[kwlug-disc] home voip/backup server recommendations

Andrew Kohlsmith (mailing lists account) aklists at mixdown.ca
Sat May 1 12:09:16 EDT 2010


On Saturday 01 May 2010 11:08:27 am Insurance Squared Inc. wrote:
> Can I get away with an older dell desktop for something like this?  Or
> should I be looking at a tower server?

For home use any desktop will do everything you want and then some. Factory 
Direct, KW Surplus etc all have refurb/off-lease systems that are cheap and 
would work perfectly fine for your application.

It all comes down to size, power consumption and noise for home systems.  My 
server's a desktop system, but a better one, as I needed a lot of PCI slots 
for additional drives and PCIe for the TV tuner card.  It does your normal file 
serving, backups, printing etc and also has the additional burden of being my 
mythtv backend. That's what's sucking up the CPU, nothing else.

My voip box is another system entirely, but again another standard cheap-o 
desktop system I probably salvaged from some old office upgrade or something. 
It's also my firewall/router.  A potential security gotcha, sure, but it's a 
risk I'm comfortable taking.

Server-class stuff is a waste for home use. I definitely recommend server-class 
stuff for colocation or use where it's going to be hammered. Even then, I buy 
off-lease stuff and live with last generation or older. The server that 
mixdown.ca is running on is an ancient Dell Poweredge 650 I bought for $80 and 
dumped another $50 for 3G of RAM on, which is all it can take. That machine 
hosts web, database, voip, cvs, vpn, proxying and remote desktop (nomachine 
*rocks*) services, and does virtualization (linux-vserver) to help separate 
various functions. I think there's three or four virtual boxes running on that 
old hardware. It won't win any speed contests, but I've never had issue with 
slowdowns or bottlenecks under normal use, and the price is right.

-A.



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