RossD
RossD UltimaDork
11/3/15 9:22 a.m.

So I have an old 32-bit HP desktop computer from 2004. I've installed Debian LXDE Jessie on it and have it up and running (still learning a lot though). I would like to continue using it for the random internetting, GIMPing, or ripping my DVD collection. My wife want a secure place to keep her vet school stuff. So I check the MoBo and it had two SATA ports, one of which was labeled SATA II. I ordered two 1 TB SATA drives and plan on using them in a RAID configuration. I'm not sure which one yet, so give me some advice on that please.

My next question is there any advantage to making a dedicated NAS (Network Attached Storage) over a computer with files shared to the local network?

The amount of time I'd be using this computer will be limited enough so I shouldn't affect streaming to the Raspberry PI 2 running Kodi too much. My wife only rarely looks at her old files. I'd actually like to have lots of our DVD collection stored on there for easy viewing. (I'm in the process of getting used to Handbrake.)

After that I'd like to be able to get to my files remotely. Do I want a VPN? I might not be streaming my movies but would like for my wife to access her files at home from work.

Thanks for your time. RossD

I 'bolded' the TL;DR parts

scardeal
scardeal Dork
11/3/15 10:57 a.m.

For only 2 drives, you have 2 options with RAID:
RAID 0 - Faster, but data is more fragile than a single drive
RAID 1 - About same speed as single drive, but fault-tolerant

With the hardware you've got, you'll be configuring software RAID in the Linux setup.

RossD
RossD UltimaDork
11/3/15 11:02 a.m.

I'd rather have better protection than all out speed; So software RAID 1.

To do that, do I throw the Debian Boot disc back in and set it up in the config?

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
11/3/15 11:39 a.m.

Nope just "apt-get install mdadm" and go on your way.

RAID0 with two drives doubles your speed and capacity, but also the odds of data loss - if any RAID0 drive fails, it's all gone. RAID1 is the same data on two drives so the odds of data loss is halved but there's no increase in speed or capacity - except doubled read speed in some configurations, by reading in the same manner as RAID0.

The only advantage of a dedicated NAS is lower power usage, but it comes with a lot of downsides.

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
11/3/15 11:45 a.m.

Oh BTW, here's an interesting new RAID like system you might be interested in, BTRFS RAID:

https://btrfs.wiki.kernel.org/index.php/Using_Btrfs_with_Multiple_Devices

With this system you can effectively upgrade from RAID1 to 5/6 just by adding drives. This is new stuff so of course you should have a backup.

On that note, if you won't have a backup for this RAID array, don't use RAID, instead use one of the drives as a separate (external) backup. RAID only protects against individual drive failure, it does nothing for data corruption, accidental deletion, widespread hardware failure due to power surge/lightning, or (theoretically) viruses.

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
11/3/15 11:53 a.m.

For getting to your files remotely, it depends on what kind of access you need. If you need non-random "FTP style" access from other desktop/laptop computers, just use an SCP client. At least as secure as any VPN and much more simple.

RossD
RossD UltimaDork
11/3/15 12:05 p.m.

In reply to GameboyRMH:

Thanks for all this info. We have a three 120GB usb harddrives that will be put in the fire/document safe.

My next computer will probably be a Chromebook, so I think I might have undersold my remote usage.

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
11/3/15 12:35 p.m.

SCP/SFTP is still an option in Chrome OS:

http://www.linuxveda.com/2015/03/30/how-to-connect-chromebooks-to-your-server-with-sftp/

RossD
RossD UltimaDork
11/8/15 12:50 p.m.

So i have an old 20 gb and an old 200 gb IDE hard drives. I bought two 1 tb sata hard drives for RAID 1 but i cant get the bios to recognize them. The cd drive shows on one channel and the two old drives (cable select) on the other channel. The MoBo has two SATA (one says SATA2) ports and Id assume those would be channels 3 and 4. The bios was just updated and it didnt help in finding the two new drives. Any ideas?

I can deal without the having one of the two old HDDs if that would help.

RossD
RossD UltimaDork
11/8/15 12:57 p.m.

What should the jumper setup be for the SATA hdds?

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim UltimaDork
11/8/15 1:16 p.m.

SATA normally doesn't require jumper settings.

RossD
RossD UltimaDork
11/9/15 7:44 a.m.

I should be able to use all 4 channels, correct?

The SATA drives are here, any reason they wouldn't work with the older SATA ports on the MoBo?

RossD
RossD UltimaDork
11/9/15 1:50 p.m.

I'm considering grabbing a computer off of Craigslist. Any minimum specs to watch out for? I'd like to get a 64 bit machine as a minimum but after that I'm a bit lost on processors.

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
11/9/15 1:59 p.m.

For this kind of server duty, any modern desktop CPU is plenty enough.

If your SATA drives aren't even showing up in the BIOS, the only possibilities I can think of are a disabled SATA controller, bad drives, or a bad mobo. SATA controllers are fully backwards compatible, the newest controllers should work with the oldest drives. I think they're fully forward-compatible too, but speed would be limited.

For X86-based computers in general I recommend at least 2GB for a 32bit CPU (if you must buy one) or at least 4GB for a 64bit CPU. Your average modern OS won't do well with less.

RossD
RossD UltimaDork
11/9/15 2:41 p.m.

I found this one: http://appleton.craigslist.org/sys/5283977485.html Looks promising. Does $100 seem fair? As for mounting the two new drives in the case, I'm not afraid to drill some holes as long as I keep everything nice and clean. Nobody wants a short.

I wouldd probably install Debian or at least a dual boot.

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
11/9/15 5:58 p.m.

That's a decent price, but that PC only has 3 SATA ports and 2 are full from the factory, so you'll need a PCI or PCI-E SATA controller card to add more drives.

RossD
RossD UltimaDork
11/9/15 7:55 p.m.

Good point. I knew there was a good reason ask all these questions. Maybe i should just get a sata or raid pci card.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim UltimaDork
11/9/15 11:09 p.m.
GameboyRMH wrote: For this kind of server duty, any modern desktop CPU is plenty enough.

You don't even need that, although it's probably the cheapest way in. I just bought a "proper" server motherboard for my home server because I needed support for ECC RAM, and ended up with an 8 core Atom server motherboard (OK, the four core one would've been enough, but mo' cores mo' better, right?).

Our Preferred Partners
N9vzNxbBHCuVtgf8exL1lhsPxw3L4dMClQouEPL8aqNKZ0q4FP2pSYJRlz2RCHAG