1. Join Now

    AVForums.com uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Linux as a fileserver

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Mark Ward, Sep 13, 2004.

  1. Mark Ward

    Mark Ward
    Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2001
    Messages:
    1,796
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    41
    Location:
    Kent
    Ratings:
    +18
    Has anyone got any experience of using Linux on a fileserver?

    Which version of Linux is the most straight forward? I merely want to store my movies & music on a jukebox out of the way and connect to it via the network.

    To start with I'll be using a Dell Dimension Pentium III XPS-T450, but I intend to move all the bits into a Server case with a bigger PSU.

    Are there any issues with the choice of Network card?

    Is configuring Samba straight forward?

    Is there anything to be gained by going for a more powerful Processor?

    I have an empty PC here so the first step is to download a version of Linux, but which one?

    Thanks,

    Mark.
     
  2. MartinImber

    MartinImber
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2001
    Messages:
    3,851
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    71
    Location:
    Worcester
    Ratings:
    +21
    No experience but all reports say quicker than windos
     
  3. Mark Ward

    Mark Ward
    Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2001
    Messages:
    1,796
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    41
    Location:
    Kent
    Ratings:
    +18
    I heard that too,

    I want a fairly straight-forward installation, hopefully with reasonable hardware detection. There'll be nothing obscure in this box, all ports will be onboard the Mobo.

    Change of plan on the Hardware... I already have a spare Athlon 2400+ & 512MB of PC3200 Mem and a RocketRaid COntroller which has good Linux support.

    Now I intend to get:-

    Athlon Compatible Mobo with 100MBit & 1Gb Lans & Onboard Sound
    Cheap GFX Card
    DVD-Rom
    Any some more NTFS partitioned HDDs

    Components chosen on availability of Linux drivers

    Ideally I'd like to get both the Mobo Nics working, one a Gb NIC, I haven't bought the Mobo yet. UBS2 & Firewire support wouldn't go amis too, then I could just add the DVD-Rom or an External Caddy drive whenever I need to.:)

    Who bets I end up just pay up for another XP Pro Licence?:)

    Mark.
     
  4. pringtef

    pringtef
    Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2003
    Messages:
    1,049
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Location:
    Amsterdam
    Ratings:
    +70
    One of my colleagues swears by Clark Connect, which he says is really easy to use. You can download the home version for free. The ISO contains Red Hat Linux, with ClarkConnect on top of it.
     
  5. Mark Ward

    Mark Ward
    Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2001
    Messages:
    1,796
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    41
    Location:
    Kent
    Ratings:
    +18
    Wiil download and give it a go, thanks!:)

    Mark.
     
  6. chinesewhispers

    chinesewhispers
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2004
    Messages:
    127
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +1
    Mandrake and Suse are now very user friendly versions of Linux (I haven't yet got round to trying them myself yet).

    You can usually get them free on the front of Linux magazines, and if you check out the related websites, you should find all the help you need.

    When my new components arrive, my old PC will become a Linux music and movie file server. (Hopefully!).
     
  7. Mark Ward

    Mark Ward
    Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2001
    Messages:
    1,796
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    41
    Location:
    Kent
    Ratings:
    +18
    That's 2 more to try then...I've downloaded the ClarkConnect distribution and am about to get the full Fedora/RedHat Distribution which is a scary 4.1gb!

    Once i work out which bits I need I bet it'll be a tiny install, but for now I need to try the full versions I guess.

    Cheers,

    Mark.
     
  8. groovyclam

    groovyclam
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2004
    Messages:
    202
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +1
    Mandrake or SuSE should be pretty user-friendly.

    Can't vouch for RedHat - never installed it.
     
  9. Higgers

    Higgers
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2002
    Messages:
    121
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Sale
    Ratings:
    +1
    I've use SUSE 9.1 in my fileserver. I use an Abit KT7A with a 1200Mhz Athlon + 1Gb RAM with a 3ware RAID card connected to 4 120Gb drives. I don't have any problems with the Samba set up at all. SUSE has got a great config tool called YAST2 (Yet Another Setup Tool) which has had a Samba wizard since v9.1. It's great, you just enter the domain or workgroup name you want to use, add details about the directories you want to share and a few other odd bits and you're away!

    I installed Redhat 9 about a year ago to see if it was but I couldn't find any reason to prefer it over SUSE 9.1. It all comes down to personal choice though to some extent.

    A very useful piece of software to install on Linux PCs is called Webmin. It's a web tool which allows you configure all sorts of stuff like mail servers, ftp servers, spam assasin, dhcp server, samba server etc. Using YAST2 and Webmin I don't think you'll have any trouble setting up samba.

    You can also set up logical volume groups in Linux which allow you to make one partition span multiple discs. I'm running out of room on my RAID array so hopefully I should be able to add another RAID array and add it to the first one. Nice.

    The only slight downside to SUSE 9.1 is that it's about a 7Gb download. :laugh:
     
  10. GrahamMG

    GrahamMG
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2004
    Messages:
    4,449
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Location:
    UK
    Ratings:
    +192
    One of our DAB servers runs red hat if that helps at all......I can't remember the reason as it was so long ago but it still works......
     
  11. Mark Ward

    Mark Ward
    Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2001
    Messages:
    1,796
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    41
    Location:
    Kent
    Ratings:
    +18
    Higgers, that sounds exactly what I'm looking for, 7GB Though!!!!! Wow!!!

    Will have to ask a pal with a fast connection to get that for me.

    My plan is to use a 20gb drive for the Unix boot and 3 x 200gb & 4 x 250gb for file serving. I hope to eventually get the install down to a RW bootCD so the server could boot from that freeing up another bay

    I'm really looking forward to the challenge of this and the specific tools you've mentioned make SuSe the Linux to have a go with.

    The worst thing for me timewise will be transferring my massive DVD collection to the server, my Pioneer 106 is very slow for this purpose. Still, that'll give me loads of time to learn Linux sufficently.

    Thanks for that.

    @ Graham:- Many people do run RedHat so I guess it must work for them, but now I have some pointers to specific tools with SuSe that has to be the way to try first.

    Cheers,

    Mark.
     
  12. GrahamMG

    GrahamMG
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2004
    Messages:
    4,449
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Location:
    UK
    Ratings:
    +192
    I would have to say that Windows does make things very straightforward in 2003/XP form but I am also surrounded by "unix" lovers so I let them play with Linux to keep them happy. It does work (and works well) but is for the seriously fanatical and they don't get out much :rotfl:

    I'd like to know how you get on though as it is always nice to have an alternative to windows....
     
  13. Mark Ward

    Mark Ward
    Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2001
    Messages:
    1,796
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    41
    Location:
    Kent
    Ratings:
    +18
    This is purely on cost reasons, I don't want to spend £100incVat on an OEM XP when all the machine will ever do is send files to other machines. It would be a bit like doing a milk round in a Bentley.

    Unix/Linux is more efficient at fileserving and allows better multi-user access apparantly, but that's just a bonus for me. £100 off the price of my server is what this is all about.

    Mark.
     
  14. GrahamMG

    GrahamMG
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2004
    Messages:
    4,449
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Location:
    UK
    Ratings:
    +192
    "milk round in a Bentley", sounds good to me :rotfl:
     
  15. MartinImber

    MartinImber
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2001
    Messages:
    3,851
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    71
    Location:
    Worcester
    Ratings:
    +21
    I don't like Windows Servers

    Due to suport issues a few customers this year have been downgrading to Win 2003 Server.

    Replacing a medium spec. Netware server with a overblown SLOWER Windows server
     
  16. NaTT

    NaTT
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2003
    Messages:
    1,106
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Ratings:
    +77
    getting drivers for everything can be troublesome though.
    I dual booted my main office PC with Mandrake 10 earlier this year. I had no end of troubles getting drivers for everything. I never got a Network card to work so that was probably the root of not getting other drivers.
    Just saying it could take a little more fiddling and getting used to than sticking an M$ boot disk in.
     
  17. Mark Ward

    Mark Ward
    Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2001
    Messages:
    1,796
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    41
    Location:
    Kent
    Ratings:
    +18
    Well I installed ClarkConnect today on a Dell PIII and the install went like a dream. A Series of understandable question followed by an install that correctly detected all my hardware, including the precise make of monitor I have.

    Only problem is that once installed there's not a clue what to do next.

    I can Ping the box from other machines but can't access anything resembling a front end or command line, just a series of already correctly configured config pages and and ability to connect out to the net.

    Think I'll be trying an alternative (SuSe or Fedora) distribution tomorrow. It's a shame though as the installer is really good. and the whole thing fits on a CD-Rom.

    Mark.
     
  18. Higgers

    Higgers
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2002
    Messages:
    121
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Sale
    Ratings:
    +1
    Mark,

    I agree entirely about saving £100 on a Windows license for a machine that will solely serve files. I also think that Linux provides better network performance when sharing files over the network. I've got a Nebula digital PCI card in another Linux PC which runs MythTV (www.mythtv.org) and can record DTV streams straight to a shared directory on my fileserver. I couldn't do that when the Nebula card was running under Windows, even when I used gigabit cards with a direct connection between the fileserver and the video records PC.

    As for hardware compatibility, I only use Intel Pro/100 and Pro/1000 NICs in all my PCs. The drivers are written by Intel themselves and Intel NICs seem to have a very good reputation for stability. I got all my Intel NICs from ebay. My RAID controllers are from 3ware. Both the Intel NICs and the 3ware contollers are auto detected by the SUSE install program. Nice.

    I'm not sure what the benefit would be of being able to boot the system from a CD. I suppose it prevents an attacker from modifying any of the executables on the installation. It'll make upgrading to a new version of SUSE more complicated though. I've got a 40Gb disc as my boot disc. The first 7Mb is a dedicated partition on which I've installed the XOSL boot loader (www.xosl.org). The rest of the disc is an extended partition in which all my Linux paritions reside. I've got XOSL setup to boot into SUSE by default. If ever I want to try setting up something new on my fileserver I create some new Linux partitions, install Linux on them and fiddle with this "development" installation. Once I'm happy with the results I then transfer the new config over to the default install. Basically, a harddisc to boot from gives you the flexibility of having production and development installations. You never know, one day you might want to install OpenBSD. :D

    (You'd have to be a bit hardcore to do that though!)
     
  19. groovyclam

    groovyclam
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2004
    Messages:
    202
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +1
    I'm getting a bit off-topic but could Higgers point me somewhere for info on drivers/apps for the Nebula under Linux.

    Thanks
     
  20. Higgers

    Higgers
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2002
    Messages:
    121
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Sale
    Ratings:
    +1
    I could never get the Nebula card to sork under Linux 2.4. SUSE 9.1 is the first SUSE release to offer a 2.6 kernel and 2.6 seems to have much better support for digital TV cards. The drivers I found were compiled by one of the SUSE team and aren't offically supported. I can't remember where I found them at the mo but I'll search around for them and if I can find them again I'll let you know.

    (I bloomin' hope I can find them again because if I can't and I have to rebuild my VDR I'm screwed)
     
  21. Mark Ward

    Mark Ward
    Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2001
    Messages:
    1,796
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    41
    Location:
    Kent
    Ratings:
    +18
    Thanks for that Higgers,

    Booting from CD-Rom was just an idea I quite liked, basically as all the small HDDs I have are so old I would trust them to last too long. I have 2 x 20gb and 1 X 40gb drives available. I was previously going to use the 40gb as an operation system disk and then many 200gb/250gb disks for data storage. Guess I'll go back to that plan:)

    I wonder if you could answer some specific questions for me...

    1/With Samba..I can't put actual NTFS partitioned HDDs in the machine can I? Merely the rest of the PCs see them as NTFS partitions is that correct?

    2/How easy is it to add many more drives under Linux? My server case will take up to 18, though I'm guessing I'll never need that many.

    3/What is the front end that you use on the Linux box? Is it simply a command prompt? I would like to be able to switch on this box and forget about it.

    4/Which make motherboard would you suggest for good Linux support, particularly for onboard LAN and Sound. I have an Athlon 2400+ and a 512MB stick of PC3200 that I'm hoping to make use of to keep costs down.

    5/Where's the best place to download the Distribution of SuSe that I would need? I checked the SuSe site but the mirrors have a directory structure for the component parts, I'm guessing there's some ISO's somewhere but I couldn't spot them. Also I notice there were versions for i586 & i686, not really sure which version to go for a an Athlon 2400+

    Many thanks,

    Mark.
     
  22. Messiah

    Messiah
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2002
    Messages:
    7,529
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Ratings:
    +339
    Wanna make a bet? :eek: :laugh:
     
  23. Higgers

    Higgers
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2002
    Messages:
    121
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Sale
    Ratings:
    +1
  24. MartinImber

    MartinImber
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2001
    Messages:
    3,851
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    71
    Location:
    Worcester
    Ratings:
    +21
    Basically I can't see why anyone wants a Windows server - we will be building a Linux box at work as the customers are getting interested, but as before the biggest problem is that small IT companies who do the hardware support only know Microsoft.


    This is a problem for us because we get the blame for the slow down they get when they downgrade. We have the incredibly stupid position where a large customer had to move their system off a hot Netware server to a higher specced but lot slower Windoze server.

    I really hate windoze servers - lets us know how you get on with the Linux boxes please! :thumbsup:
     
  25. groovyclam

    groovyclam
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2004
    Messages:
    202
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +1
    Thanks Higgers.

    So just to clarify - use SuSE 9.1 (kernel 2.6) and add that rpm.

    The reason I ask is I have just finished building my own HTPC but on XP and a friend wants one but refuses to go XP ( he is totally Linux loyal )

    I am going to dual boot my current HTPC with SuSE to see if I can get the same functionality under Linux.

    The only thing I forsee a problem with is TV listings/autorecording. I see Mytv uses an XMLTV scrape - where can I scrape good UK FreeView listings from ? Or can Myth populate it's EPG with the DVB FreeView EPG data ?

    Also I used Girder a lot under XP for my own HTPC - what IR-receiver/detection/automation software is there for Linux ?

    Sorry to take this off-topic people.
     
  26. Mark Ward

    Mark Ward
    Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2001
    Messages:
    1,796
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    41
    Location:
    Kent
    Ratings:
    +18
    Would the personal edition be sufficient? I understand that inclusive Samba and various othe rnetwork tools only come with the Pro edition which is a much larger download. I know you can add it later, but I want to install everything via an installer wizard as I know so little.

    Will be trying SUSE in the next day or 2, but having a look at LibraNET today as I already have that downloaded. Man Linux have more flavours than Ben & Jerry and Haagen Daz combined!!!!!

    Sorry...What was rpm?

    Cheers,

    Mark.
     
  27. pringtef

    pringtef
    Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2003
    Messages:
    1,049
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Location:
    Amsterdam
    Ratings:
    +70
    This talk of Linux has made me think about rebuilding my server as well now!!

    One the main reasons is that I've heard numerous stories that download rates in Linux are significantly faster than Windows, as a result of the quality of the TCP/IP stack.

    Can anyone confirm?
     
  28. groovyclam

    groovyclam
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2004
    Messages:
    202
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +1
    Mark - I've highjacked your thread - I'm sorry.

    My talk of SuSE 9.1 and an rpm is not relevant to your fileserver needs at all - I am talking about Digital Terrestrial TV cards under Linux.

    For the record an rpm is like a zip of all precompiled bits of a package. As soon as you start using Linux you will see them everywhere.

    You add and remove rpm's ( i.e. software packages ) via an administration program ( it may be called different things under different Linux flavours )
     
  29. Matt Horne

    Matt Horne
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2000
    Messages:
    4,109
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Over the Hill & Far Away
    Ratings:
    +118
    You cannot DL the pro version.. all they allow is a ondemand download from their ftp servers.. see link below :

    http://216.239.59.104/search?q=cach...a.org/wiki/SUSE+suse+pro+linux+torrents&hl=en

    I can find the personal edition no problem.. not the pro.. you may have to buy it.

    Checking out suse.com the options are :

    1. Pay for it --£65
    2. Download free from their ftp servers.. not necessary the latest version and seems to be download on demand (burn small start disc then it will download what you request)
    3. Download the personal version and then get the samba packages from the suse site (this may work very well!)
    4. Try the live eval disc which runs completely from the CD and does not install to the HD.. may get lucky and find its ready for what you want (or it may be a easy way to have a quick look at the product/hardware support with minimum fuss)

    Over to you!

    Matt
     
  30. Higgers

    Higgers
    Standard Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2002
    Messages:
    121
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Location:
    Sale
    Ratings:
    +1
    Mark,

    In answer to your questions:

    1) Samba isn't really interested in what format the partition(s) it shares are in. As long as the Linux kernel can understand the format then Samba can share the data. Samba doesn't read the partitions directly itself, it requests file data from the kernel. There is support for NTFS volumes in 2.6 and possibly 2.4 (I can't remember about 2.4 for sure). I'd never use NTFS partitions under linux though. I'd always create a ext2, ext3 or ReiserFS partition, copy the data from the NTFS partition on to it and share the Linux partition with Samba.

    2) I'm not an expert on adding drives to an existing logical volume group. I know it's possible but I've never done it myself. I'm running out of space on my RAID array though so over the next two or three weeks I'm going to try and extend it. I'll let you know how I get on.

    3) SUSE 9.1 automatically installs the KDE (K Desktop Environment) gui. In look and feels it's quite similar to a Windows desktop. You can set up a Linux box to boot into a multi user command prompt mode or a multi user windows frontend mode.

    4) I've got no idea about which motherboards have got good support for onboard LAN and sound. I've only ever used seperate PCI cards to provide LAN and sound support.

    5) I always try and download stuff from www.mirror.ac.uk. Here's the link to the SUSE 9.1 directory:

    http://www.mirror.ac.uk/mirror/ftp.suse.com/i386/9.1/

    Once you've downloaded it burn the boot.iso file in the 9.1/boot directory onto a CD to make a boot CD.
     

Share This Page

Loading...