View Full Version : Looking for advice on putting together a home network and server

12-12-2011, 12:01 PM
So I've been thinking about doing this for a long time, and it's getting to be time to do it. Currently, in my house there's a desktop computer for the whole family, a laptop for me to do business and personal stuff on, a netbook my wife uses for grad school and Skyping, a couple smartphones, a Wii and two TiVo boxes, one of which is so old it doesn't believe in wifi or thinks it's a fad.

We have cable internet, TV and home phone service, so there's a cable modem in my den connected to a fairly crappy Netgear router, from which everything but the desktop is connected wirelessly. We stream Netflix thru the Wii because even hard-wired, Netflix hangs when trying to stream a movie thru the newer TiVo box.

I'm planning to buy a big laptop to replace the desktop, but while the desktop isn't anywhere near new, it still works despite all the efforts of my kids to destroy it with spyware-laden spam games. What I'd like to do is use it as a RAID server and firewall, routing all our internet traffic thru it and automatically backing up our various other computers to it. Maybe even use it as a media hub for music, I don't know. The point is, I'm out of my depth with this. For reference, the last time I built a computer I installed Wondows 95.

I'm pretty sure I saw a thread on DLP where someone (nonjon?) laid out exactly how he built a RAID server, but for the life of me I can't find that thread now. I've searched and gone thru a ton of other threads, so if you know where this is, please direct me to it. Alternatively, if you have a link to somewhere else that includes a step-by-step (preferably with pics) tutorial on doing this, that would be greatly appreciated.

Eventually, I'd like to use Ubuntu for the server's OS, but as of now, I'm only starting to toy with Linux so that's down the road. I've always used Windows, so for the time being, I suppose that's what I'll use. I'm not planning to go with more than two drives for the backup system to start with, but if all goes well, I might add a couple drives in future. I'd also like to use this setup as a VPN if possible, but I don't want to get too far ahead of myself.

I think it goes without saying that if I'm making some bonehead assumptions here, please tell me before I make a huge fuck-up. I'm excited about this undertaking, but until I get my head around exactly what the undertaking involves, I'm holding off.

Help me, DLP Kenobi! You're my only hope!

12-14-2011, 09:10 AM
Apparently Vader has already struck down DLP Kenobi.

So anyway, is there anyone who has some helpful advice on this project? Can I reconfigure my old desktop to function as a firewall and RAID/media server, without being a network god?


12-14-2011, 11:21 AM
Considering no one else steps up ...

Regarding the router/firewall: That's definitely possible, yes, with Linux. I once considered setting something like that up myself (on a Pentium I 133, you didn't need more) and read up on it, however (and that is why I didn't respond :p) that was ~ten years ago, so the information is outdated like fuck, and I forgot most of it. I vaguely recall you need two network cards, and it was some kind of mini-Linux, only usable for the routing/firewall stuff, but easy to set up for that reason. I should assume it still works, though, and with real Linux distributions as well. The best advice I can give you is googling and trying to find step-by-step tutorials, that's what I did.

Edit: Something like this (http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/5826), with LRP (http://www.mn-linux.org/meetings/pastnotes/lrp_intro.html). The article is from 2002, so that about fits. And it's only a router, mind.

As for the media server, that too is possible, I think I remember reading about it -- and in any case, you can buy those, so everything says that should work.

So all in all, not really helpful, sorry (except telling you it's possible in theory, which you probably knew yourself) :?