$200 Home Server?

A friend of mine has decided to put together a home server running Microsoft’s Windows Home Server software. There may be a lot of reasons for using Microsoft’s offering. I’ve also decided to build a home server but I’m going to try CentOS, a Red Hat Enterprise Edition based Linux, instead.

Not being in any rush and rather than downloading the six CDs worth of data, I ordered the CDs from OSDisc.com. I chose them because they support DistroWatch.com and because they are fast and relatively low cost ($11.95USD for the CDs and $4.85 for priority US mail shipping).

In addition, I have learned that I don’t need an enterprise class server from IBM for my home needs. All I want is someplace to store files and maybe, eventually, serve as a host for my website.

As it so happens, a website had a recent article on assembling a $200 PC using an Intel D201GLY2 motherboard, 1GB of Kingston RAM, and a Western Digital hard drive. I’ve decided to substitute a Seagate drive and adding a cheap enclosure but otherwise am following the list above. I’ve ordered everything from Amazon (free shipping, included rather
than NewEgg’s very expensive alternatives for Hawaii) and the parts are starting to come in (although the motherboard is backordered for two weeks).

In addition to the list above, I have an old optical drive laying around that will be used so that I can install the CentOS software.

The Intel motherboard includes the Celeron 220 Conroe-L CPU so this will not be a screamer. And if you are thinking HTPC, think again as the board uses an SiS chipset that is not Linux friendly. That said, it should be good enough for what I want to do – act as a file server and maybe web host.

If that doesn’t work out, all I loose is $200 bucks, which is less than what I pay in hosting costs each year.


6 responses to “$200 Home Server?

  1. Check out FreeNAS. Specifically designed for
    file serving. FREE.

  2. So you don’t go for the type of box we are now installing at work? ^_^
    ( http://www/swijsen.net/cal/current.html#05 )

    The home-server thing is just a marketing ploy by MS. Mut I am sure hardware vendors love it. Any one who actually needed a home server was already running one, usualy a prior generation desktop role-cast into serving. But now that MS puts the term ‘home server’ up they can sell extra copies of Windows and hardware shops can sell new boxes to an otherwise ignorant flock of customers. You may dislike it’s products but you must admire its marketing and it’s ability to create new markets.

    ps I am running a home server to. It’s an early AMD Athlon box, 0.5GB ram, five disks (total just over 300GB). And it runs Win98.

  3. Doug:

    Thanks for the comment. I happened to check out FreeNAS prior to choosing CentOS but chose not to use it for two reasons. First, FreeNAS has not reached the 1.0 level yet. As of this writing, it is at version 0.686. I think it self-evident that I don’t want to use software that is still in the beta stage for storing data.

    The second reason is that I eventually want to use the server to host my website. I’m not sure, but I don’t think FreeNAS is setup to do that.

    On the CentOS side, it was designed from the beginning to be strong enough for enterprise use and is now in version 5.1.

    That all said, I haven’t used a Red Hat based Linux in years because of dependency problems that Debian-based distros have solved long ago. So, if CentOS doesn’t work out, I may be looking for something else.

    Mahalo and Aloha,


  4. Sjon:

    Ack! An IBM AS400. Yah, that makes a good home server πŸ™‚ It also does a pretty good job of keeping the house nice and cozy during winter. πŸ˜‰

    Aloha – Dan

  5. Actually that AS400 doesn’t push out anything compared to the Blade Servers from HP that we have. Each blade blows out as much air and as hot as a serious hair-blowdrier. And there are eighteen blades. Compared to them the AS400 is almost silent and particulary cool.

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