Hard Drives And Linux Distros
A range of hard drive options were available for my project, such as 2.5" single-platter 500 GB drives as well as 3.5" devices with capacites of up to 1.5 TB. In comparison, I was in awe of Maxtor’s 160 GB parallel ATA-133 3.5" drive and Promise was getting ready to bring PCI SATA controllers to market back in 2001.
Today, four SATA 2.5" drives now have about the same footprint as a single 3.5" hard drive. Remember, full-height 5.25" 20 MB hard drives?
A lot has been written about computer-in-a-toaster projects. Desktop systems have been built in large toasters. Mini-ITX systems have been built in waffle irons, toaster ovens, and just about any and every other enclosure conceivable (including basic toasters, of course). The availability of reasonably priced mini-ITX boards, low-power processors, and fan-less systems make compact case-modding projects easier.
- The best looking computer in a toaster I have seen is a modified 1930s vintage retro. See all the other remarkable custom-case projects this engineer has made.
- BSD in a working toaster
- A 2.8 GHz desktop PC in a toaster
- A "media toaster" using a VIA EPIA mini-ITX board
File Server Linux Distributions
In 2001, ApplianceWare seemed to be the only generally-available distribution that made a computer into a file server. There are now a number of turn-key file-server Linux distros available. When installed, these distros morph a computer into a network file server.
Open Filer and Free NAS are available for download and use without charge. NAS Lite 2 is available for a very modest price that is under $30.00. ApplianceWare and Nexenta are also licensed.
- FreeNAS, freely downloadable (www.freenas.org), built on BSD
- OpenFiler, based on Linux, freely available (www.openfiler.com)
- NAS Lite 2 from Server Elements, available for a very modest price (www.serverelements.com)
- ApplianceWare, based on Linux, available commercially (www.applianceware.com)
- Nexenta Stor, available commercially (www.nexenta.com)
If a file server supported SMB and NFS in 2001, had a Web UI, and did RAID 0, 1, and 5, then it was a good product. If it had a DHCP server, then that was an extra. Today, NAS servers support all the file protocols and include some cool features:
- run DHCP
- SMB and NFS
- DHCP server
- FTP server
- Web server
- Bonjour and iTunes
- Redundant power supplies
- PDC authentication
- Controls over power consumption
… and more