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Old 08-08-2007, 05:16 PM   #1
stromdal
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Question Need help choosing distro (and file system) for file server


I want to set up an inexpensive but highly reliable file server for my photos and movies/TV shows using a stable and reliable Linux distro. The photos CANNOT be allowed to disappear, while the movies and TV shows are replaceable. The "server" will be a dirt cheap PC (~US$150 for MB+CPU) with two high quality SATA disks in a RAID 1 configuration for storing the photos. I do not have the money to buy a RAID controller, so I will have to set up Linux to do software-based RAID. The operating system partitions will be on a separate HDD to keep things simple. To keep my photos as safe as possible, I wish to use a journalled file system. Backup of the photos will be done to an external USB2/FireWire/eSATA disk. The movies/TV shows are, like I said earlier, expendable, so I will use two simple external HDDs (USB2, FireWire or eSATA) for these.

To recap: A dirt-cheap Celeron D or Athlon 64-based PC with one small HDD for Linux installation, two big SATA HDDs in a SW RAID 1 configuration, one big, external USB2/FireWire/eSATA disk for backup and two big, external USB2/FireWire/eSATA disks for storing movies/TV shows (with no backup or RAID).

The computer will be used as a SAMBA domain controller and file server ONLY. No other applications will be running on this system. No GUI will be running.

I am new to Linux and love the simplicity (and HW support) of Ubuntu (I am posting this from an Ubuntu 6.06.1 LTS installation on a PowerMac G3 with a Microsoft wireless mouse - it just works). At the same time I want a STABLE server distro, perhaps Slackware or Trustix Secure Linux? The distro should support ext3 (alternatively ReiserFS or XFS), have support for software RAID and support eSATA and/or the FireWire card I own (SafeWay FireWire-PCI) - I assume "all" distros support SATA and USB2? And ofcourse it needs to support the motherboard I'm planning to buy (cheap MicroATX-board; I will ask the Linux HW forum for advise).

So, what say ye? What distro should I use?

I want to use ext3 because of it's low-risk journalled properties (both metadata and file contents are written to the journal before being committed to the main filesystem) as opposed to XFS and ReiserFS, which is metadata-journaling only. Any comments on this?

Can i use ext3 with journaling on my RAID disks and a faster (XFS? ext2?) file system on my two movie/TV show disks? And MS Windows-readable NTFS on my photo backup disk?

Best regards
Tord Stromdal, Linux newbie
 
Old 08-08-2007, 06:32 PM   #2
pljvaldez
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As for a stable server distro, you might look at Debian Etch (i.e. Debian Stable). It's about as stable as it comes and will be somewhat familiar to you having used Ubuntu, which is based on Debian Unstable. It's rock solid.

For file systems, you may need two partitions. I don't know much about filesystems, but I did find that for TV shows, ext3 was not as nice as xfs. xfs seems to work much better on large file sizes. I have a MythTV box at home and when I wanted to delete a TV show (an hour of TV is ~ 2.2 GB), it seemed to take forever (i.e. minutes) on ext3. It was a few seconds on xfs.

Sorry I couldn't be more help.
 
Old 08-10-2007, 10:46 AM   #3
stromdal
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Thank you for your reply, pljvaldez.

XFS being faster than ext3 is not a surprise; XFS is, if I'm not mistaken, considered to be one of the fastest file systems out there, especially for larger files. ext3 is somewhat slow, especially for big files and ESPECIALLY if using (full) journaling. ReiserFS is supposed to be as fast as, or slightly faster than, XFS for small files.

When it comes to distros I'll certainly keep Debian in mind.
 
Old 08-10-2007, 11:59 PM   #4
jacook
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ATMission:
http://www.atconsultancy.nl/atmission/

It has everything you need, and very easy to use

Jake
 
  


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