AVS Forum banner
1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
799 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'd like to set up a home fileserver to centrally manage all my important documents and files and backups. I'm pretty technical, but more of a Cisco IOS guy than a Solaris admin or Unix whiz, although I still remember some from my HP/UX admin days. I need some advice on how to setup the hardware for this box...


My choices are to use an old Dell PowerEdge 2200 server that has two PII Xeons (300MHz) with 128MBRAM, a Dell Dimension 4100 (1GHz P3, 512MB RAM) or to build a new box with a spare ATX case I've got. I've got two 250GB SATA drives that I would use and I want to add two or three more 250GB drives to create a RAIDZ set.


My first inclination is that I would be better off to buy a new motherboard that has SATA ports, Gig-E, etc. Install 1GB of RAM (I hear RAIDZ likes RAM) and be done.


Since this box will only be a fileserver, can anyone recommend an inexpensive motherboard with solid Solaris support? The Asus P5B-E is available open-box from newegg.com for about $120. This motherboard has 6 internal SATA ports and 1 PATA port that I could use for the boot drive. I thought I might pair that board with a P4 Prescott for $85 since I probably don't need dual cores.


Add in RAM, and I'm at $300 for a very nice MB, CPU, RAM setup. But the main question is...


will this play nice with Solaris 10?


And while I'm asking, how is Solaris 10 for Media Server functions? I assume most of the activity is focused on Linux, but are those projects portable to Solaris?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
262 Posts
I played with ZFS on Solaris Express awhile back and it looks like the perfect way to go for file server, although I was only playing with 20, 40, and 80 gigabyte drives. Solaris lets you order the DVD for free so I did that yesterday in hopes that I can have some error recovery without a massive loss of storage space. Let us know how things go.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
799 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yes, ZFS is the entire reason behind my interest in Solaris. ZFS on Linux via fuse is not stable yet.


Someone on opensolaris.org recommended that I look at 64-bit processors from AMD (because Solaris likes 64-bitness, apparently). Does anyone know of a solid motherboard with 6+ SATA ports that will run in PATA mode? This seems to be another requirement of Solaris on x86.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
603 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by weldon /forum/post/0


Yes, ZFS is the entire reason behind my interest in Solaris. ZFS on Linux via fuse is not stable yet.


Someone on opensolaris.org recommended that I look at 64-bit processors from AMD (because Solaris likes 64-bitness, apparently). Does anyone know of a solid motherboard with 6+ SATA ports that will run in PATA mode? This seems to be another requirement of Solaris on x86.

If ZFS is the entire reason, have you looked at lvm2 for linux? It provides most of the features of ZFS and is supported in the linux kernel. I was able to learn how to use it in only reading a little tutorial on the internet, so someone like yourself should have no problem.


As for buying a new system, if you're not going to be doing anything else other than serving out files, either of the systems you already have should be fine. You might actually be better off getting a hardware raid card like one of the 3ware models. They're not TOO expensive, they do all the work behind the scenes, and make life a whole lot easier.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
157 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by weldon /forum/post/0


Yes, ZFS is the entire reason behind my interest in Solaris. ZFS on Linux via fuse is not stable yet.


Someone on opensolaris.org recommended that I look at 64-bit processors from AMD (because Solaris likes 64-bitness, apparently). Does anyone know of a solid motherboard with 6+ SATA ports that will run in PATA mode? This seems to be another requirement of Solaris on x86.

Well, I'm just beginning to shop too, and I found this on newegg:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813131013


6 SATA/1 PATA/AMD64/Up to 8GB RAM/Dual Gig-E and all that for $149.99.


And I've had great luck w/ ASUS in the past....


-Mark
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
799 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
 This report on the Solaris HCL seems to indicate that it will work. It's not the exact same motherboard, but it uses the same nForce chipset and the comments specifically say that the SATA ports worked out of the box.


I'm still wary of AMD because I've always used Intel and I'm comfortable building systems with Intel and ASUS. I suppose AMD isn't different, but I worry about not finding firmware updates and such because I don't know where to look.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
799 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Another question...


would a Sempron 64 socket AM2 processor be enough horsepower for a fileserver? I could spend anywhere from $55 to $599 for a CPU that will fit in this board. Are there good reasons to jump from $55 for a Sempron to $135 for an Athlon 64 X2?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
474 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by weldon /forum/post/0


Another question...


would a Sempron 64 socket AM2 processor be enough horsepower for a fileserver? I could spend anywhere from $55 to $599 for a CPU that will fit in this board. Are there good reasons to jump from $55 for a Sempron to $135 for an Athlon 64 X2?

weldon, you seem like you want to build a new server, if so go for it. but your dell is fine in terms of power to serve files (even the slower one). no need really to spend more money. i actually work for sun and have used some very old servers as file servers and it's fine, that kind of work does not require much.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
Agreed. Right now Newegg is selling S939 3400+ processors for $55. The only difference between these and a 3500+ is the HT speed, and a single processor machine has tons and tons of extra bandwidth on the hypertransport bus, so this is a non-factor.


Go cheap, the only thing that's going to use much in terms of CPU cycles is your software RAID 5 implementation, and that's only going to use anything when you write. As others have said, your existing PIII 1 GHz should be fine.


So if you want to go with somethign new, you can go for the cheapest thing you can find and still end up with more CPU than you'll ever use in strictly a home fileserver usage.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
799 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I don't have to go new, but I do have a few things pushing me that way...
  • small power supply for 5+ drives
  • small case, and non-ATX mount points for the motherboard may not work in another case
  • I'd have to buy a 6-port SATA card anyways
  • I've been told that ZFS with RAIDZ likes 1GB+ RAM
  • Buying these things for a 5+ year old Dell Dimension seems a waste
  • I can get a very current motherboard, CPU, and RAM for under $300 with the possibility to upgrade to a faster processor later
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,054 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by weldon /forum/post/0


[*]I've been told that ZFS with RAIDZ likes 1GB+ RAM

That's crazy - if you're not running X (and you shouldn't on a server), a Solaris 10 kernel with all unnecessary services disabled should easily boot and run well with less than 256MB RAM, ZFS and RAID included. But RAM is cheap enough anyway.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
799 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by slowbiscuit /forum/post/0


That's crazy - if you're not running X (and you shouldn't on a server), a Solaris 10 kernel with all unnecessary services disabled should easily boot and run well with less than 256MB RAM, ZFS and RAID included. But RAM is cheap enough anyway.

I'm not so sure. I've been told by more than one Sun employee that 1GB+ RAM is a good idea for ZFS w/ RAIDZ. I guess it has a lot to do with the way the software RAID works with ZFS' checksum feature an dynamic striping. The more of that info you can hold in RAM, the better ZFS performs on reads and writes.


I'll run some benchmarks both ways once I finish building the system.
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top