PDA

View Full Version : Building a house server?



Orb
2005-04-18, 04:45
What do people recommend for a basic house server?
I could get my hands on an old (very cheap) Pentium 3, 600 MHz, 256mb ram pc. I have a 200gb drive where my music is stored which would live in the house server.

Would a machine of this (old) spec be good enough to cope with slimserver, file sharing and maybe a broadband connection in the future?

What do people recommend as a OS? I have an old copy of windows 98 floating around but what about the free OS like BSD?

Any tips appreciated.
Thanks

benc
2005-04-18, 05:10
I used to have a PC with a C3 700MHz CPU, 768MB RAM, Win2K. It would run SlimServer, FTP, Web and email OK, but I used to get drop-outs about once per hour. I thought this was due running the SB1 wirelessly, but I've since upgraded to a new PC (P4 CPU) and I've not had a drop-out since.

The PC you mention would just about do the job under Windows, but it may be slow when you do stuff like 'Play all music', or shuffle large playlists. Also you may have problems running other apps at the same time.

mherger
2005-04-18, 05:14
On Mon, 18 Apr 2005 04:45:54 -0700, Orb
<Orb.1non9b (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> wrote:

> What do people recommend for a basic house server?
> I could get my hands on an old (very cheap) Pentium 3, 600 MHz, 256mb
> ram pc. I have a 200gb drive where my music is stored which would live
> in the house server.
>
> Would a machine of this (old) spec be good enough to cope with
> slimserver, file sharing and maybe a broadband connection in the
> future?

I've been running a Via C3/800 (might be about as powerful as your PIII)
for quite a while. No problem as SlimServer, fileserver, mailserver (3
users only), and dev webserver running Linux. Listening to a mp3 stream
uses about 5% cpu, Real with AlienBBC (transcoding Real->wav->mp3) about
25%.

There are people running SlimServer and Samba (fileserver) on a Buffalo
Linkstation - at 250MHz!

> What do people recommend as a OS? I have an old copy of windows 98
> floating around but what about the free OS like BSD?

Forget Windows 98 if you can install something like BSD or Linux. The
latter might be easier to handle as there are packages available (RPM).

--

Michael

-----------------------------------------------------------
Help translate SlimServer by using the
StringEditor Plugin (http://www.herger.net/slim/)

Jim Dibb
2005-04-18, 05:29
> On Mon, 18 Apr 2005 04:45:54 -0700, Orb
> <Orb.1non9b (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> wrote:
>
> > What do people recommend for a basic house server?
> > I could get my hands on an old (very cheap) Pentium 3, 600 MHz, 256mb
> > ram pc. I have a 200gb drive where my music is stored which would live
> > in the house server.
> >

This is more than I run my single SB1, my mail server and a caching
DNS on. I'm running RH9 on a P2/450 Mhz w/256 MB (I think, not sure
on the ram). An 80GB drive is about half full. I'm using Slimserver
5.4.1 now. I try to limit my rescans to after I go to bed.
The only time I really have a problem is when the SpamAssassin daemon
goes crazy and chews up the whole CPU. That happens from time to time
and I don't know why.

sleepysurf
2005-04-18, 05:50
If you are planning on a wireless B/G router (Linksys or other) consider using a Buffalo Linkstation network storage device as the media server. It can be located in a remote location (mine is in a bedroom closet, along with my Linksys Wireless Router/Network hub). It's a lot cheaper than buying an entire PC for that purpose. I bought a 300 GB one, and am ripping FLAC files to it. You'll still need a computer to run SlimServer... I use an old Compaq Evo N600 which sits in my home office. I can rip CD's while doing other work in my office. So far, the system is working flawlessly for me.

Oliver Laumann
2005-04-18, 05:55
> What do people recommend for a basic house server?

I'm using an old notebook computer as our house server, because it has
a very low power consumption (approx. 10 watts when the disk is
powered down and slightly more when the SlimServer software is
streaming data).

Our house server currently is a Toshiba Portege 7020 notebook (made in
1998) with a 366 MHz Pentium II CPU, a 60 GB internal disk and a
100Mbit/s cardbus ethernet card. The system is running Fedora Core 1
and SlimServer 5.4.0.

The server sits in a wall-mounted kitchen cabinet in our house's
utility room together with the DSL router/switch and WLAN AP. This
works fine, as the notebook computer generates almost no heat.

We have been using this configuration for several months now and are
quite happy with it.

thnmnt
2005-04-18, 06:19
> > What do people recommend for a basic house server?
>
i'm using an old Dell PIII 600 with 512MB RAM. i uninstalled win98 and put
Mandrake 10 on it (i'm a linux newbie and had it running in about 30
minutes) installing slimserver from the RPM took another 15 minutes and then
figuring out all the permissions and stuff took a couple of days and lots of
help from this list. however, that was because none of the music is stored
on this machine - it's all on 2 snap servers on the network.

It's a solid performer - occasional dropouts but not enough to bother me.
the machine doesn't really do anything other than server music although i've
got apache (which never really gets hit)and an FTP server on it as well.

you can buy machines like this on ebay for around 200 bucks i think.

Aaron Zinck
2005-04-18, 07:25
> If you are planning on a wireless B/G router (Linksys or other) consider
> using a Buffalo Linkstation network storage device as the media server.
> It can be located in a remote location (mine is in a bedroom closet,
> along with my Linksys Wireless Router/Network hub). It's a lot cheaper
> than buying an entire PC for that purpose. I bought a 300 GB one, and am
> ripping FLAC files to it. You'll still need a computer to run
> SlimServer... I use an old Compaq Evo N600 which sits in my home

You actually *don't* still need a computer to run slimserver. Slimserver
can be installed on the Linkstation itself. Just do a little searching on
the mailing list for Linkstation and I know there's at least one site out
there with a how-to for installing slimserver on the linkstation.

Michael Peters
2005-04-18, 09:09
On Mon, 2005-04-18 at 08:29 -0400, Jim Dibb wrote:


> The only time I really have a problem is when the SpamAssassin daemon
> goes crazy and chews up the whole CPU. That happens from time to time
> and I don't know why.

How do you filter?
My "utility box" that does everything -

fetchmail pops, sends it through procmail
procmail does all my filtering for lists etc.
THEN if it hasn't been filtered to another list, it goes through
SpamAssassin. I whitelist everyone in my address book.

The result has been incredible - SpamAssassin is a lot nicer now, since
it is used far far less.

Box is a 1.6 GHz Duron (the low cache on that chip can really be felt,
I'm not going to make that mistake again)
It's running headless (no X11 sucking resources) - Fedora Rawhide.

512 MB RAM
Two hard drives (ATA 100)
services it runs: apache, vsftpd, sshd, slimserver, dovecot (imap
server, how I read my mail on my main rig), postfix, bind (caching dns
for lan), ntpd

At night it mirrors several yum repositories.
Anyway - after putting the SpamAssassin recipe at the end, the box is
generally a LOT more responsive as all my mailing lists don't go through
it anymore.

Oh - and on topic, no problems with SlimServer feeding a SoftSqueeze
client. Only using mp3 though, so that's not really testing it.

Jim Dibb
2005-04-18, 09:53
Hi Michael,
I'll look into my exact setup when I get home, but I believe the
spamassassin problem is due to a bug of some kind. On a heavy day, I
don't get more than 20 messages to my home email. I use gmail for the
lists I'm on. But basically something pops them from verizon, then
procmail, then spamd. I then pop them again to one of 2 WinXP boxes
where they get read. I've never really put a lot of effort into this
once I got it working reasonably (but not necessarily efficiently).

But sometimes, with no reason that I've yet found, the spamd process
will be running, consuming all CPU. And it doesn't stop. The only
way to clear it is to kill it, or reboot the system (which is usually
what I do to make sure everything gets started up again correctly).

People I correspond with get whitelisted after they end up in the SPAM
folder once.

On 4/18/05, Michael Peters <funkyres (AT) gmail (DOT) com> wrote:
> On Mon, 2005-04-18 at 08:29 -0400, Jim Dibb wrote:
>
> > The only time I really have a problem is when the SpamAssassin daemon
> > goes crazy and chews up the whole CPU. That happens from time to time
> > and I don't know why.
>
> How do you filter?
> My "utility box" that does everything -
>
> fetchmail pops, sends it through procmail
> procmail does all my filtering for lists etc.
> THEN if it hasn't been filtered to another list, it goes through
> SpamAssassin. I whitelist everyone in my address book.
>
> The result has been incredible - SpamAssassin is a lot nicer now, since
> it is used far far less.

docbee
2005-04-18, 10:33
Hi,


What do people recommend for a basic house server?
I could get my hands on an old (very cheap) Pentium 3, 600 MHz, 256mb ram pc. I have a 200gb drive where my music is stored which would live in the house server.
Would a machine of this (old) spec be good enough to cope with slimserver, file sharing and maybe a broadband connection in the future?

I am running a linux "house server" 24/7 with a p3 800 MHz with an intel 815 chipset. With 384 MB RAM I don't even need swap (but that is another discussion). Slimserver works fine including on-the-fly re-encoding of media data via lame and/or mplayer. I also have a software raid 5 running on this which makes 2TB of storage out of 14 drives with 160 GB each. The P3 handles all this very well. Only if you go for software encryption by a loop device on top, then the P3 is about to give up, file transfer goes really slow then. If you don't need encryption, the P3 should be fine with linux.


What do people recommend as a OS? I have an old copy of windows 98 floating around but what about the free OS like BSD?

Any linux/unix should do, I made good experience with SuSE 8.2 (kernel 2.4). Win 98 doesn't seem to me to be a good choice for a server. If you are a friend of MS products better look for XP or 2000/2003 server so that you don't have to boot twice a day ;-)

Enjoy your project! I found building a "house server" great fun. The hardest thing was getting the necessary approvals from my wife to occupy half a square meter for that in the utility room she is in command of ;-)

Bob Fish
2005-04-19, 06:07
I run mine on a PIII 400 with 512M ram and a 250G drive.
Runs Fedora Core.

Talking with Orb on 18 Apr 2005 at 4:45 about "[slim] Building a house server?" we discussed:

>
> What do people recommend for a basic house server?
> I could get my hands on an old (very cheap) Pentium 3, 600 MHz, 256mb
> ram pc. I have a 200gb drive where my music is stored which would live
> in the house server.
>
> Would a machine of this (old) spec be good enough to cope with
> slimserver, file sharing and maybe a broadband connection in the
> future?
>
> What do people recommend as a OS? I have an old copy of windows 98
> floating around but what about the free OS like BSD?
>
> Any tips appreciated.
> Thanks
>
>
> --
> Orb
>

Damon Riley
2005-04-19, 13:31
I'm apparently in the minority, but I'm running Libranet GNU/Linux (a
Debian distro) on a Pentium II (yes, that's Pentium Two). I did beef up
the memory and put in a fat hard drive and it runs fine. The drop-outs
I hear are usually wireless telephone vs. wireless network. As long as
I connect to the server via the network to run the web interface it's
fine. But running the web interface from the server terminal is SLOW.
I'm only using .ogg and .mp3 files. I dunno how it would work with a
lossless format.

>>
>>Any tips appreciated.
>>Thanks
>>
>>
>>--
>>Orb
>>

CMaskelyne@paperpak.com
2005-04-19, 23:44
If you are planning to use this as a proper server and run services such as
file & print, internet hosting, etc you would probably be better with Linux
as this could handle it. Don't think you would get away with Windows 2003
mine sometime grinds to a halt and that is a P4 3.0Ghz with 1.5 Gb RAM. If
people are downloading from the server then it can affect the slimserver
stream. You may get away with more services running if you set up some QoS
or you could try W2000 Server which is not so memory hungry.

Regards,

Carl Maskelyne
PaperPak Systems IT Manager
Mobile Telephone : 07971 659494
Attends website : www.attends.co.uk



This message and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended
solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed.
If you have received this email in error please notify the system manager.
If you are not the named addressee you should not disseminate, distribute or
copy this e-mail. The information contained in this e-mail may be subject to
public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Unless the
information is legally exempt from disclosure, the confidentiality of this
e-mail and your reply cannot be guaranteed. Emails sent from PaperPak that
contain commercially sensitive data should not be disclosed to third parties
that may benefit from this knowledge. This e-mail and attachments have been
scanned for viruses prior to leaving PaperPak however the company will not
be liable for any losses as a result of any viruses being passed on.

-----Original Message-----
From: Bob Fish [mailto:king (AT) bobfish (DOT) org]
Sent: 19 April 2005 14:07
To: Slim Devices Discussion
Subject: Re: [slim] Building a house server?

I run mine on a PIII 400 with 512M ram and a 250G drive.
Runs Fedora Core.

Talking with Orb on 18 Apr 2005 at 4:45 about "[slim] Building a house
server?" we discussed:

>
> What do people recommend for a basic house server?
> I could get my hands on an old (very cheap) Pentium 3, 600 MHz, 256mb
> ram pc. I have a 200gb drive where my music is stored which would live
> in the house server.
>
> Would a machine of this (old) spec be good enough to cope with
> slimserver, file sharing and maybe a broadband connection in the
> future?
>
> What do people recommend as a OS? I have an old copy of windows 98
> floating around but what about the free OS like BSD?
>
> Any tips appreciated.
> Thanks
>
>
> --
> Orb
>

Patrick Dixon
2005-04-20, 02:48
Following on from this:

Which *nix would be a good choice for a standalone (slimserver) server? The only one I'm (slightly) familiar with is FC, but quite a few people seem to be running FreeBSD.

I'm assuming the server doesn't need to run X and would be remotely administered using ssh; would it be better to transfer music across via ftp (or something), rather than using samba and all it's associated hassle?

I really want to setup a system where *anyone* can rip and play a CD, so I need to make the thing work as simply and reliably as possible. Load CD - press button - wait for eject - done, would be ideal.

Any suggestions gratefully recieved.

mherger
2005-04-20, 02:57
> Which *nix would be a good choice for a standalone (slimserver) server?
> The only one I'm (slightly) familiar with is FC, but quite a few people
> seem to be running FreeBSD.

Go for FC (I guess this Fedora Core?). Slimserver is available as RPM
file, but afaik there are no packages for FreeBSD.

> I'm assuming the server doesn't need to run X and would be remotely
> administered using ssh; would it be better to transfer music across via
> ftp (or something), rather than using samba and all it's associated
> hassle?

I use samba for my Windows machines with no problem, NFS for the linux
clients.

What's the additional hassle with samba compared to ftp?

> I really want to setup a system where *anyone* can rip and play a CD,
> so I need to make the thing work as simply and reliably as possible.
> Load CD - press button - wait for eject - done, would be ideal.

You'll need a little more work than installing an OS to do this...

--

Michael

-----------------------------------------------------------
Help translate SlimServer by using the
StringEditor Plugin (http://www.herger.net/slim/)

ChrisB
2005-04-20, 03:01
Hmm, my experiences are to the contrary. My CPU is nowhere near as fast
as yours - Athlon XP 1500+, and I have less memory (1.25Gb RAM), and
I've never experienced problems, despite the fact that it's running as
Domain Controller, serving DNS, DHCP, IIS and MySQL, as well as acting
as fileserver for our home network. I routinely stream to work, and
just ensure that IIS etc are sufficiently throttled to allow the stream
enough room. I've never had a problem with either of my SB's on the
LAN. Perhaps your problems are IO-related? I'm running hardware
RAID-5, so multiple disc access isn't such a strain on the CPU.

Chris

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces (AT) lists (DOT) slimdevices.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces (AT) lists (DOT) slimdevices.com] On Behalf Of
CMaskelyne (AT) paperpak (DOT) com
Sent: 20 April 2005 07:45
To: discuss (AT) lists (DOT) slimdevices.com
Subject: RE: [slim] Building a house server?

If you are planning to use this as a proper server and run services such
as
file & print, internet hosting, etc you would probably be better with
Linux
as this could handle it. Don't think you would get away with Windows
2003
mine sometime grinds to a halt and that is a P4 3.0Ghz with 1.5 Gb RAM.
If
people are downloading from the server then it can affect the slimserver
stream. You may get away with more services running if you set up some
QoS
or you could try W2000 Server which is not so memory hungry.

Patrick Dixon
2005-04-20, 05:01
>
Go for FC (I guess this Fedora Core?). Slimserver is available as RPM file, but afaik there are no packages for FreeBSD.
I'm using FC3 at present, but I was slightly concerned when someone said it was 'unstable'. I'd rather 'go with the flow' as experience tells me that's where I will get the fewest problems.

>
I use samba for my Windows machines with no problem, NFS for the linux clients.

What's the additional hassle with samba compared to ftp?
samba just always seems to be a pita to get all the permissions/users/password right, so I wondered if ftp was more straightforward. And doesn't ftp work pretty much the same with any other OS - no farting around with Neighbourhood Network, smbmount, cifmount and stuff.

>
> I really want to setup a system where *anyone* can rip and play a CD,
> so I need to make the thing work as simply and reliably as possible.
> Load CD - press button - wait for eject - done, would be ideal.[/color]

You'll need a little more work than installing an OS to do this...
I figured that, but you guys are just SO good!

David Zuckerman
2005-04-20, 10:36
> >Which *nix would be a good choice for a standalone (slimserver) server?
> >The only one I'm (slightly) familiar with is FC, but quite a few people
> >seem to be running FreeBSD.

I'm a big FreeBSD fan -- I'm running 5.3-RELEASE on a Pentium 233 MMX (yes,
that's a Pentium I). It's incredibly stable and well-documented. There's a
learning curve if you're coming from Windows, and the installer isn't the
most user-friendly, but the online FreeBSD Handbook really does make things
understandable.

> Go for FC (I guess this Fedora Core?). Slimserver is available as RPM
> file, but afaik there are no packages for FreeBSD.

SlimServer is available through the FreeBSD Ports Collection. Simply cd to
/usr/ports/audio/slimserver as root and "make install clean". Right now
it's at 5.4.0, but the maintainer (who particpates in the Developer mailing
list/forum) will be updating it to 6.0.1 shortly.

In the meantime, I simply downloaded the tarball, extracted it to my home
directory, and got it working right away. I have a wired SB2 connected to a
dedicated wireless bridge, and playing FLACs has been flawless so far.

> >I'm assuming the server doesn't need to run X and would be remotely
> >administered using ssh; would it be better to transfer music across via
> >ftp (or something), rather than using samba and all it's associated
> >hassle?

Samba is a lot easier to use than FTP once you get it configured. I rip CDs
with EAC from my Windows XP system directly to a samba-mounted drive that
holds all my media files. Using FTP would add a few more steps to the
process. I've found and used some step-by-step guides to using samba with
FreeBSD -- just search for "samba freebsd" on Google. There's also a basic
samba installation guide in the FreeBSD Handbook.

> >I really want to setup a system where *anyone* can rip and play a CD,
> >so I need to make the thing work as simply and reliably as possible.
> >Load CD - press button - wait for eject - done, would be ideal.

It's difficult to make such a system both easy and reliable. The setup I
use is mostly straightforward; EAC rips the CD and pulls data from freedb,
sends it to FLAC to compress, and writes it to a samba-mounted drive. The
configuration will take some effort, though.

-David