Monthly Archives: January 2013

Home Server – What do I want?

What service do I want to run on my Home Server?

I do have a NAS already which has the following services: File Sharing (Samba, AFS and NFS), Media Streaming Server (DLNA), VPN Server, Cloud Sync Repository. So I do not intend to have redundant services on my Home Server. What is left?

My Home Server could support:

  • Backup: Having a proper backup of all important files from the NAS and our laptop. Implementations: rdiff-backup, Box Backup, fwbackups*, duplicity*, rsnapshot or storeBackup.
  • (N)-IDS: As I have services open to the internet, I want to take some precautions and check that no exploits is taken advantage of. I am not sure this is enough, but it is the least I can do. Implementations: AIDE or Suricata.
  • DNS cache/server: I am thinking of hosting my own DNS server to perform some caching and hopefully enhance a bit the browsing experience in terms of performance. Though I would need to benchmark this to make sure I have any gain as I suspect my old router to do some caching. Implementation: dnsmasq.
  • DHCP server: My home router is a Netgear WG614 and its features for what concern DHCP are fairly limited, having my home server addressing this issue is a nice idea (until we get a better router). I could be even tightly coupled with the DNS server (see earlier bullet point) so that one could use hostname within the local network. Implementation: dnsmasq.
  • Syslog server
  • Maybe – ownCloud: maybe one day I would prefer to use an open source solution for Cloud Sync rather than the closed source one from my NAS vendor.

*: FreeBSD support is uncertain.

As one can see, I could use Linux or BSD based OS or a mixture. However, ZFS is so compelling that I am seriously considering to go for FreeBSD+jails and basta cosi! February will be the month where I try to set-up a FreeBSD server.

My Future Home Server – Part 2

I am experimenting with different OS to find the right settings for my Home Server. I was interested by Fedora especially because there are several “Red Hat” technology which I would like to use on my server, namely: oVirt and virt-manager. Furthermore it sports a recent Linux Kernel (3.7 as of this writing) which could be beneficial if I choose Btrfs for the underlying file system.

However, testing the upgrade path from Fedora 17 to Fedora 18, I am not so thrilled by the robustness of this OS. I have managed after painfully hitting 3 different blocking bugs to recover from the upgrade and have a nice Fedora 18 up and running. But this gave me little trust in the Q&A of the community. It seems that it is not the first time such problems happen (see Fedora 11).

I am still willing to give a go to Fedora. But out of precaution, I am going to experiment first with Ubuntu (for which I had since 2006 only once an upgrade problem). I want to see the state of oVirt and virt-manager on this OS before I am making any choice.

Or maybe I forget entirely about Linux based OS, and I go for FreeBSD with several jails instead of using virtualisation. Though I would need to check the state of technologies like ownCloud, (n)IDS, etc. on this OS.

My Future Home Server – Part 1

I have finally my Home Server built, it has its first storage hard drive and I upgraded the memory to something decent. Time to install the operating system.

I am not yet fully decided which operating system to implement on my Home Server, I would love ZFS as a file system for managing my storage, but I would still want to use Linux and not make the full switch to BSD. I decided to go for Fedora as the main OS, and install BSD in a virtual machine and see how this setup performs.

I had tried for a few month Fedora 17 in a virtual machine, I liked it, although I prefer the Debian package manager over yum, but this is really based on my own feelings and not on technical grounds.

So let’s go and install Fedora 18 (just released) on my server.

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