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williefda 03-09-2011 09:34 AM

Linux Home Server
Hi all, I'm Willie, and I am trying to set up a Home Server for my family (8 people).
We have 9 computers, including the server, most of them with windows XP, Vista and 7. My laptop has also optional booting into Ubuntu Linux.
I'm doubting about the Operating System for the server. I have Windows Home Server V1 (not installed yet), but I'm guessing that I could be better off using Linux.
My problem is that my knowledge of Linux and of server software is very basic (I'm a total newbie). I would need kind of clear tutorials to be able to set up and manage my server.
Any suggestion would be greatly appreciated.

wpeckham 03-09-2011 12:54 PM

Home Server
To decide this question properly, it helps to have some experience and know more than you have stated about the home (and family) involved. To configure a server for your home you will have to consider "what will you use the server for?", "how heavily will the server be loaded?", "what services will be needed?", "what services will be running to support the server's functions?", and "what services will be most critical?", "what is the budget allowance and/or resources available?", among other things.
Come to think, these are pretty much the questions you ask before planning a business server deployment.
If you have no idea where you are going, it makes it pretty difficult to plan effectively.
There are Linux distributions and packages specifically designed to provide the standard services for a small family or office environment, but it is not clear to me if one would be appropriate for your use.
Can you provide more detail about your expectations for this server?

williefda 03-10-2011 04:00 PM

Hi wpeckham, thanks for answering.

I want the server for several things, all of them common, I think.

First of all, a central place to keep safe all our personal files (important or otherwise).

Second, a common repository for pictures and video files. That means that streaming audio and video will be a part of the requirements too.

Maybe also the capability of function as proxy server for the LAN.

Last, but not least, the capability of backing up the computers in the LAN, not only the files, but also the systems. I would like to be able to recover from scratch the system disk of any computer in the LAN.

Those things (or most of them) can be done, as far as I know, with Windows Home Server. I would prefer, though, a solution in the open source world. My question is: Is it possible to do the same things with Linux without the need to be a Linux guru?

I can follow instructions and learn things, if needed. After all, my background is in computers. Totally old school though. I studied Assembler, Cobol, Fortran and Algol back in the seventies. My problem is time. I cannot dedicate a lot of time to this, so it has to be reasonably simple.


P.S.: I forgot to say that the server's load won't probably be very heavy. Maybe at times for the streaming video part.

wpeckham 03-11-2011 11:07 AM

Home Server
Using SAMBA, Linux makes a better network storage server than any Windows (given the same iron).

It is also possible to easily add music streaming or jukebox capability. I have not done video streaming, so I am less sure about that.

As far as "cold iron" restore of Windows clients, that has always been a problem. I have never seen it solved well. Even in the Unix world, only IBM has made it simple (and there is a COST for that). If MS HOME SERVER solves that, it may be worthwhile for that function alone: I cannot say.

I do know that there are FILE BACKUP solutions (both atomic, and client-server) under Linux that can back up windows servers. The best whole-machine windows backup I have seen is software intended to create a virtual machine from a physical workstation.

I use virtual windows machines hosted on linux servers specifically because they can be exported as a loadable appliance for backup and disaster recovery purposes. I suspect that solution would not fit your need well.

I hope someone chimes in with more detail on the part of your question I cannot address.

szboardstretcher 03-11-2011 11:37 AM


Originally Posted by wpeckham (Post 4287111)
Using SAMBA, Linux makes a better network storage server than any Windows (given the same iron).

I love FreeNas, but I'd have to disagree. Windows sets up as a network storage server, with media sharing, etc, etc... allows sharing between Televisions and Xboxes and all that, in its default setup. To do this with Linux, can be a long and arduous process. So,.. I think it boils down to what you want, how fast you want it, and how much time you want to invest.

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