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Old 09-09-2011, 12:20 PM   #1
Merlyn
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Question Advice on a general home machine


Hi,

Please could you give me some advice for a machine for general home use.

I'm thinking of buying a Dell Zino: (http://www.dell.com/uk/p/inspiron-zino-hd-410/pd)

I want to put ubuntu on it and plug it into my TV.
I want to use it to serve all my data.
I'd also like to vpn into it from an Android tablet.
What device would I need to get that I can plug into it, that I can use to store a lot of data and will back up itself?

The data I want to store will be:
backups of my dvds
mp3s of my cd collection
Family pictures and films.

Would someone advise something I can easily set up and I'll know it's safely storing and backup up my data?

Thanks for reading,

M
 
Old 09-10-2011, 04:52 AM   #2
dudeman41465
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I'll describe mine so you can get an idea of what kind of setup works pretty good, at least for me, then we'll go from there.

I use an old Dell desktop PC with Debian Linux on it. I run Apache to host public files and a family website. I run proftpd to host FTP folders for remote file transfer, and I run SSH for remote login and administration. All of the files are actually hosted on a 1 TB external hard drive, and with my next paycheck they will be backed up via "dd" to a 2 TB backup drive. The server is also plugged into my television so I can log into it locally and watch movies on the big screen. There's a package called "gnome-schedule" I believe that is basically a GUI for cron that allows you to schedule jobs to run at specified times. So you could build your own backup script, and then schedule that script to run at a given interval.

What is the goal you're trying to accomplish with VPN from your Android device? To access your files, or to get to other computers on your home network?

Last edited by dudeman41465; 09-10-2011 at 04:53 AM.
 
Old 09-10-2011, 07:05 AM   #3
cascade9
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Dell says 1TB max HDD size, and 1TB isnt that much storage space if you want to keep backups of all your DVDs, CDs and your family pics and videos. Since its a 'mini' system that only has space for 1HDD, you wont be able to install more HDDs to increase yoru space either. You will also be paying for a copy of windows you might not want or need.

Considered buying a 'while box' (non-corporate system), building your own, or getting a system built for you?

As for backups, theres a few things you can use. Probably the easiest would be to backup to external HDDs.

Last edited by cascade9; 09-11-2011 at 07:49 AM. Reason: typo
 
Old 09-10-2011, 07:13 AM   #4
rokytnji
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Quote:
building your own
Not sure if this is relevant for a UK user. Just posting for info. Seems expandable and you can install what you want.

http://www.smartestcomputing.us.com/...200-dollar-pc/

Edit: Just realized your profile said Washington.

Last edited by rokytnji; 09-10-2011 at 07:14 AM. Reason: Location mistake.
 
Old 09-10-2011, 08:07 AM   #5
syg00
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An old maxim goes along the lines of
Quote:
good, fast, cheap ...

Pick any two ...
You always have to compromise.
 
Old 09-11-2011, 02:59 PM   #6
Merlyn
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Hi,

Thanks for all the replies.

I am in the UK, not Washington.
I've built PC's in the past and don't have a problem doing it now, however, my problem is time. I don't have the time to spend doing that. I'm happy to pay extra for a pre-built computer and just drop Linux on it. I'm probably going to go with Ubuntu, unless someone can persuade me an alternative media serving distro would be better. Again, I'm going to go with the quickest and easiest solution.

1TB isn't that big a drive for films, music and photos, but I want the Dell Zino, because of it's small form factor. I would be plugging in an external data storage device for the media. This is that part of the solution that I'd like a recommendation the most for. On Mac and Windows there's the Drobo. I've never used one, but from what I understand, it's something I'd like under Linux. You can quickly and easily swap out harddrives, if you start to run out of space and it's backing itself up if there's disk failure. So I'm looking for something the same as that.

I want to VPN, from my android tablet, because I'd be plugging the pc into my TV and on an evening, my wife will want to watch the tv, so I will need an alternative means of accessing the pc.

Thanks again for your comments!

M
 
Old 09-11-2011, 03:50 PM   #7
jefro
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That may work but not really better as a product, there are many on the market that offer similar value and performance. This product uses a lot of power. See if you can get by with one of the Atom based products.

Your question was "safely storing and backup up my data" would lead me to some process that includes regular backups or hardware raid.

I'd consider that same amount for a SAN that has an array built in. Much less power used but you can't plug them into your tv.
 
Old 09-16-2011, 02:11 PM   #8
cascade9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Merlyn View Post
1TB isn't that big a drive for films, music and photos, but I want the Dell Zino, because of it's small form factor. I would be plugging in an external data storage device for the media. This is that part of the solution that I'd like a recommendation the most for. On Mac and Windows there's the Drobo. I've never used one, but from what I understand, it's something I'd like under Linux. You can quickly and easily swap out harddrives, if you start to run out of space and it's backing itself up if there's disk failure. So I'm looking for something the same as that.
I think you mean this drobo-

http://drobo.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drobo

Looks like there is some support for drobo with linux, but not as much as I would like (considering drobo uses a linux kernel, it would have been polite to support *nix fully)-

http://support.drobo.com/app/answers...VkExT2VmRWs%3D

The prices on the drobos are quite high as well, $500+ US for a model with an ethernet port (without HDDs). The models without an ethernet port are pretty much 'DAS' (Direct attached storage) so you need to be connected to a computer with the control software directly. The ethernet models are more like NAS (Network attached storage) or SAN (Storage area network) devices.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Merlyn View Post
I've built PC's in the past and don't have a problem doing it now, however, my problem is time. I don't have the time to spend doing that. I'm happy to pay extra for a pre-built computer and just drop Linux on it. I'm probably going to go with Ubuntu, unless someone can persuade me an alternative media serving distro would be better. Again, I'm going to go with the quickest and easiest solution.
If you get a drobo with an ethernet port, you should be able to access your files over a network from any computer. You wouldnt need a 'server'.
 
Old 09-16-2011, 04:03 PM   #9
frieza
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well here's mine

Code:
black enlight case
enlight 650W psu
GIGABYTE ga-ma78gm-s2h mainboard
AMD Phenom(tm) 9550 Quad-Core Processor
4GB RAM
NVIDIA gforce 8500GT (has a composite and s-video out)
DVD ROM
DVD BURNER
850GB combined HD space
Quote:
I want to put ubuntu on it and plug it into my TV.
any NVIDIA video card with a video/s-video out should work and UBUNTU has a nice little utility for downloading the appropriate proprietary driver, trust me, NVIDIA works great with linux, ATI... not as well.

Quote:
I want to use it to serve all my data.
privately or publically?
privately, look into hamachi, publicly? apachi web server or proftpd (or comperable)

Quote:
I'd also like to vpn into it from an Android tablet.
not sure if there is hamachi for android or not, but there might be

Quote:
What device would I need to get that I can plug into it, that I can use to store a lot of data and will back up itself?
any sufficiently sized external hard drive will do, trust me, get a bare bones external that doesn't come with proprietary software to use it (which will probably only work with windows or mac anyways)
to get it to back up itself, use CRON to schedule backups regularly

Last edited by frieza; 09-16-2011 at 04:04 PM.
 
Old 09-18-2011, 02:44 AM   #10
cascade9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frieza View Post
any NVIDIA video card with a video/s-video out should work and UBUNTU has a nice little utility for downloading the appropriate proprietary driver, trust me, NVIDIA works great with linux, ATI... not as well.
Finding cards with composite video output is getting pretty hard these days. Even s-video is hard...you'll only find composite or s-video on 'obsolete' nVidia and ATI/AMD cards.

HDMI its the best option, s-video is better than composite. What you would need will depend on your TVs inputs.
 
  


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