Keen for a Linux server!

Alex Satrapa grail at
Wed May 1 12:39:02 EST 2002

On Monday, April 29, 2002, at 04:36 , Scott Oates wrote:

> I work in the ACT/Australian/Global Greens Office.
> Located on the 3rd Floor, Center Cinema Building, Bunda St, Canberra

How many computers hooked up to this network?  What hardware do you have 
available?  Hardware that isn't powerful enough to run Windows 2000 can 
still make damned good Linux servers.

I used to have a 486 DX2/66 with 32Mb of RAM running as my firewall, and 
a separate Penitum 133 with 32Mb of RAM running as my internal file 
server/web server/proxy server.  I used to have a 386 DX/40 running my 
dial-up modem and being a firewall - that's a fairly trivial task.

When I "upgraded" (that's a joke) to Telstra Broadband(tm) ADSL (I don't 
know how many TM are supposed to be in there), my router got upgraded to 
a P133, my web server got upgraded to a P166 - all this only because I 
wanted to use PCI network cards.

My P166 serves 2 or 3 people, and spends most (99.99%) of its time 
crunching RC5 keys.  The most important thing to do for a small office 
web server is get really fast hard drives - you probably won't even need 
SCSI, since the limiting factor for a SOHO file server is how fast you 
can read data off the platters.  The more RAM you can throw into the 
box, the happier you'll be, since most Unix-like OSes will cache data in 
RAM if at all possible.

The firewall/dialup router *must* be a separate box.  For your own 
sanity, and safety, the firewall should be separate to all other 
services.  That way when you're fiddling with your firewall, you only 
have to worry about through traffic, since the firewall won't be making 
any outbound connections.

If possible, have a proxy/cache server on a separate box to the file 
server.  Both systems want lots of RAM, and it's not nice to have them 
trying to share the limited RAM in one box.  The proxy/cache server 
would benefit most from more RAM.  The file server would benefit most 
from faster hard drives (you can use software RAID to instantly "double" 
the throughput on your hard drives).

A file server can run quite happily on a 486 with 16Mb of RAM, as long 
as you're not after blindingly fast performance.  The bottleneck will 
still be the network you're running on.


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