rkr
Posts: 36
Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:07 am

Re: Home Server

Sun May 06, 2012 5:56 pm

Hi all,

I"ve been considering buying a secondary PC for some random things like:
1. Media streaming server (to mobile devices and a tv)
2. File server (FTP/SAMBA)
3. Torrent box
4. Occasional web browsing
5. Proxy server

I could probably do 1-3 with a dd-wrt router, but I want something strong enough to handle all 3 together. And also do #4 and 5.
So here I am, looking for help about whether the Pi is capable enough?
I mean on the processor and RAM fronts?
Also, would It be possible that the streaming part be offloaded to the GPU so that the processor can handle other tasks?
(I"m talking big. Please excuse if screwed up something there )

Reasons for considering the Pi for this:
1. Low hardware cost
2. Low running cost (than a PC at least, if not a router)
3. I"m gonna but one anyways, so making use of it.

Now, why post this in the beginner"s section?
Well, that"s because I have absolutely NO idea how to go around all this. I"ve just read around on forums about these things and thought it"d be cool if I could cool up something like that..

Thanks.

bredman
Posts: 1415
Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2012 2:38 pm

Re: Home Server

Sun May 06, 2012 6:12 pm

You are being very ambitious. The RPi could probably handle 1 or 2 of those tasks, but not several simultaneously.

The RPi has a limited CPU and limited RAM. You should consider it in the same league as a DD-WRT box, not a desktop PC.

rkr
Posts: 36
Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:07 am

Re: Home Server

Mon May 07, 2012 6:33 am

bredman said:


You are being very ambitious. The RPi could probably handle 1 or 2 of those tasks, but not several simultaneously.

The RPi has a limited CPU and limited RAM. You should consider it in the same league as a DD-WRT box, not a desktop PC.



Hmm..too bad.

I could leave out the proxy server and web browsing part.

Links to guides for the other 3, please?

Question: Would It be possible that the streaming part be offloaded to the GPU so that the processor can handle other tasks?

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Dave_G_2
Posts: 196
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Re: Home Server

Mon May 07, 2012 8:03 am

Hi rkr

I second bredmans thoughts on the in(ability) of the RPI being up to all those tasks.

If cost is the over-ridding factor, why not use a second hand PC?

Sure, the power consumption would be much higher but so would the processing power.

You won't need the "latest and greatest" and could probably pick one up for next to nothing from a junk shop or in the classifieds of you local newspaper.

Adding extra RAM and a second network card would be a piece of cake and wouldn't cost much either.

Another nice thing about using the X86 platform as opposed to the ARM and more specifically the RPI is the availability of more packages and thus options,  to do the tasks you need.

bredman
Posts: 1415
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Re: Home Server

Mon May 07, 2012 9:30 am

rkr said:


Question: Would It be possible that the streaming part be offloaded to the GPU so that the processor can handle other tasks?


The GPU could only be useful for a media streaming client (the thing that you plug into your TV) not for a media streaming server (the thing that you hide under your stairs).

If you really want to run several services on a low power budget, I would recommend an old laptop. You can get a lot of results with a power load of 20 watts or less.

rkr
Posts: 36
Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:07 am

Re: Home Server

Tue May 08, 2012 5:17 am

Damn! I thought it would handle all this.
Anyways, thanks for the help guys, I"ll probably get an old P4 or something for this.

@bredman
That media streaming client seems like a good idea. Because then I"ll not have to buy a smart tv, I"ll just buy a regular tv and connect the pi to it. Is the xbmc port ready? Or is there/will there be better software for a media server. Heck, it"d turn the tv into a computer!

More importantly, can the Pi handle this job??

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jbeale
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Re: Home Server

Tue May 08, 2012 5:32 am

The XBMC port is still under development and there is no official binary for it yet. There likely will be one by the time you actually get your R-Pi, if you ordered it now.  Subject to the limitations of the R-Pi (like the fact that only H.264 based video has GPU hardware acceleration) I believe it would be quite functional for the home theater job.

cashaw
Posts: 71
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2012 8:32 pm

Re: Home Server

Tue May 08, 2012 8:46 am

I use one of these for my home server - http://www.excito.com/content/.....-excito-b3

A little bit expensive but runs 24/7 at only 8watts. I almost forget it's there and it handles all my email, web and streaming needs.

It's almost like Rpi's big brother !

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abishur
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Re: Home Server

Tue May 08, 2012 2:58 pm

rkr said:
Damn! I thought it would handle all this.
Anyways, thanks for the help guys, I"ll probably get an old P4 or something for this.

@bredman
That media streaming client seems like a good idea. Because then I"ll not have to buy a smart tv, I"ll just buy a regular tv and connect the pi to it. Is the xbmc port ready? Or is there/will there be better software for a media server. Heck, it"d turn the tv into a computer!

More importantly, can the Pi handle this job??


Actually, I had it doing media streaming via minidlna and once we got that network kernel panic fixed it did it like a champ while also acting as a samba server.

While there is no "official" binary yet, this post gives some unofficial binaries along with instructions on how to install them.  They're very well written, take about 30 minutes to follow and it works perfectly when you're done!

I'm actually installing a poxy server (squid) on my pi in the next couple days so I'll let you know how well it handles all these different things at once.  It should be noted that I'm not bothering with the gui but forcing myself to use the bash prompt as this conserves memory (and once I get them set up I don't really need a gui anyway)
Dear forum: Play nice ;-)

Smartybones
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Re: Home Server

Tue May 08, 2012 5:06 pm

Regards to a home server there are several options open to you to do all the tasks you listed above.

option 1, get as powerful a computer your budget allows and setting it up as a single server that you can configure to do all (except the web browsing) the saks you listed.

option 2, get your hands on several "older" second hand PC's and build individual boxes for particular tasks.

for me, the second option is the better option.

you really don’t need a powerful pc to perform proxy server functions. there are even several server distributions that will perform gateway and firewall functions for you that only needs the bare minimum of cpu and ram to run, and can run from a memory stick. power it up and do all the admin from a web interface on your desktop pc.

you can combine a media server and file server in the one box. I recently set up a server running Serviio media server. It is a UPnP server so most media players will just pick it up from the network. It has some amazing functions like profiles for attached devices. Depending what its playback capabilities are, it will transcode them on the fly to meet the requirements of the player. That said, this will need a reasonably powerful CPU and plenty of ram.  My 2.4Ghz celeron with 768Mb ram will transcode 720p HD mkv media file with no problems to MPEG2 (the UPnP player on my tv will only play back mpeg2) at the same resolution with no problems. 1080i struggles a little..

there are also plugins for ItvPlayer, BBC iPlayer, 4oD and many other online streaming services. you can set up online content, Britons got Talent for example, and as soon as more content is available, it will list it on your player as "online" content and can then play it back on any UPnP media player. It also has a plugin called  couchpotato, where you set it to pick up any TV shows from torrents as the new episodes become available and add it to your media library. there are also plugins for transmission, a bit-torrent client. just drop a .torrent in a folder and it will download it for you...

I have tested out OpenElec on my Raspberry Pi and it connects with my Serviio UPnP media server and will playback everything I can throw at it with no problems.

cDave
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Re: Home Server

Wed May 09, 2012 12:59 pm

Abishur said:


I'm actually installing a poxy server (squid) on my pi in the next couple days so I'll let you know how well it handles all these different things at once.  It should be noted that I'm not bothering with the gui but forcing myself to use the bash prompt as this conserves memory (and once I get them set up I don't really need a gui anyway)


I was planning to install squid on mine, but once it arrived and I started Googling setting it up, I figured out that sshd would work as SOCKS proxy just fine.

Steps:

Disabled the root password (sudo will do fine).

Changed the pi user password.

Setup ssh to re-start on reboot.

Created a user with a shell of /bin/false, so that no commands could be sent when just using the proxy.

Opened up port 22 on the router.

I tested it from the office yesterday and it worked perfectly.

It stopped about 9am today, but I suspect that's someone in the flat unplugging it to plug in a laptop. Must label the plug!

woodinblack
Posts: 39
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2012 12:05 am

Re: Home Server

Wed May 09, 2012 1:06 pm

HP to great little servers that take very little power and can do an awful lot, they also have £100 casback, so they come in just a bit over £120.

They are also fairly quiet which is good for home use too.

rkr
Posts: 36
Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:07 am

Re: Home Server

Thu May 10, 2012 6:22 pm

Great suggestions guys, but I want to hold out for a while. Maybe until my Pi comes around so I can test these features for my my "minimal" usage...
I"m probably not gonna shell out much for just another
dedicated PC doing these jobs. Just thought I"d make use of the Pi doing these things while I"m not trying to learn program on it.

@jbeale If the GPU only supports H.264 then does it mean my MP4s and mkv or other formats won"t play on the Pi??
That"d be really sad. I have MPEG and mp4 files in my collection.

@abhishur Great progress! I"ll be waiting for your results. And I wouldn"t mind tinkering with the terminal if its gonna be just once and with a guide or something. Let"s hope your config works out.

naich
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed May 09, 2012 11:36 am

Re: Home Server

Fri May 11, 2012 3:08 pm

I've currently got my Pi running Apache2 (web server), Mediatomb (media streamer), Transmission (Bittorrent client), and Bind (DNS server).  I was a bit worried about the media streamer because the Ethernet and USB (I'm using a USB mounted HDD) share a bus, but it streams normal definition TV fine.  I haven't tried HD yet.

I also suspect that streaming video while downloading a high speed torrent might cause problems but I haven't tried that yet either.

Overall the Pi seems to be faster than the P3-450MHz laptop it replaces.  Not running a GUI means that despite the small amount of RAM, it's not even getting close to swapping.

rkr
Posts: 36
Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:07 am

Re: Home Server

Sat May 12, 2012 10:55 am

That"s (almost) exactly what I wanted. I only have a crippled 2MBPS connection ( 256 KBPS downstream) so torrents shouldn"t be a problem here. Although since I plan to set up an SMB/FTP instead of Apache, it"d be great to know the max. physical limit of Ethernet+USB bus. Any ideas?
Also, how much of the bus limit is occupied during streaming SD video

EDIT: I just checked mediatomb supports on-the-fly media transcoding. But that would bottleneck all resources, right?

southpaw
Posts: 52
Joined: Wed Nov 30, 2011 2:23 pm

Re: Home Server

Sat May 12, 2012 1:14 pm

naich said:


I"ve currently got my Pi running Apache2 (web server), Mediatomb (media streamer), Transmission (Bittorrent client), and Bind (DNS server).  I was a bit worried about the media streamer because the Ethernet and USB (I"m using a USB mounted HDD) share a bus, but it streams normal definition TV fine.  I haven"t tried HD yet.

I also suspect that streaming video while downloading a high speed torrent might cause problems but I haven"t tried that yet either.

Overall the Pi seems to be faster than the P3-450MHz laptop it replaces.  Not running a GUI means that despite the small amount of RAM, it"s not even getting close to swapping.


southpaw
Posts: 52
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Re: Home Server

Sat May 12, 2012 1:37 pm

That sounds exactly what i need for my pi , could you please elaborate on how you configured/set this up , are these applications running within the debian distro, or are you using a lighter stripped down version of something, as you can probably quess , i am a noob when it comes to linux but am willing to put the work in if you could perhaps kindly point me in the correct direction. i hope to leave the pi running headless 24/7 in a discreet location within my home, serving up media from a 2tb usb drive to xbmc4xbox and enigma2 stb`s

many thanks in advance

btw , this question is open to anybody who is willing to offer guidance, not just Naich

naich
Posts: 5
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Re: Home Server

Tue May 22, 2012 9:21 am

southpaw wrote:That sounds exactly what i need for my pi , could you please elaborate on how you configured/set this up , are these applications running within the debian distro, or are you using a lighter stripped down version of something, as you can probably quess
The best way is to install them from the repositories using apt- e.g. "apt-get install transmission-daemon", "apt-get install mediatomb" and so on. That downloads and sets them up so they are started automatically. It also means they get automatically upgraded with bug fixes and system upgrades*. They usually need configuring though, so read the documentation on the web site for the application. Packages will usually be installed in a state that is safe, e.g. no remote logins in the case of Transmission and Mediatomb, so you need to configure them to allow you to actually use them. I wouldn't recommend even thinking about compiling things yet.

If you want to search for a package, use "apt-cache search xxxx", e.g. "apt-cache search bittorrent" will show all the packages with "bittorrent" in the description.

* use "apt-get update && apt-get upgrade" to update your whole system. All the apt stuff has to be done as root.

Naich.

jojojojojojo
Posts: 27
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2012 12:02 pm

Re: Home Server

Tue May 22, 2012 10:25 am

abishur wrote:rkr said:
...
Actually, I had it doing media streaming via minidlna and once we got that network kernel panic fixed it did it like a champ while also acting as a samba server.

While there is no "official" binary yet, this post gives some unofficial binaries along with instructions on how to install them.  They're very well written, take about 30 minutes to follow and it works perfectly when you're done!
Hi Abishur,
could you point me to the link of the post you mentioned? Its broken..
Thanks!
Regards,
Johannes

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abishur
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Re: Home Server

Tue May 22, 2012 12:01 pm

I've fixed the link in the original post
Dear forum: Play nice ;-)

jojojojojojo
Posts: 27
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Re: Home Server

Tue May 22, 2012 1:11 pm

Great, thanks!

southpaw
Posts: 52
Joined: Wed Nov 30, 2011 2:23 pm

Re: Home Server

Tue May 22, 2012 7:30 pm

naich wrote:
southpaw wrote:That sounds exactly what i need for my pi , could you please elaborate on how you configured/set this up , are these applications running within the debian distro, or are you using a lighter stripped down version of something, as you can probably quess
The best way is to install them from the repositories using apt- e.g. "apt-get install transmission-daemon", "apt-get install mediatomb" and so on. That downloads and sets them up so they are started automatically. It also means they get automatically upgraded with bug fixes and system upgrades*. They usually need configuring though, so read the documentation on the web site for the application. Packages will usually be installed in a state that is safe, e.g. no remote logins in the case of Transmission and Mediatomb, so you need to configure them to allow you to actually use them. I wouldn't recommend even thinking about compiling things yet.

If you want to search for a package, use "apt-cache search xxxx", e.g. "apt-cache search bittorrent" will show all the packages with "bittorrent" in the description.

* use "apt-get update && apt-get upgrade" to update your whole system. All the apt stuff has to be done as root.

Naich.
thanks for taking the time to reply Naich , really appreciate the helpful post mate

totallyuneekname
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Re: Home Server

Thu Aug 08, 2013 9:48 pm

Nope.

I set up a Samba server on my Pi and got really bad speeds. I'm sure running something else on it would have made it much worse. If you want to do those type of things your going to need much more of a powerful server.

Sorry!

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abishur
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Re: Home Server

Thu Aug 08, 2013 10:51 pm

totallyuneekname wrote:Nope.

I set up a Samba server on my Pi and got really bad speeds. I'm sure running something else on it would have made it much worse. If you want to do those type of things your going to need much more of a powerful server.

Sorry!
I'm curious to know what distro you're using and what version of the distro and what you quantify as "really bad speeds". I ask because I have a pi I use as a DLNA server/samba server for the computers in my home and cell phones and also as an off site backup for my parents using sftp and it operates quite well. Obviously I won't get gigabit speeds off of it, but if I don't need gigabit speeds then it performs at 100 megabit and I can get 6-8 MB transfer speeds when hooked up to it via a wire through my switch.
Dear forum: Play nice ;-)

cosmicnut
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Re: Home Server

Fri Aug 09, 2013 7:07 am

I have found that on lower powered machines, the format of attached storage has a lot to do with speed.
I used to run a 600mhz box (it was supposed to be a thin client) with an external hdd and samba. The speeds were really bad with stuttering and other problems.
In the end, it was due to the NTFS file system the external hdd was using. the fuse ntfs driver was killing the processor, samba isn't that much better, between the 2 they were overloading the processor. Switching to ext4 on the external disk made a HUGE difference.

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