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I've recently decided to have a seperate box as a server which I can remote login to for access. The power of this server isn't really an issue it will just be a learning curve. I have priced up a £163 tower but have saw there are server boxes that are designed for precisely that.
What do you readers suggest?
You're still talking about hardware right? No need for a specific server-designed machine unless you need it. I'm running a mail server, web server, iptables firewall on a Athlon 800MHz with 576MB SDRAM that is also acting as a gateway and DHCP server for my local network and it's chugging along like a champ.
I was looking at building myself a 64bit server and I worked it out to around $350 for a complete box but I really don't think I'm going to need it. Also, check out qmailrocks.org when you're setting up your email server, that tutorial couldn't make it any easier
If all you want is an SSH server for you to log in remotely, you don't need to worry too much about the hardware--you won't be using that many resources. It will be lightly loaded.
At home, I'm running Apache/mod_perl, Postfix, DNS, (internal-only) SSH and (internal-only) Samba/NFS (for updating web pages) on a 500MHz AMD K6-2, and my load averages are minimal. On a separate 700MHz Duron, I'm running Asterisk, MySQL and SSH, and it's load averages are even lower. My desktop is a 700MHz Celeron which also serves as my SSH bastion host, and while it's load averages are higher, they drop significantly when I shut down X-Windows and XScreensaver.
In short, anything made in the last five years will be more than suitable for an SSH test server.
Another option, if you're not sure you want to sink money in to a server at home, would be a VPS host. You can find a cheap, basic VPS for $10-20/month with plenty of resources to play around with and learn the basics on. I had one for about 6 months with only 32mb of RAM, and was able to run OpenSSH, a web server (lighttpd), SMTP and IMAP for email, and log in to run mutt, naim and other console apps without trouble.
It's actually a pretty fun and interesting experience, since the limited resources force you to learn a bit more about the system so that everything can run harmoniously. If you're not certain about spending the money on a server, it's a good way to experiment for fairly cheap.
You could also try using an old machine and set taht up as a server while you play and learn the in's and out's of the thing. That is basically what I did and eventually I build a server with all the server gear hardware RAID, Rack case etc etc. At first, there is not much need to go and build a server until you know what you want and the best way to do taht is to set something up and play.
If you mean a local file server, I believe you can't go past NAS-Lite.
I run a 300MHz Celeron powered pre-Aptiva IBM PC 300 GL that matches my rebuilt Aptivas nicely with NAS-Lite as the OS.
It has three 80Gb IDE HDDs; I decided to keep the CD drive just in case I needed a Live distro to get me out of trouble. It has one stick of 64Mb SD RAM in it. Probably would work a bit faster with 128 but I'm content with it.
As someone else (I think) suggested, try an apache web server if you are after serving web pages. I run apache 1.3.xx with I think 17 virtual hosts (seperate websites) on the one server. This is online through opened ports in my router. The NAS-Lite doesn't have the ability to work through a firewall.
The apache too does not have to be high-tech; mine runs on an HP Vectra PII-400 with 192 megs of RAM; the machine doubles as six IRC clients, three of which are configured as (channel holding open) bots (robots). Obviously a web browser is useful as well as a few utilities.
If you'd like to talk about NAS-Lite, we should perhaps open another thread. It boots off a floppy and then runs in RAM; it comes in SMB and FTP forms, the floppy is different for the two versions. It is absolutely brilliant for an internal file server if everyone who uses it can be trusted because there is no login provision.
Last edited by eagles-lair; 05-15-2006 at 07:34 AM.
I run Apache 2.0.54/PHP/MySQl/SSH/Pure-FTP all on a Pentium 3 450Mhz machine with 384MB of RAM and a 12GB disk. I run SuSE 9.1. I use it to serve web based material to my classes at school: 30 kids downloading graphics at once and the delays are still minimal.
Win XP would hardly boot on the machine - Linux is fabulously efficient.