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Old 08-06-2014, 01:08 AM   #1
edbarx
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Setting up a Debian file server.


I have an old computer (P4 HT 1GB) collecting dust which I want to use for a file server. The problem is that I have no idea what I have to search for and that my searches are resulting in too many links perplexing me even more. It seems the word "server" has attached to it many technical meanings that searching is futile if I don't be more specific.

My aim is as simple as setting up a home server where I can save and retreive my files, especially huge fsarchiver files. However, I still want to keep it as secure as GNU/Linux technology permits.

Thanks for any helpful pointers.

Last edited by edbarx; 08-06-2014 at 01:09 AM.
 
Old 08-06-2014, 01:16 AM   #2
evo2
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Hi,

fileservers like this usually export their files via samba or nfs. Unless all your clients are GNU/Linux you probably want to use samba. So you could try searching for "linux samba server howto".

Alternatively, start here: http://debian-handbook.info/browse/s...ith-samba.html

HTH,

Evo2.
 
Old 08-06-2014, 01:35 AM   #3
edbarx
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Thanks for the link. However, I need to understand the basics behind a server, otherwise, I will be like a parrot repeating commands that I don't understand. These questions are important to me, otherwise, I will not be capable to put things into a logical perspective.
i) What is a server?
ii) How does it work?
iii) How does it defend itself from network attacks?
iv) How does it communicate with its clients?

Executing commands that I don't understand what consequences they can have, discourages me. In other words, I need to understand the logic behind the theory.
 
Old 08-06-2014, 01:50 AM   #4
evo2
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Hi,
Quote:
Originally Posted by edbarx View Post
Thanks for the link. However, I need to understand the basics behind a server, otherwise, I will be like a parrot repeating commands that I don't understand. These questions are important to me, otherwise, I will not be capable to put things into a logical perspective.
Ok, good.
Quote:
Originally Posted by edbarx View Post
i) What is a server?
A "server" is any computer that provides a "service".

Quote:
Originally Posted by edbarx View Post
ii) How does it work?
Typicall a service listens on a port (or ports) and xlients connect to it to communicate with the server... requests are made, data is transferred etc.
Quote:
Originally Posted by edbarx View Post
iii) How does it defend itself from network attacks?
Services should use defensive coding, sanitise input etc. Servers should only listen on specific ports and only provide services that are actually needed, and only to specific networks etc (eg using firwalls and/or tcp wrappers).
Quote:
Originally Posted by edbarx View Post
iv) How does it communicate with its clients?
Typically over TPC or UDP

Quote:
Originally Posted by edbarx View Post
Executing commands that I don't understand what consequences they can have, discourages me.
You should never blindly execute commands. You should at least briefly review their associated documentation.
Quote:
Originally Posted by edbarx View Post
In other words, I need to understand the logic behind the theory.
I think you need to do some general background reading. I don't have a link to an appropriate source on hand.

Evo2.
 
Old 08-06-2014, 02:09 AM   #5
edbarx
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Thanks, that is already some background. So, I know what to look for and what to read.
 
Old 08-06-2014, 11:50 PM   #6
propofol
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I used to use an old Dell P4 but it did use a lot of power ( this is an issue since a 24/7 server is more useful) & the other problem was a lack of SATA ports.
If you are not streaming multiple videos, a Raspberry Pi may be worth looking at as a cheap, low power option. Have a look at: http://theurbanpenguin.com/wp/?p=2415 if you would like to provide access to Windows PCs as well. Other options are nfs (better for sharing with other Linux PCs) & sshfs (nice for sharing outside a home network since it is encrypted). For a media server, have a look at minidlna.
 
Old 08-08-2014, 05:35 PM   #7
edbarx
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The more I am reading the more I am getting confused as new questions crop up. Since there are many different situations that can be served remotely from a serving computer (server), it means, conceptually, there are as many different servers as one can imagine. I think, a server is essentially a daemon running on a remote computer which listens to a network interface for service requests. For instance, a file server, the thing I need, is a daemon which listens for file requests and serves these requests by locating the requested files and uploading them to the client. So, I imagine a server should have a configuration file telling it how to communicate with the outside world. I also think there should be an agreed way to make sense of the network nodes where the server and client are located so that they can communicate. My logic also dicates to me that a server and a client must agree on a language through which they communicate.

Am I right? However, the golden question is how in reality the various aspects of a server are implemented?

Last edited by edbarx; 08-08-2014 at 05:37 PM.
 
Old 08-08-2014, 10:47 PM   #8
frankbell
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I think you are overthinking this.

A server is any computer or process running on a computer that provides a service that can be accessed by other computers. If I want to ssh into this computer here, I must run the ssh server program on this computer here. If I want to access files in shared directories on this computer here, I have to run a program (service or daemon) that allows me to access files in shared directories on this computer here.

When you say "server" to a hardware manufacturer, the hardware manufacturer is going to think of some machine with massive resources that can support hundreds or thousands of simultaneous connections on the hardware level. But, for a home file server, pretty much any computer with reasonable hardware will do. For my own home file server, I use a Dell 4700 P4 with 4GB RAM running Debian Sid with several terabites of external storage on USB hard drives. All my other computers also have "server" capability, as they all are have at least one shared directory accessible over my home network.

Use Samba.

Follow this guide. (PDF here.)

Last edited by frankbell; 08-08-2014 at 10:50 PM.
 
  


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