Home Server Migration Complete!

As mentioned in several of my previous posts, I recently switched my home server from Windows Server 2003 to Ubuntu Linux 10.10.

The machine is an old bare-bones Shuttle SK21G system equipped with the cheapest processor I could find 5 or 6 years ago and only 1GB of RAM. The processor is a 1.6GHz Sempron I’m pretty sure I bought new for about $40.

Primarily, it is a file server. Between my wife and I, we have a desktop and a laptop and we commonly share files. Why not just share everything from the desktop? Well, I like my desktop to just be a desktop.  I just want to use it for hobby work and play games.  I don’t want to leave my computer on all the time, I don’t want to sit next to a noisy array of disks and I don’t want to load it down with server daemons.

Samba (SMB) is used to share files with Windows, and as it turns out, setting up SMB on Ubuntu is pretty easy. Amazingly, connecting to and browsing files on this machine with Linux and Samba is much faster than Windows’ native file sharing.

Ironically, while I was mulling over the Linux switch, I discovered, completely by accident, that one of the disks had failed! While it was great that the system kept running and I ended up with no downtime or data loss, it was somewhat unsettling that there were no alerts of any kind.

Now, With mdadm monitoring my mirror, I get e-mailed if a problem occurs. I tested it, it works.

Wait, there’s more — and this is my favorite part — a couple of years ago I realized that a RAID is not a backup, so I hung a 1 TB external USB drive off the machine and had Robocopy run a nightly mirror.  I also enabled Volume Shadow Copy as a measure against accidental overwrites and deletions. However, what I really wanted was Time Machine, and now, I finally have it thanks to rsync and rsnapshot.

This machine may still be a dinosaur, but thanks to Ubuntu Server 10.10, it’s now a fire-breathing, bad-guy-eating, tyrannosaur with robot gun arms. It just barely meets the minimum specs for Windows Server 2003, but handles Ubuntu with ease.

It will be useful having a Linux install around to mess with and, best of all, the whole setup was fun.

This entry was posted in Linux and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.