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Building a cheap, reliable backup server

Last response: in Systems
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August 12, 2012 11:00:14 PM

Hey all,

I'm planning on setting up a backup server at my parents' house so that myself, my siblings, and my parents can all back up all of our computers to it (We live over a hundred miles apart, in the relatively un-widespread-natural-disaster-prone state of Wisconsin, so this should be a good level of off-site protection for everyone but my parents). The basics are that I want the server to support at least 8 SATA II or higher hard drives. That requirement has ruled out all of the old machines that I have laying about (besides my laptop and desktop, both of which I use daily, all I have are several old machines that were made right around when SATA came out)

In a nutshell, I want the server to be reliable and cheap, in that order.

Approximate Purchase Date: e.g.: Probably within a month
Budget Range: I'd like to keep the base computer (ignoring the cost of the HDDs) below $300

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Backup server running crashplan

Are you buying a monitor: No
Your Monitor Resolution: Not important. Will hook up a monitor for initial setup then probably remote in for 99% of the rest of it.

Do you need to buy OS: No - I plan on using Linux for this server (Eventually for my laptop too, since this is happening). With the amount of fun I've been having with Linux at work lately, this should be child's play.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg preferred, other reputable sites would be considered, but not preferred.
Location: Wisconsin (USA)

Parts Preferences: Slight preference towards Intel, but not as much for a low-end system like this

Overclocking: No - it's a backup server that'll be speed-limited by the broaband connections' speeds
SLI or Crossfire: No

Additional Comments: Power-efficiency would be nice

My basic plan is to do a software RAID 5 on the server, with the OS install on a separate disk. Crashplan (free version) should be able to take care of all of the networking issues and file-level versioning and error detection/correction. The RAID 5 should allow for a level redundant storage beneath that.

Here's the setup I was thinking about:

(Combo RAM and MOBO) - $82
MOBO: ASRock B75M microATX LGA1155
RAM: CORSAIR Vengeance 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 1600 (single-stick)
CPU: Intel Celeron G530 Sandy Bridge 2.4GHz LGA 1155 65W Dual-Core - $50
PSU: XFX Core Edition PRO550W - $75
Case: NZXT Source 210 ATX Mid-tower - $40

Total Price: $250 (assuming my math is correct)

Hard drives (the plan is for 5-7 storage drives here):
SAMSUNG EcoGreen F4 ST2000DL004 2TB SATA II - $120 each

Now, I'm typically used to building gaming rigs, so this is a bit of a change-up for me, and hence I'm coming to you to see what you all think of this.

A note on the rationale for each part: The motherboard needs to support 8 SATA ports, and I've had good experiences with other asrock mobos. 4GB of RAM is plenty, and the combo deal brings its price down to the point of most 2GB sticks. The CPU is the cheapest LGA1155 dual-core offered by newegg, and should be all of the performance I'd nee for this. The PSU might be a tad overkill, but I like choosing something that I can depend on here. The case was the cheapest that Newegg offered that had at least 8 SATA ports. The hard drives are relatively cheap for 2TB drives, and they are Samsung (which has not failed me yet), and they are the EcoGreen, which is suposedly more efficient.

Thanks in advance for any insight you can offer

-Ross
August 16, 2012 6:41:26 PM

Anyone have any insight they'd care to offer?
August 17, 2012 1:45:30 AM

As long as you mirror your drives i reckon your on the right track mate
August 17, 2012 10:51:09 PM

Well I was thinking of using ZFS as the filesystem for this setup, and maybe eventually buying a set of external drives for use as offline storage. Not quite mirroring, but for a backup setup, it should handle just fine.
!