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I am trying to figure out the best server configuration for the following:

  • Low power (I want to plug the server in and forget about it)
  • High redundancy of data (I don't want to loose my music and documents!)
  • The ability to stream music + movies to laptop (maybe subsonic or Jinzora)
  • VPN server with IPsec or OpenVPN
  • NAS
  • $800 budget
  • 2TB with ability to add more drives

My idea:

  • Unix Server with software RAID (maybe RAID6)
  • VPN setup on virtual OS via VirtualBox
  • NAS setup on virtual OS via VirtualBox

My Questions:

  • What would be the best raid configuration if I wanted at least 2TB of data and the ability to add more disks when the space begins to add up?
  • What would be the best OS to use for setting up a software RAID (is a FakeRAID a better solution)?
  • Does it make more sense to separate the VPN and NAS with different OS's?

My goal will be to access my data from any computer from anywhere but mostly just my Laptop from work. Suggested Hardware and Software for this configuration or better ideas for configuration would be greatly appreciated!

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If you can avoid IPSec, do it. OpenVPN will be a lot less headache when dealing with firewalls and whatnot, not only locally but at remote locations too. –  Randolf Richardson May 15 '11 at 17:28
    
Note that shopping recommendations are off-topic on Super User as they are too localized (answers to this question will be useless to people in a year or less) - as you can read in the FAQ. Also, it's very open-ended and hard answer objectively. –  slhck May 15 '11 at 17:46
    
What I am most curious about is what operating system to use, what would be the ideal raid configuration given my budget (I understand that prices will change, so I'm more curious about the trade-offs of using an OS level RAID versus a controller card). Is setting up virtual-machines a good idea or should all configuration be on the base OS? –  Tom May 15 '11 at 18:11

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I had a WHS a while ago, but have recently migrated my box to a Linux setup with the following:

  • Fedora 14 running headless / non-graphical (have VNCserver installed for remote desktop if needed)
  • Amahi using Greyhole - mainly for the drive-pooling functionality.

Hardware-wise am running a box with:

  • 5x1TB [insert brand] Green disks (low power consumption)
  • 2GB RAM
  • 1.6Ghz Atom

Using combination of cron and rsync this then creates an external backup of critical data to a USB-connected 2TB drive everyday (in addition to the Greyhole duplication).

With DDWRT on my router and a free account with DynDNS I'm able to access my server from anywhere.

From personal experience, VMs aren't really that useful in a home environment - I personally want a low-power, low-cost box and running multiple VMs on that will just cripple performance. Not sure what all your uses are going to be, but found the setup above ample for file-storage / sharing, media streaming (including 1080p) and FTP server.

Per the Wiki I notice that Amahi also has the following (although haven't used it myself):

Remote VPN access to your Amahi HDA comes pre-configured out of the box

share|improve this answer
    
Greyhole seems like a very simple and understandable method to do what I want, I am going to try it out on an older system. –  Tom May 17 '11 at 14:53
    
Agreed. Coming from a WHS environment I easily appreciated it as it's very similar to the "drive extender" functionality. Took me (start to finish) less than an hour to install OS and configure greypool –  James May 17 '11 at 15:44
    
There now also is an ubuntu version for 6.1 bit.ly/amahi-6-1-ubuntu –  James May 25 '11 at 11:29

I ended up building and configuring a system using FreeNas 8, given how much hardware has come down in price I was able to build a computer extremely cheap that met FreeNas' hardware requirements. And ZFS was too perfect for my needs to pass-up.

As for the VPN part I am using PPtP via my router, although I am going to setup another box with Openswan soon.

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