Budget-Conscious Security / File / Streaming Server

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Supreme [H]ardness
Mar 19, 2003
Hi all,

I've been doing a lot of research and with a potential job interview coming up, I'd like to turn this into a learning experience that I can prove my knowledge in a tech support position where linux, backup technology, and virtualization is used primarily.

I'm looking into creating a thin low-powered server that will run linux based on zfs which will have the following purposes:

- stores files from Windows-based computers (with gigabit transfer rate capability)
- runs security webcam software connected to a wired or wireless cam
- plays / streams movies over HDMI / network (1080p quality)
- acts as a smart device hooked up to a TV in the living room
- low priority web hosting, DNS, and DHCP services running on VirtualBox (experimental)

My priorities:

1) Reliability
2) Cost
3) Performance

File storage redundancy is important which is why I chose zfs to start with. Cost is the second most important thing. I'm not looking to build a $1,000+ server. I'm looking to spend anywhere between free to a few hundred bucks -- this will be my first linux server ever and I want to learn from it. As a result, I know that I cannot expect so much out of performance but if I can get the performance I need without compromising cost, then excellent. I may not entertain SSD drives because of cost -- I'll stick with good ol' platters, unless I can find something incredibly irresistible for the price.

I was offered a SuperServer 5015A-L for $100. I don't know if that's a decent deal or not but it does have what I'm looking for -- it's Atom-based (low power requirements), runs ECC RAM, it's a rack-based server, and it's cheap. I don't know if the Atom CPU would support playing videos at 1080P (let alone, it's VGA-only -- I'd have to use an adapter). I also don't know if 2 GB of memory is enough too -- if I'll be running VirtualBox, I highly doubt it.

I'm hoping I can get some opinions or recommendations from someone who had gone through the same experience. Thanks!
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