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Old 01-05-2011, 02:25 AM   #1
Registered: Jun 2002
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server setup advice on raid and encryption

I've decided to try and set up a simple home server with debian. I can either install the OS on a compact flash card and use hard disks as storage, or just install everything on the hard disk.

I'd also like to set up a software raid for mirroring. I've never done this before, and most recently updated documentation i've found is for ubuntu. Any advice or good links someone can point me to on how to set up raid?

Lastly I'd like to encrypt my hard disks but I don't know what my options are. It seems like people point to truecrypt, but i'm wondering what else is out there or if people have any advice on this. Would it be feasible to do this if I install the OS on a compact flash card and?
Old 01-05-2011, 02:45 AM   #2
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I've never doen the encryption part but your raid setup varies. What raid type do you want and what type off hardware do you have. It is always recommend to have a raid card but a software raid can work i think with reduced performance though. You can you raid to increace I/O, redundancy, or both. For production servers best setup in my opinion is a raid 10 (requireds 4+ hard drives) with 10-15k RPM Hard drives but if you don't expect to have much traffic then raid 1 which the hard drives mirror each other (requires 2 hard drives) giving you redundancy.

Here is a site that may better your understanding on raids

Need more information to better help you.
Old 01-05-2011, 04:30 AM   #3
Registered: Jun 2002
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I'm using really simple hardware. I'm using a MSI nettop ( which does not have hardware RAID so I'm forced to use software raid. It's small, doesn't use too much power, and just for me to use. I plan to use it for my personal version control server, maybe a webserver for myself, and also a fileserver.

Ideally I'd like to have RAID 1 especially since I can only have 2 hard disks in this thing.

What other information would be helpful?
Old 01-05-2011, 05:00 AM   #4
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I would recommend that you configure the software RAID-1 when you install the server. It is much easier and less trouble prone than trying to create it after the fact. Also this will ensure that mdadm gets built into your ram image for support from the start. This will add a small amount of complexity to the partitioning process. I use this very same technique on one of my servers to provide mirroring of the HD and from what I can tell, it works very well. Based upon your usage description, I don't think you will have any problems. You are clearly not in what would typically be considered a "production" use case. I would also recommend that you just go ahead and put the entire system on the hard drive and forget the compact flash cards for two reasons. First, hard drives are very reliable and don't suffer from write/erase limitations which can be problematic for flash as as OS because the same sectors will tend to get hit a lot. Second, if you mirror your drives and make them both bootable, you will be able to fully boot and run your system with only one drive should you need.

When you perform the install, you will need to partition your drives. I don't recall the exact process, but when you do this, select that you want to make a raid partition. It will then ask you which devices to add to the raid and the type of raid you want. The process is quite straight forward, but you may need to do a little trial and error.From there you can create the various partitions for your server. You may want to make separate root and home partitions but this really doesn't matter. You should create a swap partition though. When I created mine, I made a small swap partition at the top of both drives (they are identical mirrors). The easiest way to go is to make one large raid 1 partition, mount it as /. Unless you plan to install multiple distributions or something this will be fine.


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