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New Server

Community Veteran
Posts: 1,671
Thanks: 81
Fixes: 2
Registered: ‎17-06-2007

New Server

I've got a rather old box with 512M of RAM and two oldish hard drives running Ubuntu 6.0.6.2 LTS
It freezes from time to time but mem tests show no errors
Also from time to time the primary hard drive remounts as read only and I have to do an fsck and it usually finds one or two minor errors (but SMART is enabled and reports the drives are fine).
So I'm thinking of replacing it all with something with a bit more ummp.
The server runs:
mt-daap for my local music
Apache/MySql for a couple of web sites
Postfix/Dspam for email.
Samba for windows storage of photos etc.
I've got a limited sort of budget of 300-400.
My feelings are:
Dual core processor (intel or AMD I don't really mind)  integrated graphics card (not using it for even running X), 4GB RAM and a good amount of disk space.
I'm currently not running raid but its probably good if I do. So do I go for a Mobo that supports RAID or do I get the O/s to do it (I know that ideally I'd go for H/W RAID but if it pushes the mobo cost up a lot...)
Also do I RAID everything or just the data storage disks and how many disks should I look at RAIDing up?
I was going to put 8.0.4LTS on it and hope that someone actually does maintain things like PHP (which is woefully out of date on 6.06LTS).
Actually that's another question. am I better of building PHP / Apache myself from source rather than relying on Ubutnu to maintain them.


34 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,469
Registered: ‎30-07-2007

Re: New Server

Given your use you have over-specified the hardware somewhat....
1 or 2GB memory is more that sufficient for Linux so you can make a saving there. You can always add memory later if you really need it.
The actual processor is not important and does not need to be very fast so go for a dual core low spec version and save some more. Most mobos support at least 2 SATA raid drives so go for one with hardware raid. I tend to use ASUS or Gigabyte mobos.
For the disks I would find 2 old IDE drives and make a software raid 1 OS partition and install Linux on that.
Then get 2 big and fast SATA drives for your main data and software or hardware raid 1 (using the mobo raid BIOS to set the drives up, not drivers on Linux) those as a separate filesystem. Don't do raid 5 with 3 disks as it can be a right pain to sort out should anything go wrong. Put all your files, music and websites on that. Doing it this way if you decide to change the system again in future the data disks can just be moved to the new system.
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,671
Thanks: 81
Fixes: 2
Registered: ‎17-06-2007

Re: New Server

Thanks for that, gives me something to base costs on ;-)
Community Veteran
Posts: 4,729
Registered: ‎04-04-2007

Re: New Server

I would concur with Peter in that you are over spec'ing the hardware.
What is the processor / hard drive spec of the current machine?
And hard drive requirements for the new?
With the high energy costs of present, I would look for a low power machine, with no more that two drives.
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,671
Thanks: 81
Fixes: 2
Registered: ‎17-06-2007

Re: New Server

its an AMD XP 2400+
Two disks : one 110GB or so, the other is 57GB
and its the 110GB which keeps getting remounted as a read only file system
VileReynard
All Star
Posts: 11,195
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Registered: ‎01-09-2007

Re: New Server

Quote from: SteveA
I've got a rather old box with 512M of RAM and two oldish hard drives running Ubuntu 6.0.6.2 LTS
It freezes from time to time but mem tests show no errors

I've got a 386M of RAM PC running Ubuntu 8.04 with a 600MHz processor,
3 IDE drives, an external SCSI drive and a DVD drive and a wifi connection
and a CUPS print server and a SAMBA file server (not used much)
and a Gnome GUI...
It's a bit slow...
It's not much used these days.
It never freezes or crashes though  Crazy

Community Veteran
Posts: 1,671
Thanks: 81
Fixes: 2
Registered: ‎17-06-2007

Re: New Server

Its the crashes that worry me. It just stops responding. doesn't shut down, the screen display will still be there if I power the monitor up its just locked. No reaction to the keyboard and I have to press the reset button. Doesn't seem to be roasting hot and it restarts fine
Nothing in the logs at all, its almost as if the whole thing just stops dead.
I've run as many diagnostics on it as I can think off and everything says there is nothing wrong with it.
It did used to be a windows box and it used to flake  out sometimes then.
The odd thing is that it will go through periods of being stable with 50+ day uptimes then it wont stay up for more than 2 days.
Community Veteran
Posts: 4,729
Registered: ‎04-04-2007

Re: New Server

This Dell PowerEdge T105 Server comes in at under £400 (shipped and VAT) with twin 250GB hard drives.
OK, perhaps not to my low power idea.
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,671
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Registered: ‎17-06-2007

Re: New Server

Odd pricings they have on their hard disks
Superuser
Superuser
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Registered: ‎10-04-2007

Re: New Server

You could also look at a HP ML115 G5 from serversdirect
OK as standard it only has a single 250G disk and 512Meg memory, but at £161 inc VAT?   add 2gig ram @£60 and a second 250Gig sata @£80 it still comes out at £300.

I bought one on a similar deal 6 months ago - but got an upgrade to 1 gig and free delivery thrown in.  Great deal.
Maurice
Community Veteran
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Registered: ‎17-06-2007

Re: New Server

Hmm. Maybe boost to 1GB of RAM and then get two bigger SATA disks from somewhere else? it supports 4 SATA drives so I guess I could get a second 250 and raid the two big disks in HW and the two 250s on software
or
http://www.serversdirect.co.uk/HP_ProLiant_ML110_G5_455948-035/version.asp
with a second 250GB drive comes in at £283
VileReynard
All Star
Posts: 11,195
Thanks: 307
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Registered: ‎01-09-2007

Re: New Server

Have you considered an off-motherboard solution for storage such as SAN or a
SCSI adaptor - possibly with hardware RAID?

Community Veteran
Posts: 1,671
Thanks: 81
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Registered: ‎17-06-2007

Re: New Server

I must admit that I haven't
I suppose a network storage device for the bulk of the files and then a sever to do everything else might be another solution
pierre_pierre
Grafter
Posts: 19,757
Registered: ‎30-07-2007

Re: New Server

there is a good raid server shown in the last PC Plus magazine Issue 277.  set up in raid config.  A four port USB extender with large flash drives in Each one.  other details were in Issue 275
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,671
Thanks: 81
Fixes: 2
Registered: ‎17-06-2007

Re: New Server

Maplin do this:
http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=226732
which looks good.
The main thing is I'd like to put most of my music on the mt-daap share (I've got about 15 DVDs full parked away) which would mean putting more of the storage directly into the server.
Ho Hum!