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Old 03-02-2015, 09:50 PM   #1
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Default Teach me something about home servers

I am interested in learning about how to set up and manage a network of 2-10 computers. Back in the early 2000's, I learned some of the basics, but now I'm a bit more curious to learn more practical uses.

My goals are to:
1) Learn the basics of how to set up a home server(?) to host a personal or personal business website.
2) Learn how to set up and manage (...be an administrator) for a basic home/business network with multiple computers on it.

Any advice on where to get started? Books...websites to look at?
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Old 03-02-2015, 10:53 PM   #2
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Depending on what you want to do, your options are so much more vast than there were in 2000. It really depends on what your end goals and preferences are.

If you just want to tinker and you have enough ram and drive space, for free just download virtual box, the server 2012 r2 eval, and a windows 10 eval. Setup a domain and start connecting the virtual machines together. Build a cluster or 2. Throw a linux distro like unbutu in the mix, and that's a pretty good start.

Then after the 180 days if you're bored, switch the domain controller to a linux vm, add an OS X or two.
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Old 03-03-2015, 10:32 AM   #3
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While I'm no expert on the subject, I've tinkered around a bit. Ran WHS v1 for a long while, now running an Xpenology based box.

I think utilizing virtualization will be key if you want to tinker around. This is something I haven't really dived into as personally, I see no benefit. ESXi seems to be quite popular and free, but fairly limited on driver support.

The best place to probably ask around that I know of is www.reddit.com/r/homelab

My server is mainly just media hosting, backups, etc. Sorry I can't be of more help, but I'm sure the people on reddit can.
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Old 03-03-2015, 11:08 AM   #4
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What is it you want to do exactly?

A Home server could be as simple as a file server. A computer with lots of HDD space that is shared to all your other computers so you can access files anywhere on your network. You can then kick it up a notch by setting up an FTP so you can get those files remotely.

Something more advanced may involve a domain controller in which you can have multiple users that can get on different computers and have their group policy permissions follow them.
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Old 03-03-2015, 07:52 PM   #5
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I would recommend learning virtualization at the same time. It is so much easier to fire up a VM and throw it into your cloud than installing a physical os onto a physical box. I used and liked VMWare but there are other options as well.

One bigger box can house your entire test network environment.
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Old 03-03-2015, 10:12 PM   #6
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Links for the stuff I was talking about.


Try Windows Server 2012 R2 | TechNet Evaluation Center

Windows 10 Enterprise Technical Preview | TechNet Evaluation Center

Get Ubuntu | Download | Ubuntu

All you need for a virtual lab if you have enough ram/storage.

Alternatively you can use VMWare or Windows Server for your hypervisor.

Free VMware vSphere Hypervisor, Free Virtualization (ESXi) | VMware United Kingdom

If you want you could also do almost everything with Amazon AWS, Azure, or Rackspace.

Or start jumping into the VDI world.

10-seat VDI trial kit | Dell
VDI-in-a-Box - Virtual Appliance for Small Business - Citrix

But it really goes back to what you want out of it. Most small businesses (<50 employees not heavy computer users) for cheap could probably do it all with chome desktops, android tablets, and cloud services.
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Old 03-04-2015, 01:06 AM   #7
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Virtualbox is fantastic. I've been using that on my own servers since 2008. I had a VM crash last week. Took me 30 minutes to bring it back (swapped over to a new VM) with no rebuilding necessary.

If you want to setup a business website, I'd highly suggest not using a machine in a closet for it. Get some cheap shared hosting. Your reliability will be a couple orders of magnitude higher. And it doesn't mean you can't still build something on your home network.
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Old 03-04-2015, 01:16 AM   #8
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NAS boxes are stupid capable nowadays. Mine can host all sorts of stuff, runs linux behind a WHS-esque GUI but still has a proper command line if you want it. I'm using a Netgear box now, but synology makes good higher end stuff too. Still has all sorts of mild hosting capability, the higher end stuff has dual nics and lots more hardware for bigger needs, too. I like them because they are small and quiet, something to think on if you are planning on buying new hardware.

Hosting a web server at home isn't impossible, but ISPs do like to make it difficult. You either add a DNS failure point, or you pay for high dollar fixed IP service. Around here you have to go to business class for that, and they automatically charge double for the same bandwidth.
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