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Advice on server build for file storage, file sharing, web access and possibly more

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Hello guys,


I haven’t been active in forums much, but now wanna use this as a way of looking for advice. Please excuse any noob-ish mistakes.


initial situation:


- 3 users in 3 different locations .... that’s why web access will be a major factor

- my connection (where the server will be located) : 500mbit/s down - 50mbit/s up

- other users: about 100mbit/s down - 10-20mbit/s up


- every user should be able to upload images which preferably can be organized in some kind of program and can also all be accessed by everyone

- every user should also be able to use the server as a backup for different PCs (both Windows and Mac) and use it as general file sharing

- I do have experience in building desktop PCs and have a generally good knowledge of hardware

- I don’t have old hardware laying around to reuse

- budget preferably around the 500€ range or less, but possibly more if necessary and worth it
- noise and power efficiency are a concern



Self build or get something pre build like a Synology “xyz”

I’m thinking self build can save me money, it’ll be fun cause I like tech and it can be adapted to my purpose better and can be expanded better.


- is what I am looking for possible to achieve?

- How much storage would make sense? For how much more does one plan?

- what about zfs and raid?

- I know raid isn’t a backup, so how would I realize a backup for the server data itsself? Or rather when is another level of backup necessary?

- what kind of OS would be used? I heard of plenty of options like freenas, Ubuntu, windows server, unraid...... Do different OSs affect power consumption and CPU requirements significantly or all the all kinda equal?

- How does one choose/decide on an OS?

- server or consumer hardware? I’ve a lot more knowledge of consumer hardware and would kinda prefer that because of that I guess. But tell me otherwise if beneficial.

- how much CPU power is necessary? Since I read in multiple threads, that once you have a server one will keep adding features and use it more and more for different applications I don’t wanna limit the future usability by getting a too weak CPU. From what I can gather something along the lines of a quad core should suffice!?

-  how much ram does a server need for my basics tasks? what would be future proof? How does one estimate the ram needs of a server in general?

- do I need a gpu/apu? Or rather how do the GUIs of the different OSs work?

- Do I need to worry about security when thinking about web access and so on?

- the connection of the users and me are sufficient once the biggest chunks of data have been loaded onto the server from what I can tell. Incremental PC backups should and occasional photo uploads shouldn’t be too slow.

- read and write speeds won’t need to be top of the line, since over the web the connections petty much cap out around 6,25 mb/s right? so I would only need to consider my local network speed which is 1 Gbit/s if any I guess.

- when does an ssd cache make sense?

- I read a lot about VMs. What can be VMs be used for? When does using one make sense? How much more CPU and RAM would implementing VMs require?

- what other server applications are most common and useful for private use?

Sorry for the wall of text. I thought about this topic for quite a while now and also read many different threads. I hope my questions are clear and make sense. I’d be very grateful for any advice and tips I can get.

Thanks a lot to everyone in advance!













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Hi musicbreaker


From what I'm reading here I would opt for a ready-made NAS enclosure from Qnaps of Synology.


From my personal experience, Synology offers ease of use, reliability and is quite cost effective. All come with it's own system (Linux distro running inside your browser) with a plethora of apps to use. You can easily surround yourself with few regular apps you use to upload/download content to your machines/mobile devices without a need of a sys-admin degree. It takes a few evenings to figure everything out, but I found that they are not only relatively easy to set up, but most importantly perhaps, super reliable once you get there. 


I understand the urge to build your own setup - I find tinkering quite interesting myself, but when it comes to my data, I am keen to rely on reliable devices, built by pro's. 


Look at 2-bay setups perhaps. One of those puppies plus a couple of 3-4 GB hard drives would most likely satisfy your budget. Considering your main data traffic would revolve around image upload/download, you do not need that much processing power - that at lest is what I got from your post. Also, setting them up in Raid 1 for full redundancy would be an idea, as images tend not to take up too much space (forgive my ignorance, if that's not the case here). 


Food for thought. I hope it helps you in some way.   





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