Backup server

Thread Starter

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
3,196
I have several PCs that outlived their usefulness as Windows machines but still good hardware. Some ran Win 7 , some Win 10. Looking for OS recommendations. I will like to try some version of Linux I think. Any recommendations? Not sure of bus speeds as it is older hardware. Some may be EISA and some PCI. Would like to be able to support several terabytes of disk.
 

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
8,168
The old EISA stuff is IMO landfill. What are the models and specs of the PCI slot machines? Machines that can run 64-bit Linux are preferred as that widens the suite of modern applications software.
 

dendad

Joined Feb 20, 2016
3,788
The old EISA stuff is IMO landfill. What are the models and specs of the PCI slot machines? Machines that can run 64-bit Linux are preferred as that widens the suite of modern applications software.
That is a point.
You may find it hard to locate non SATA drives. And power consumption comes into it too.
 

Thread Starter

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
3,196
One was open and is Dell 8100 w/ 6 32bit PCI slots Model mx-03f546-12405 V02. Single-core Pentium 1.7GHz or so. Need to boot it up to see for sure and it is in pieces now. Nice tower frame w/ 3 full-height 5.25" "floppy" bays and 2 full height drive bays. Has USB on motherboard to 4 ports but prolly 2.0. Other one is small tower but need to open it up to see what it has. Could possibly remotherboard the big tower if cost-effective to do so...
 

hrs

Joined Jun 13, 2014
305
I don't think a back up server needs a wide suite of modern applications software per se. If all you have is a spare 32 bit system by all means use it to get your feet wet. If you like it you can then decide to invest some money in more modern hardware though this may not be required. I would recommend Debian stable for this application.
 

Thread Starter

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
3,196
Looks like it is the best I can do for now. Have a couple of 40 gig drives w/ bootable Win on them. ATM can't get either to boot. Gonna keep me busy for a while... Also has very noisy/bad muffin fan to fix.
 

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
8,168
One was open and is Dell 8100 w/ 6 32bit PCI slots Model mx-03f546-12405 V02. Single-core Pentium 1.7GHz or so. Need to boot it up to see for sure and it is in pieces now. Nice tower frame w/ 3 full-height 5.25" "floppy" bays and 2 full height drive bays. Has USB on motherboard to 4 ports but prolly 2.0. Other one is small tower but need to open it up to see what it has. Could possibly remotherboard the big tower if cost-effective to do so...
I think those old systems used RDRAM, EIDE drivers and AGP video cards, this is all old-school technology that might be still be supported well in a modern Linux Distro.
https://certification.ubuntu.com/desktop
If you have at least 1 GB then it might be useful as a learning machine for Linux but it will be slow in just about any graphics mode. I like Debian but I don't think it's the best choice for a beginner.

https://www.ubuntupit.com/best-debian-based-linux-distributions/
 

Thread Starter

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
3,196
I still remember some Venix, Xenix, Unix, but never played with Linux or its variants. It has a gig of ram in 2 512 meg cards and room for 2 more. Anywho, I was looking to first get it running (it passes POST, reads and loads files, and tries to boot) and see if there was anything on the 2 40 gig drives that the wife wanted and then see about a USB boot loader. Has NVidia P-50 graphics card in it which is 64 bit AGP but can't find any PDF on the motherboard from Dell. I'll play some more with the drive configuration settings tomorrow. Setting it up for both 40 gig drives.
 

sagor

Joined Mar 10, 2019
395
I suspect the USB is only 1.0/1.1 version, and earlier BIOS on those machines did not support booting from USB. Original spec was 1GB maximum RDRAM, but that was with 256MB modules. If you have 2 x 512MB modules, and they run ok, there is a chance it may run more memory. Spec also said RDRAM has to be installed in pairs. I would suspect the network interface is 100Mbps only, not great for a "server"
 

wayneh

Joined Sep 9, 2010
17,058
I don’t know how relevant it is here but a while back I considered using an old computer I had on hand as a web server. I was surprised to discover the electricity charge alone made it more expensive than hosting at GoDaddy. That’s before the software, uptime maintenance and all that web server stuff is factored in.

My point is only that repurposing and running an old machine may seem frugal while actually being the opposite.
 

Thread Starter

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
3,196
True and I am already backing up to a cloud server. I do want to play a bit with Linux tho... I think this was a circa 1999 puter and a bleeding edge one in its day. I seem to get ~5 years out of one before I get frustrated with the response and upgrade.
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
12,681
I do want to play a bit with Linux tho...
I'd go with Debian or Ubuntu. You can install either under Win10. If you're already using Raspberry Pi or some other SBC that uses Debian, that would be the way to go.

I used to play around with Ubuntu, but moved away from it when I started using C.H.I.P. and Raspberry Pi Zero/W because they both used Debian.

The first Linux distro I tried using was Mandrake; probably 20 years ago. I tried letting it setup a dual boot on a Windows computer and it screwed up the partition table on the drive by adding a 5th. Ended up having to reinstall Windows and all of the applications and that left me with a bad taste for Linux for a long time.

I had Linux installed on an old Willamette (original P4) computer with around 256MB of memory. It was wimpy hardware for the then current Windows version, but was fine for doing C and script development.
 

Thread Starter

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
3,196
I've had PI on the to-do list for a while and once I finish some other items I will have to get to it.
 

Yaakov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
2,442
I've had PI on the to-do list for a while and once I finish some other items I will have to get to it.
I think you will really enjoy it. It's a great intersection between OS/SysAdmin stuff with Linux and hardware with the exposed and easy to use GPIO. It doesn't have on-board DAC/ADC but it does have SPI so you can pretty easily add anything you want.

Check out Blynk (iOS/Android) for an easy and powerful way to front end the Pi.

Have fun!
 

sagor

Joined Mar 10, 2019
395
Hello,

On linuxcompatable, you can see what is working with the linux distros:
https://www.linuxcompatible.org/
The motherboards can be found here:
https://www.linuxcompatible.org/compatibility/hardware/motherboard/

When I lookup Dell 8100, a laptop comes up:
https://www.linuxcompatible.org/compatibility/report/dell-inspiron-8100/
Is there a complete name of the Dell computer?

Bertus
Bertus, it appears to be a
Dimension 8100 OptiPlex
based on the description...
 
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