Mazatlan
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Jul 22, 2019 4:53 am

how many pi's

Mon Jul 22, 2019 5:01 am

I'm a newbie (68 y/o), and I'd like to know how many Pi's would it take to have a media server, home network, and VPN on one or multiple Pi's?

Is one enough? I just purchased a 4GB Pi. So far, really cool. I'm not well versed in electronics, or computer speak, so any advice as to reference materials suited for 5 y/o's (me) would be appreciated. :ugeek:
:ugeek:

epoch1970
Posts: 3804
Joined: Thu May 05, 2016 9:33 am
Location: Paris, France

Re: how many pi's

Mon Jul 22, 2019 10:33 am

Yes one will be enough.

In general the limiting factor in applications integration is the software complexity of the target platform. The more applications the more potential interactions, the less stability and ease of maintenance.
So after integrating 3 or 4 "critical" apps you give up and install the next one on another platform. Or you start using virtualisation in one form or another.

What you describe is something like a network router/VPN + one application, not complicated really. One single Pi will be (more than) fine to handle the workload and maintenance shouldn't be much of a problem either. You made a wise choice with a Pi model B, it is the easiest platform to use, given its multiple built-in interfaces.

Have fun ;)
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kennyc
Posts: 75
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Re: how many pi's

Mon Jul 22, 2019 11:35 am

It's a lot like being Rich or Thin. You can never be too Rich, too Thin, or have too many Raspberry Pi's!!

I have two at the moment both Pi 4's - an 1Gb and a 4Gb. I'm finding the 4Gb wonderful but the 1Gb virtually unusable as a desktop/browser as it is so slow...

Vast difference in behavior/usability. I'm tempted to get a 2Gb just for comparison purposes.

the 1Gb is a replacement for another 1Gb that seemed to crash the browser constantly...the new one is not crashing but becomes unusable in how slow it operates as a browser/desktop. :(

I've not tried it other than initially as a desktop (google news, mail, tunein radio, various forums etc) ...
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thagrol
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Re: how many pi's

Mon Jul 22, 2019 4:39 pm

Mazatlan wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 5:01 am
I'm a newbie (68 y/o), and I'd like to know how many Pi's would it take to have a media server, home network, and VPN on one or multiple Pi's?

Is one enough? I just purchased a 4GB Pi. So far, really cool. I'm not well versed in electronics, or computer speak, so any advice as to reference materials suited for 5 y/o's (me) would be appreciated. :ugeek:
A lot depends on how much you want to segregate your network.

My current home server setup is as follows:
  • A 4B 1GB running as file server (samba and nfs), DNS server, DHCP server, UPnP server, PXE boot server, and outgoing VPN
  • A 1B running as a torrent client
  • A zeroW as incoming OpenVPN server. VPN clients have no direct access to the rest of the network. Shared resources are mounted read only on this Pi and reshared.
  • A zeroW driving an LCD as an info display.
Now, I could probably run all of that on a single 4B...

I'm not for several reasons:
  • The 1B was sitting around unused.
  • Having the torrent box on a seperate Pi makes it slightly easier to force its traffic through the outgoing VPN only and to block it should that VPN link be down. It also has its own disc space so teh other servers won't be affected when it fills up.
  • The two zeroW are running from the 5v standby line of an ATX PSU (all the Pi are in the same mini-itx case). As long as there is power to the house they'll be on. I don't need to have the 4B (and its HDD) or 1B powered up to remote in to my network from outside or to display some text (e.g. current weather forcast) on the LCD.
For clarity, the outgoin VPN is because I strongly disagree with the UK's "snooper's charter" not because I'm doing anything illegal.

The actual connection to the internet is handled by my ISP supplied router. I've just disabled DNS, DHCP, etc and given it a fixed IP in the correct subnet.
Attempts to contact me outside of thes forums will be ignored unless signed in triplicate, sent in, sent back, queried, lost, found, subjected to public enquiry, lost again, and finally buried in soft peat for three months and recycled as firelighters

W. H. Heydt
Posts: 11019
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:36 pm
Location: Vallejo, CA (US)

Re: how many pi's

Mon Jul 22, 2019 7:09 pm

Greetings, youngster. (I'm 70.)

As you can see from the replies, you can go either way. You can pile everything onto one Pi or you can assign one function to one Pi. Or you can go in between and group functions together and have different groups on different Pis.

What I would do is start with one Pi and set up one function. Then decide if you want to add another function to that Pi or add another Pi. In the mean time, get at least a second Pi so you have one that isn't doing "production" work to use for development and testing. I find it helpful, when there is a new major release of the OS, to be able to replicate the working Pis one at a time to make sure the new software works for them before "going live" with the new release. Beware, though, as Pis...multiply. And when a new model comes out, you will--of course--want at least one (and possibly one of each version) to test and compare to see if you want to upgrade any of your "working" Pis.

While the general recommendation is to get the "top of the line" to start with, you may find that for specific projects, something other than the "latest and greatest" is more appropriate for any of a variety of reasons.

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Roken
Posts: 309
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:35 pm
Location: UK

Re: how many pi's

Mon Jul 22, 2019 8:35 pm

I have 4 3B/3B+ and one 4B. The 4B is my NAS/Plex server/PiHole, chosen for those tasks because of the USB3 and ethernet speed.

One 3B (the Only 3B - not plus) is a retropi, one 3B+ is a clock, with something running behind it (I forget what right now), one is a NextCloud server, and the remaining one will be VPN when I get it actually working.

Sharing the tasks between them works well for me.

EDIT: But then, I am a young boy of 54.5 years.

EDIT2 - the Clock Pi is running a tvheadend server with a USB receiver - gives me access outside of my network.
Headless PI. OMG, someone cut it's head off. Oh, hang on. it didn't have one to start with.

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