LinuxQuestions.org
Share your knowledge at the LQ Wiki.
Go Back   LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Newbie
User Name
Password
Linux - Newbie This Linux forum is for members that are new to Linux.
Just starting out and have a question? If it is not in the man pages or the how-to's this is the place!

Notices


Reply
  Search this Thread
Old 01-06-2004, 11:36 AM   #1
Grafbak
Member
 
Registered: Jun 2003
Location: /dev/null
Distribution: Knoppix 3.3
Posts: 61

Rep: Reputation: 15
Question I want to build a fast file server


Hello everyone,

I have an old computer, 533 MHz P3, 128 MB memory and two Seagate Barracudas of 120 GB each.
Until now i have run Netware 5.1 on it as a fileserver, but that is just too much for the machine, since it is too slow. On a 100mbit network i get a measely 1.5 MB/sec.

I have everything backupped and want to build a file server using Linux.
I am looking for a very lightweight distribution that supports the 120 GB harddrives. (both IDE, no scary raid-things)

I am currently looking at BonZai, but i am not really sure about it. If I install it, it has to run for years, it is a nightmare to backup everything, I am pretty motivated doing this right the first time.

So here are my two questions :

-) Could anybody suggest such a lightweight distribution that supports Samba 3.0 and the two large harddrives ?

-) Should i add memory for the single purpose of this machine being a file server ? Will it make network traffic faster ?

Thank you for your answers !
 
Old 01-06-2004, 11:40 AM   #2
keegan
Member
 
Registered: Jan 2004
Distribution: Redhat WS and VectorLinux
Posts: 41

Rep: Reputation: 15
i got samba 3.0 working in VectorLinux in a matter of minutes. i dunno how it will support 2 big harddrives, though, i haven't tried it out.
 
Old 01-06-2004, 11:46 AM   #3
Grafbak
Member
 
Registered: Jun 2003
Location: /dev/null
Distribution: Knoppix 3.3
Posts: 61

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
Thank you i'll have a look at vectorlinux :-)
My main concern is the support for two large drives indeed. If i use the mk2fs -j it might work with ext3. But i have no experience in this field. If somebody has experience with this please tell me. It needs to be fast even when filled with 130 Gig of data.
 
Old 01-06-2004, 01:27 PM   #4
Whitehat
Senior Member
 
Registered: Feb 2003
Location: The Cold North
Distribution: SuSE 9.1
Posts: 1,289

Rep: Reputation: 46
You could always run the best Linux distribution out there - Slackware

www.slackware.com

I would say that Slackware 9.1 shouldn't have a problem with anything you have said.

As for memory, the minimum I would use would be 256. If you can, put 512MB in that bad boy. One of the largest mistakes people make is not enough RAM. You can have a 500MHz box with 1GB of RAM that will run as well as 800MHz box with 256MB of RAM (almost). Don't shaft your box on the amount of RAM

Peace,
Whitehat
 
Old 01-06-2004, 02:09 PM   #5
Grafbak
Member
 
Registered: Jun 2003
Location: /dev/null
Distribution: Knoppix 3.3
Posts: 61

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
Thank you for your advice, in the meantime i realized that when i remove novell 5.1 from this computer, i will also be missing my NDS-tree and entire rights system :-(

I have decided to buy some extra memory tomorrow, en to try out Slackware 9.1 (although it seems a high version number for such an old and slow pc)

I have read that i can use Samba as a domain controller for my windows pc's on the network. I can create user accounts and give rights to files and directories on the file server with Samba.

However is there a replacement for the NDS-tree that i can use under Linux ?
(edit: I know about eDirectory on Linux, but i am really looking for a free solution if possible here, it's just a hobby )

Last edited by Grafbak; 01-06-2004 at 02:12 PM.
 
Old 01-06-2004, 03:44 PM   #6
RobertP
Member
 
Registered: Jan 2004
Location: Manitoba, Canada
Distribution: Debian
Posts: 454

Rep: Reputation: 32
Quote:
Originally posted by Grafbak
I have decided to buy some extra memory tomorrow, en to try out Slackware 9.1 (although it seems a high version number for such an old and slow pc)
Three points:
1)Your machine will basically be moving data. It likely has a 33 MHz bus which can easily keep up with two IDE hard drives and amuse a 100 mb/s NIC. Your bus can move 100 megabytes/s easily. Your NIC can move maybe 10. Your drives can move 25 each. The bottleneck will be the NIC.

2)If you switch to gigabit NIC (they are becoming pretty cheap), the bottleneck will be the drives. In this case, you should do RAID, for the speed. RAID 1 (total 120 gB, mirroring) can allow you to read two files at one time, one from each drive and RAID 0 (total 240 gB, striping) can allow you to read part of each file from each drive. You can read both drives at the same time to get double the average transfer rate of one drive. With Mandrake or RedHat, you choose RAID at partitioning time. I am not sure how it is done in Slack...

3)Linux is great at caching data going to or from disc. If your mix of files involves many files frequently used, Linux will cache them if it has enough RAM. Going to/from RAM is a lot faster than going to/from the drives. Buy more RAM. Go gigabit. If you cannot afford gigabit everywhere, do it from your fileserver to a gigabit to 10/100 switch or install multiple 10/100 NICs. Then you can please several clients at one time and you will be a hero.

You will be amazed what that old box will do with Linux. Keep the running processes down in number. You want maximum horsepower for the processes actually moving your data (the drives do DMA).

Last edited by RobertP; 01-06-2004 at 03:50 PM.
 
Old 01-06-2004, 04:02 PM   #7
Grafbak
Member
 
Registered: Jun 2003
Location: /dev/null
Distribution: Knoppix 3.3
Posts: 61

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
Thank you Robert,

I will definitely try it with more memory and slackware 9.1. The motherboard doesn't support RAID unfortunately, but maybe i'll just buy a card for that.
Thnx again for all the help !
 
Old 01-06-2004, 08:14 PM   #8
Lost Penguin
Member
 
Registered: Feb 2003
Location: Orlando, FL
Distribution: 2.6.1-1.131smp on Fedora Core 1
Posts: 31

Rep: Reputation: 15
RAID....

Quote:
Originally posted by Grafbak
Thank you Robert,

I will definitely try it with more memory and slackware 9.1. The motherboard doesn't support RAID unfortunately, but maybe i'll just buy a card for that.
Thnx again for all the help !
If you just need a small server Linux can do a good software RAID.
I use Redhat (Fedora now)
Make sure the two hard drives are on separate ide cables (controller connections)
In the Redhat install (or Fedora) choose custom partition configuration.
Make the /boot primary partition about 100 MB on the first hard drive. (/dev/hda1)
Make a blank 100 MB primary partition on the second hard drive. (I do this for "balance")
Make software RAID primary partitions the size of your RAM on the first and second hard drive.
Make software RAID primary partitions with the space on both the first and second drives.
You should have 3 partitions on each drive at this point.
Choose create RAID
pick the RAM sized partitions and make /dev/md0 > swap space (RAID 0)
pick the remaining RAID partitions and make the /dev/md1 > / (RAID 0)
make /dev/hda1 into /boot

This will install a software RAID, I always use RAID 0 for speed.
"Real men backup their stuff to FTP sites, and let the world mirror them" <Linus>


/dev/hda1 = /boot
/dev/md0 = swap
/dev/md1 = / (the root)
 
Old 01-06-2004, 09:05 PM   #9
Tinkster
Moderator
 
Registered: Apr 2002
Location: in a fallen world
Distribution: slackware by choice, others too :} ... android.
Posts: 23,067
Blog Entries: 11

Rep: Reputation: 910Reputation: 910Reputation: 910Reputation: 910Reputation: 910Reputation: 910Reputation: 910Reputation: 910
Quote:
Originally posted by Grafbak
Until now i have run Netware 5.1 on it as a fileserver, but that is just too much for the machine, since it is too slow. On a 100mbit network i get a measely 1.5 MB/sec.
Hub or switch? Maybe the measly throughput is
due to collisions ;) [Ethernet is such a primitive
piece of ****]

Quote:
Originally posted by RobertPIn this case, you should do RAID, for the speed. RAID 1 (total 120 gB, mirroring) can allow you to read two files at one time, one from each drive and RAID 0 (total 240 gB, striping) can allow you to read part of each file from each drive.
There seems to be a misconception as to what
RAID-1 does for you :) ... it just does mirroring,
there's no performance boost. And RAID-0 ...
it's faster than two single drives, but if one of
them dies, all data is gone... As far as I'm
concerned the most sensible RAID would be a
RAID-5 system (speed & redundancy) which
most IDE systems can't provide.

Cheers,
Tink
 
Old 01-07-2004, 07:49 AM   #10
Grafbak
Member
 
Registered: Jun 2003
Location: /dev/null
Distribution: Knoppix 3.3
Posts: 61

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
I have been using my creativity on this box, and ended with an install of Knoppix, since cdroms and 3(!) linux bootfloppies were not recognized as bootable media. In my total despair i chose the "poor mans install" of Knoppix and to my surprise it is actually functioning pretty fast, even including KDE. I have been using Knoppix on a workstation for several months and i am finally beginning to get familiair with it.
As soon as i have submitted Samba to my will i plan to let it boot in text modus to gain speed.

I am charmed by the extra speed that a software raid might give me, however the bottleneck stays the NIC. I decided to buy an extra NIC for this, but even then the drives should keep up easily. I estimate that the maximum speed per NIC would be 9-10 MB/sec, so with two it would be around 20 mb/sec.

Extra memory is a pain, i know it is SDRAM, the motherboard is a SuperMicro Super 810, however i can still not identify the exact type of memory used. I will have to ask one of my hardware oriented friends for this. The typenumber refers to a hyundai chip, maybe i should just ask the guy in the computer store what i should use.

Question 1: does this second NIC need an extra ip-adress or is the load balancing automatically done by the operating system ?

Question 2: How can i determine the speed of my frontside bus in Knoppix/debian ? It is not shown during boot or dmesg. I think i need this parameter to further determine the memory-type. (SDRAM,pc100 or pc133)


thanx to this forum i am almost there !




edit : The switch used is a SafeWay 100mbit switch. I tested it with a friends pc and we got 9.2 MB/sec.

Last edited by Grafbak; 01-07-2004 at 07:52 AM.
 
Old 01-07-2004, 08:22 AM   #11
z_darius
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Nov 2003
Location: Canada
Distribution: Mandrake, e-smith
Posts: 27

Rep: Reputation: 15
Grafbak,

as fa as memory goes, just a reminder (in case you didn't realize): if you run the thing as a server make sure you don't boot into graphical interface. This alone may save you in the neighborhood of 40 megs of RAM.

You may also consider SME erver (formerly known as e-smith (http://e-smith.org). The distro is based on RH 7.3. It has a remote admin module (via browser) no GUI. Installation takes about 15 minutes from CD boot to final configuration. If you are interested in software RAID 1 then e-smith will do all the config. for you, but if you need other RAID types then it will support them only via hardware.

You can run this thing for around 200 to 300 users on the machine with your specs. I've been using this in the function of a file server at work to serve 45 people locally and 12 remotely using a P2@300MHz with 128MB of RAM and RAID1 (2 times 40 GB)
 
Old 01-07-2004, 11:39 AM   #12
Grafbak
Member
 
Registered: Jun 2003
Location: /dev/null
Distribution: Knoppix 3.3
Posts: 61

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
Z-darius, if you can handle that many clients and still stay up to speed, this e-smith distribution could very well be what i am looking for.

I am willing to try some distro's, everything is backed up. However i want to be finished on monday.
What i am actually looking for is a lightweight distro that supports samba 3.0 and the two large drives. That is actually all. So a text-based linux with configuration through a browser on the network seems like the thing i am looking for. I already tried Engarde Linux as well, but i do not get full options with Engarde ;-( It is a distro you have to pay for to get it all.

Since i did not yet put all my files back on the machine, it might be worth a try. I have heard about e-smith, downloaded it, but forgot all about it. Thanx for the reminder

The first thing that i want to do is run a speedtest with Knoppix, and after that i can do a speedtest with e-smith.
I will let you know if there was any difference.

(The expansion of memory seems to be difficult, as i have landed in the region single/double sided PC133. I bought two DIMM's , 256 mb each, but they gave me only half the memory they should have given me. I returned it, but I still have no extra memory )

Thank you for your suggestion

edit: I got samba to function this evening and ran my first test.

I got a 4,5 MB/sec write speed to the server, with KDE enabled on the server.
I got a 4,6 MB/sec with KDE disabled on the server
I got a 5,6 MB/sec over a cross-cable to the server and KDE disabled (so i removed the switch)

The very small difference in speed when i disabled KDE tells me that memory is not yet the bottleneck (i like to think). I killed all the KDE processes, starting with kdm.

The switch seems to make some difference , but i know i have seen a faster 100mbit network. I have already changed both send- and recvbuffer in samba to 8192.

I use cheap realtek compatible 10/100 NIC's that cost about 15 euro's, could this be a cause ? Do i need expensive but good quality 3Com cards to get speed ?

Should i try running netbios over udp in stead of tcp ?

I want to thank everybody who helped me so far, but if anybody could give me tips for better performance or has had the same problems, please let me know.





Last edited by Grafbak; 01-07-2004 at 06:32 PM.
 
Old 01-07-2004, 07:53 PM   #13
RobertP
Member
 
Registered: Jan 2004
Location: Manitoba, Canada
Distribution: Debian
Posts: 454

Rep: Reputation: 32
Question 1: does this second NIC need an extra ip-adress or is the load balancing automatically done by the operating system ?

Question 2: How can i determine the speed of my frontside bus in Knoppix/debian ? It is not shown during boot or dmesg. I think i need this parameter to further determine the memory-type. (SDRAM,pc100 or pc133)


thanx to this forum i am almost there !

Each NIC will need an IP address. How are IP addresses handled on your LAN? Static or dynamic are the two most common choices. If you are supplying a subnet with DHCP available, they get it automatically at boot. If you are creating your own subnet, you will have to give the one on the new subnet its own IP address. If each NIC is supplying a client, you give twice the throughput. If each NIC is plugged into the same switch, the benefit may be less.

your server NIC1 client1
NIC2 client2
 
  


Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Krusader is so fast!!! Try it (File Browser) shazam75 Linux - Software 1 06-10-2005 09:10 AM
How to build a rpm file from the source file? Flamenco Mandriva 5 12-22-2004 04:40 AM
.rpm file needed fast phreakazoid Linux - General 3 07-21-2003 10:05 PM
How fast does a file server have to be? Goatdemon Linux - Hardware 8 05-01-2003 11:37 PM
Fast file manager Stephanie Linux - General 7 08-15-2002 09:33 AM

LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Newbie

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:38 PM.

Main Menu
Advertisement
My LQ
Write for LQ
LinuxQuestions.org is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
Syndicate
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
Facebook: linuxquestions Google+: linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration