I'd like to set up a home server for three purposes:
- Backing up a couple of local computers that are unlikely to ever exceed 500 GB of data each (highest priority).
- Serving up files on the LAN - definitely music, probably .iso, and maybe video.
- Running extended statistical computations/simulations (lowest priority).
I realize that these goals are not all perfectly aligned; the stats/sim stuff is RAM and CPU intensive, whereas backups need read/write speed and lots of capacity. But I'd really like some advice on how to make this work. Hardware and software suggestions are very welcome. My only requirement is that it has to be Windows, Linux, or Mac (or maybe Solaris, but I'd be most comfortable with the first two). I'm definitely willing to shell out for the hard drives, and I should be able to scrounge everything else - but are there other hardware pieces that I should not scrounge?
Thanks for your suggestions.
EDIT for clarity: I'm definitely not looking help getting set up. Probably the most essential advice I need is on hardware, because it changes so quickly and because I'm unfamiliar with the bottlenecks and wear points that servers of this sort face. I'd also be happy to have any advice regarding software - and, of course, freer is better. Thanks to those of you who have responded so far - I would vote you all up if I weren't so lacking in points.