Uses for a home server?

maxtortheone

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I've been thinking lately about setting up a server at home. I would want to use it as a backup for my photos, a NAS, stuff like that. What should I be looking for in a server? Can something good be found on a budget? I've seen dual-Xeon servers for around 100 bucks, but I really don't know what I'm looking at.
 

DanRoM

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Do you want to set up a server for the sake of doing it, and are now looking for good uses, or do you think a home server would be a good way to cater to your needs, but you need to clarify those requirements?
 

maxtortheone

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I want to find out what I can do with it and I think it would be a good experience into something I have little knowledge.
 

eizbaer

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Do you want to set up a server for the sake of doing it, and are now looking for good uses, or do you think a home server would be a good way to cater to your needs, but you need to clarify those requirements?

I want to find out what I can do with it and I think it would be a good experience into something I have little knowledge.

So rather the first than the second. I've thought about setting up some sort of home server many times myself, but always thought to myself, "what use can you take from that thing to possibly justify the expense and effort". in the end, i've always ditched the idea again, because (for me, personally) there's basically nothing i'd gain over the setup i currently have going, except maybe no having to walk 3 steps (literally) from my bed to my PC some times.

off topic, sort of similar situation:
it's basically similar to a friend of mine always harassing me to install xbmc (or whatever it's successor is called now) and getting a remote and everything. why? it all runs on my PC anyway and i am much happier using the friggin windows explorer and VLC to watch my movies on the TV. afterwards, the only thing i could possibly need a remote for is volume, and that i do have a remote for. anything else (changing subtitles, audio, whatever) i can do in the 2 seconds after i start the movie, no need for a remote or anything.
 
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maxtortheone

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Yeah, I was thinking more of backing up all my photos and videos on it in a way in which my parents can access them from their notebook and myself remotely. And possibly setting up some e-mail on it or hosting a site. It'd be great when they'll get a new TV if they could just access everything and I could download movies for them on the thing, stuff like that. Thing is I guess I don't need a lot of oomph for the thing. I've been looking a bit and this one popped out, that's about 100 bucks. But I know next to nothing about the hardware and what it can handle.
 

Eye-Q

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I've seen dual-Xeon servers for around 100 bucks, but I really don't know what I'm looking at.
There is a reason why those servers are cheap: they're powerhungry. If you would use those as NAS it'll cost you a pretty penny in the long run.

If you want to run it 24/7 it's better to buy something like an HP ProLiant MicroServer or Dell PowerEdge T20, should be available on ebay as well. I don't think you need the fastest HDDs so WD Reds should suffice, ideally two to four of them for using it in a RAID 1 or RAID 5. Additionally you should get a USB HDD to back the server up as well - what good is a NAS with redundant disks when the PSU fails and destroys both HDDs?

[edit]
The server you linked is basically 10 years old, with two single core CPUs which are slooooow compared to one current cheap dual or even quad core.
[/edit]
 
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maxtortheone

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Yeah, was looking at a PowerEdge. I've also always wanted to set up a security camera at the front of the building to keep an eye on our cars.
 

Eye-Q

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Well, "a PowerEdge" is a bit unspecific since almost all Dell-servers are called PowerEdge, from the smallest home-server to a 4-way monster. Additionally, there are different generations of each PowerEdge so you have to be careful to not buy a last- or second to last-gen server.
 

prizrak

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Uses for a home server?

My personal set up here just as an example.
NAS:
Core (don't remember if it's 1 or 2) Duo CPU
2GB of RAM
16GB SSD for the OS
3x1TB WD Caviar Greens
1x3TB WD Caviar Green
Drives are in an LVM that presents entire 6TB to the system for storage.
OS - Ubuntu Server
Runs:
NFS for file sharing locally
owncloud for personal cloud storage, can share files with others, sync files between diff clients, etc.. basically Google Drive/Dropbox you control.
VPN mostly to get around port blocking at work

Media Server:
Mac mini with an i5 dual core (can't be arsed to look up which gen but about 2 years old), 8gb of ram, 240gb hdd.
OS: OS X (duh)
Runs:
Plex server for movies/shows steaming
Sonarr: for stealing shows
Couch potato: Same for movies
Sabnzbd: downloader

Benefits of setup, about as cheap as I could make it at the time with relatively small footprint. Not so good, 0 redundancy on storage, can easily lose everything but since it doesn't hold any important data doesn't matter.
 
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maxtortheone

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Dug up my old desktop to see if I can do anything with it. Also, how the fuck can a Ati Radeon 9000 drive a 1080p desktop?
 

Eye-Q

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As long as there's no 3D involved any graphics card from the past 15 years or so are able to display 1920x1080, it's only a matter of RAM. For 1920x1080 with 32 bit color depth in 2D you only need about 8 MB of RAM (1920 pixel x 1080 pixel x 32 bit / 8). 3D applications (games, CAD etc.) are what all these current graphics cards with monstrous amounts of RAM are for.
 

argatoga

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For reference, my home server does the following
Hosts a plex server
DDNS + DHCP
Bittorrent
Shares around ~8TB off a 5 disk raidz2 (NFS/AFS/SMB)

It's powered by a Supermicro A1SAi-2550F (fanless Atom board).
FreeBSD 10.1
 
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Viper007Bond

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There's no reason to use enterprise hardware unless you need special ECC RAM for ZFS or whatever it is.

I just built a standard desktop build and use that. You can go mini-ATX if you want it smaller, but I didn't bother.

I run Plex off mine and so it has to be able to transcode video, so I went for a rather good CPU rather than something cheap. Here's my build:

http://pcpartpicker.com/user/Viper007Bond/saved/xwP9TW

The GPU built into most Intel CPUs these days is WAY more than you need unless you want to game on it, which would be silly since you can stream to it using Steam.
 

argatoga

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I wanted something quiet, low powered with ten billion (six) SATA ports, and capable of having a lot of memory. It isn't needed.
 

Viper007Bond

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Sorry, that wasn't mean as a reply to you (else I would have quoted you), more to OP asking about Xeons and stuff.
 

Cellos88GT

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For my build I went with a low power setup, I tried to find the lowest power Pentium at a modest priced (I think I used the G3220T), the cheapest mobo w/ the most SATA ports, (A Biostar B85 w/ 5 sata ports), a cheap 32GB SSD (SanDisk), and a quiet case (Fractal Define Mini).

A buddy of mine gave me some enterprise drives for free so I've been using those, I need to get some other drives and have some redundancy but everything I care about on the server exists on two other computers. Losing the media I have on their would suck but it wouldn't be the end of the world.

I use it primarily for plex and file sharing, it runs Ubuntu server, I don't prefer it because I've had issues with its package management system especially if one of the repos of a particular software goes down and has no timeline of when it will be repaired (I'M LOOKING AT YOU PLEX). CentOS does a better job of ignoring/handling broken repos.
 
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electromage

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I use my home server for Minecraft, TeamSpeak, rsync backups, and storage via NFS and SMB. It's got Plex too, but I don't really use it.

It's a Phenom II X4 980, 8GB of RAM, 9 disks in two RAID arrays (one currently RAID-Z for no good reason) totaling 13.5TB. Ubuntu Server 14.04 LTS.
 

argatoga

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For my build I went with a low power setup, I tried to find the lowest power Pentium at a modest priced (I think I used the G3220T), the cheapest mobo w/ the most SATA ports, (A Biostar B85 w/ 5 sata ports), a cheap 32GB SSD (SanDisk), and a quiet case (Fractal Define Mini).

A buddy of mine gave me some enterprise drives for free so I've been using those, I need to get some other drives and have some redundancy but everything I care about on the server exists on two other computers. Losing the media I have on their would suck but it wouldn't be the end of the world.

I use it primarily for plex and file sharing, it runs Ubuntu server, I don't prefer it because I've had issues with its package management system especially if one of the repos of a particular software goes down and has no timeline of when it will be repaired (I'M LOOKING AT YOU PLEX). CentOS does a better job of ignoring/handling broken repos.

I don't know how something can be worse than Redhat/CentOS. I'm forced to use those two at work. I don't know why they don't list crack cocaine on the requirements page.
 
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