. At least 1TB of share possible.
- Backup server. Will perform regularly scheduled backups of other systems (backup app TBD, backup disk separate from share disk.
- email server, supports IMAP but SMTP only on the LAN. (prefer postfix,dovecot) certainly coupled with a spam&virus scanner (spamassassin, clamav)
- VPN service - to allow access to LAN from remote.
- sshd service (keys authentication only).
- local LAN DHCP & local DNS forwarding services (dnsmasq is sufficient, but probably better to use bind & dhcp packages wrt newer security protocols).
- maybe http[s] server - but what exactly is the purpose & value ? Serving a webpage on your LAN is like publishing a book for your household - why bother ? Maybe some wiki could be of value but ....
- perhaps a print server. Must support ipp network protocol.

?- I don't see a need for visualizations. It eats memory and resources on what should be a lean box. with limited purposes.
?- routing ? Maybe. This means 2 enets (several watts each) to allow for filtering.

Of course the server would be configured with conventional levels of security.

I see a 1Gbit enet (and another of at least 100Mbit if routing plus a switch). At least 2 SATA interfaces. This entire lot may run in as little as 400MB of DRAM (remember no x11 ,no user apps & services) maybe less for ARM. The viable choices for architecture are x86, ARM & less likely PPC. If routing we probably want the enets tightly coupled, on fast busses. Things like a MAC mini come to mind but they are a little short o the mark I think.

What are YOUR ideas for necessary funcitionality ?
Why do you think the server needs virtualization capabilities ?
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  #5  
Old 12th August 2012, 11:27 AM
stevea Online
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Re: winter project: home server

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adunaic View Post
I suppose it depends on your actual needs, but instead of virtualising, how about a handfull of Raspberry Pi's?
RaspberryPi has a lot of hardware devoted to UI (hdmi audio) and IIRC they carve out 25% of DRAM for video (OS can't use it). The I/O is an SD slot, a 10/100 enet and a single USB port. That/s not a good design for a server. I mean at $35(plus a PSU plus a case) a pop it's charming and even amazingly cheap - but it lacks the necessary components. Yeah as a homebrew print server or dhcp/dns/pxe server it's great. *MAYBE* you could jam a backup services and a big slow green USB disk. You'd be way out of DRAM and swapping before you got an enmail serve and filters running.

The $90 Beaglebone has a faster processorm no better server functionality, except the client USB port could be handy, and you still need a PSU & case, but the expandability might be handy. You can buy capes (add-on-boards), but aside from serial, camera (maybe tor surveillance) and gps (maybe an ntp time server) there isn't really much there. Still no joy. The $150 beagleboards are built on the older more expensive TI OMAP ARMs and have UI hardware unneeded in a server. Slower & no better.

The $160 Pandaboard (OMAP4, dual core 1Ghz ARM) answers the performance issues, 1GB dram, 10/100 enet ,wifi, bluetooth, 2x USBs. So better connectivity, and much better cpu&dram. The right direction but w/o an interface for commodity SATA drives it's no cigar.

Probably the closest match available today are some of the Marvelle ARMs within commercial NAS boxen, like the QNAP TS-219P+ for ~$180, has a 1.6Ghz ARM, case, two drive bays & PSU, 1Gbit enet, 512MB dram, and several USBs. All well under 20W peak. That could make a sweet 1-enet server.
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  #6  
Old 14th August 2012, 03:13 PM
roger Offline
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Re: winter project: home server

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevea View Post
Thats a workstation, not a server. It devotes a lot of power to the vid - something you probably don't need on a server.
Exactly - in fact, i don't need it, but i have it, so i use it

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevea View Post
No idea what you mean by "industrial components". Does that mean 100W Xeons to you ?
e.g. Hardware of embedded devices, no idea anyway. In fact, yes 1W Xeon, if possible, if not, then ARM or anything else.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevea View Post
You are starting with a very incomplete spec (not a problem) but instead of suggesting what you think the power consumption should be, you need say what the functional requirements are and then we can see how low the power can be.
i usually wanted to start without any spec and nothing else than the idea. unfortunately, already specs are inside...

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevea View Post
Miinimum power is a good goal. There are many <5watt Linux systems (you may have a couple in your phone for example) but there is no x86 architecture system that will even idle on 5 watts. The 650W PSU in your HP workstation for example if its 80% efficient then it uses 130W at load and it likely never burns less than 80W. If you really want that low power you need to consider an ARM embedded processor and a SSD drive. You can make a very utilitarian server from such a system, serving files and email and network services, bu it wont be running virtualizations any time soon.
Exactly. Phone Processors are very powerful at this moment. I am sure, there is something for mini-pc's or equal on the market, which can be used for this.

Btw. Virtualization includes also the possibility to "Jail" (so says Freebsd) or Linux-Container (so we say some "Machines". Never say never

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevea View Post
Why do you care about space for a server so much ? A typical sever has no vid interface or KB&Mouse so it sits in a closet/basement on the other side of your LAN where you don't see it or hear it. It is certainly not on your desktop. I suspect your idea of server is quite different. Please explain.
My home office has about 8 m2, with looooots of documents and workspace for 4(!!) persons. I do for a homeserver neither expect a rack nor big distances within the lan. I even don't think it is needed. If you use it in school, it gives also the possiblity, to have the server in the classroom itself, so it is in 100% control of the teacher without having power switch infrastructe and so on. I think, the size of an actual NAS would be kinda good start...

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevea View Post
Why the virtual servers requirement - what are you suggesting ?
talking from 2 nic's having spare "servers for saying web services and mail and internal data as fileshares and printing services. And likely having senseful servers for appropriate services (eg one for external services like mail, one for internal like files and printing...)

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevea View Post
Servers can't generally sleep (suspend/hibernate). They are likely to be configured to respond to incoming request without a WOL delay, dhcp requests for example. You're claims about what is/isn't CPU consuming is questionable, but dansgaurd* seems to be web content filtering. Do you expect this devise to act as a router too ? To pass all network traffic through it ?
Yes, routing and everything you need in a complete environement. If it could cook coffee, i would appreciate it too....

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevea View Post
No no on - that's a bad design decision. Fedora is a great rapidly changing distro and if you snap-shot it any point in time you'll see a lot of bugs. Some of those bugs and certainly security updates will never get patched unless you install updates and biannual releases. Then you also must use the newer apps and that means re-configuration. You DO NOT want that sort of support nightmare on a sever. The OS might be along the lines of RHEL/Centos/SciLinux.
Whatever it is! I am not fixed.
(stevea, i copied/pasted yours and added mines...)

Functionalities:
- File server
- Backup must be feasable on any device appended (USB-HD...)
- email server, supports IMAP and SMTP in any config (Server, Relayhost...)
- certainly coupled with a spam&virus scanner (spamassassin, clamav) --> YES, of course!
- VPN service - to allow access to LAN from remote.
- sshd service (keys authentication only or mixed, without root).
- local LAN DHCP & local DNS forwarding services (dnsmasq is sufficient, but probably better to use bind & dhcp packages wrt newer security protocols).
- Serving Web services e.g. with a common CMS like Drupal (needs SQL-Support)
- CUPS-Printing

- routing ? Of course. I would like to use this box also for parental control...
- Firewalling, made easy but secure
- Actual level of security on the box (selinux, mod_security...)

I still see no details on hardware, yours sounds good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevea View Post
Why do you think the server needs virtualization capabilities ?
At the moment, i use 3 servers for filtering, web, mail, fileshares, which surely can be reduced. It was just my sight to have a "closed box" for my services, as i wanted to have separated external and internal services.
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