Saturday, June 21, 2008

Home File Server

Finally I decided to turn my used hardware to fileserver. I took 4 my old HDDs from USB boxes and put into Asus 6AR case, add 430W Thermaltake PSU, Asus M2N SLI motherboard, Athlon X2 5600+ CPU, 1 Gb DDR2 800 dimm, ancient SONY CD-R IDE drive, S3 Virge PCI (!!!) card. So I was ready to run this file storage as local network samba storage.
I look through different software solutions and decided to choose solution based on Ubuntu 7.10 samba server. It sounds very easy to setup it on USB pen drive and easy to configure, so I begin...
It took about 40 mins to setup ubuntu on my fast USB 2.0 pen drive with 19 Mb/sec write speed. And few more hours to update/upgrade linux from network and configure samba server. I start working with one HD as shared storage and plan to connect 3 others just after successful results...I got very negative experience! First of all linux booting damn slow (got faster results in Ubuntu 8).. it took about 10 minutes to boot from USB pen drive (in text mode! no gfx interface!). After adding hard drives linux stop booting coz device names changes ( from sdb1 for USB drive to sdd1) and it takes time to configure boot loader. So its not flexible at all! Next, samba appears to be not completely compatible with Windows - it works better with XP, but with Vista there are problems not only with authentication!Finally I give up trying Ubuntu 7.10 and migrate to Ubuntu 8 - I got better results in performance, but still not good enough. I also tried so called Free NAS - because it looks more effective - only 60 Mb to run + Web control interface, but it failed to boot from USB, and when runs from Live CD it was unable to find Ethernet cards not build in nVidia 570 dual gigabit, nor PCI Realtek Ethernet card....
As a conclusion I must say all this linux solutions are not enough efficient solution for this (easy for first site ) task! Not enough to utilize full power from hardware and not 100% compatible with Windows networking. I`m going to buy additional hard drive to setup Windows Home server - as I tested - it 100% solution for your home networking needs (Vista and XP support with enhanced backup features) + hardware compatibility + ability to be as media center! linux always seems best server, storage solution for me and sad to say it loosing this battle!