Thu, 19 Oct 2006

Silent home servers

The computer which hosts this blog is a venerable Pentium 150Mhz, with 64Mb of physical memory and two decently sized disks. It has been running non-stop mostly without hiccups for several years, and I'm quite happy with it, even if the processing power is so scarce I've been having to tune down some services as Debian has gotten more resource hungry, dist-upgrade after dist-upgrade.

Natura is my 2nd oldest Debian install, coming back from Ham, and after a while it became a home server when it was replaced by an Athlon 700Mhz at my father's house. The only hardware incidents are all related to blackouts or storms: two dead disks and one power supply. The CPU died years ago, but I discovered that many months later. I guess it wasn't so necessary. :)

It is time to replace natura, though. The components are aging and they have become quite noisy, despite my attempts to cleanup the dust. Lately it is so loud that I can't understand how my dad can actually get work done with that persistent noise in the room. Besides, it'd be good to get just a little bit more of CPU power to do a few things that have been postponed for a while now. I have been looking for offerings in the embedded devices market.

I am looking for a device with the following characteristics:

I've found that the Thecus YES Box N2100 is one of the most interesting offerings: 2 Gigabit ethernet ports, two internal SATA HD bays, 3 USB ports... but is a bit too expensive: 350€ (without disks). tbm also told me to look at some cheaper PowerPC devices, but I forgot the name right now.

So, dear Lazyweb, what would you recommend as a natura replacement for a home server?