Router + file server build [closed]

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Problem :

I am trying to build an always-on router + file server system that will serve as a (wired) router and as a file server that I will access from my two Windows (7/XP) machines. I am not worried about power consumption or the ambient noise resulting from this build. My main criteria are budget (under $150) and to protect my data in case my cheap-o components bite the dust. Also, in this project, I am roughly following advice here.

In fact, I think I will be running the Smoothwall software that he uses. In case it is relevant, I am situated in a University LAN and I believe we get assigned static IPs by the DHCP server.

The main components of this build will be the following:

  1. Chip: Some of the feedback for this product says that it is possible to unlock another core on some motherboards – will this be possible on the motherboard that I intend to use below? Is it advisable for the purposes of this build?

    AMD Sempron 145 Sargas 2.8GHz Socket AM3 45W Single-Core Desktop Processor

    Price: $40

  2. MoBo: My main concern for the motherboard is whether it will be able to handle some sort of RAID configuration (I know nothing about RAID, or backups). The other idea that I have is to have a second HDD which is periodically backed up with cron jobs.

    BIOSTAR N68S3+ AM3 NVIDIA MCP68S Micro ATX AMD Motherboard

    Price: $45

  3. Memory: 2gb of memory should be enough, I think. Is this the right memory for this motherboard?

    Kingston HyperX Blu 2GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory

    Price: $14

  4. Case: This is a micro-ATX case and comes with 400W PSU.

    iMicro ATX Micro Tower Case

    Price: $23

  5. HDD: I have a 5400rpm 120gb IDE HDD refurbished HDD that I bought off newegg for $18. I could get another one in case I need to for a backup.

  6. NIC+sundry: Rosewill RC-402 LAN Card 10/ 100Mbps PCI for $7, throw in some ethernet cables and a Netgear metal switch for $10.

This brings the build cost up to about $160.

My concern now is that all the components are compatible with each other and will fit into the case that I have chosen (I don’t have a lot of experience building PCs). Also, any advice about the best strategy for having a continuous backup of my file server which is easily restorable will be greatly appreciated.


So I did some additional googling and I was hoping that the Smoothwall Linux distro would allow me to have Samba to run my file server, but some advice seems to suggest otherwise.

So, I am throwing in the question of what distro will allow me to run a router AND a file server together.

Solution :

Pretty much any distro will do what you want to do, its just a matter of setting up the right packages. There’s a pretty comprehensive guide on debian’s webpage on one such setup and another simpler one here.You should be able to do this on any other distro, with equivalent packages.

Basically you’re setting up your network interfaces to do what they need to do (talk to wan, talk to lan, get an ip address off wan, broadcast the fact that its a server on lan) dnsmasq to handle dhcp and dns stuff, then set up file sharing as per normal.

Run your favoured flavour of filesharing on top of that (such as samba), and it’ll likely be a lot easier than trying to run it off a router centric distro.

In this particular case i’d probably suggest keeping the OS and data seperate (In this case, maybe running the OS off a usb key for example), and running periodic backups over rsync.

I’d also recommend looking at file system overlays that do replication – grayhole is a rather interesting option that allows dissimilar hard disks to be used. You could then rsync files for periodic backups offsite.

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