Assembling a Linux based Home Storage Server

I’ve decided that I have enough data I want/need to store and backing it up with removable drives and/or burning DVDs is getting less useful each passing day.

I also like to have everything available all the time instead of going through backup DVDs searching for the right one and extract the information from it.

I have a friend who takes too many pictures in RAW format and have greater storage needs than I do but have little time or nerves to mess with installing and configuring something so he got a Thermaltake Muse NAS-RAID.

He is quite pleased with and it works flawlessly at his home adding yet another blue led to an ever growing group of blue led devices blinking in the darkness of his home at night ;-) .

Being me, I cannot bare the thought of using a hardware device that I can’t fully control and can’t fully expand to whatever needs I may or may not have in the future, so I’ve decide to build my own home storage server.

I wanted it to be a bit cheaper than the Thermaltake MUSE box and I actually managed to do that (cost of the drives are the same so the real difference is in the box itself).

The hardware specs I’ve settled for and eventually ordered are:

  • CPU: AMD Athlon 3800+ Dual core (AM2 socket) – It’s an over kill but it was very cheap and was the cheapest CPU in stock at my favorite high end (and high quality) hardware supplier.
  • MoBo: Gigabyte GA-M61SME-S2 – It was either that or a comparable ASUS mobo. This one won because of the price. I really like the quality of Gigabyte and ASUS mobos and have used them for years. The specs are more than fine with a gigabit ethernet card on board and a hardware RAID support of both 0,1,5 (not that I’m going to use them, it’s all software RAID for me baby!)
  • RAM: 512Mb (more than enough)
  • Case: Thermaltake Matrix – It was relatively cheap. It’s Thermaltake (need I say more?!). It’s an aluminum case that is very ventilated and eventually if I want to mount some 3.5″ drives on the 5.25″ spaces using a kit I can get to a total of 8 drives.

The sweet spot for hard drives in terms of gigabytes per buck (at least for me) was the 500Gb drives (more specifically, the Western Digital WD5000AAKS 7200 RPM with 16Mb Buffer) so I’ll grab 3 of those which should be enough for my current needs.

I haven’t decided on the configuration and drive size for the OS itself. It might even be a jump drive as a friend suggested (2 in a RAID 1 configuration). I still need to decide.

The software I’m planning on using is:

  • OS: Ubuntu Server 7.10 (I know it’s due out very soon)
  • RAID Configuration: RAID5 with LVM (I might go for EVMS if I’ll have time to mess with it)
  • File System: XFS (cause I can grow it without unmounting it!)
  • Samba – so that the rest of the machins in the house will have access.

All of this set me back ~$750 (these are Israeli prices for the hardware and some taxes applied in there as well), but I’m quite pleased with the price.

It’s going to be a fun weekend! Muhahahahahaha :-)

5 thoughts on “Assembling a Linux based Home Storage Server”

  1. Watch out from them WD hard drives.
    I had such a drive (the 320GB model) on my new machine and it crashed and died after two monthes of use.
    Can’t even say it was used extensively as I was at India for most of this time…

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