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What to do to kill time and three severs?


alique89
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Depending on what they are spec wise it might be better to sell them and just use VM's. I was going to get some P3 2U servers with scsi as well, but I figured that the power the would eat and the noise they would produce wasn't worth it for the usage I was going to get out of them.

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I think the real question is - what do you want to do with them (edit: and just how fast are they anyways?)

If you don't have a server at home but do web development work at home you could use one as a LAMP box.

If you have multiple computers at home and are always trying to figure out what file is on which you could use one as a fileserver (as others suggested, use SATA or IDE drives on off-board controllers for cost-effective storage.)

If you like playing with software, put a different OS on each and play - if you want to/work as a net admin, try to get all the different OSes to talk together... securely.

If you like gaming, set up a dedicated game server and/or a tunnel server(hamachi? OpenVPN, etc) to game with friends who aren't in the same building.

Put all your security tools and utilities on it and use it to get jobs performing security audits.

If you are in to home automation, use one to start controlling your household lights, appliances, etc.

If you like talking on the phone, set up Asterisk and find free or 'almost free' VoIP services and build your own VoIP network.

If you like modern art and don't need the computers for anything, turn the machines into a lawn ornament (I once saw a 3' tall dragon built entirely out of computer parts... was kind of cool.)

If you don't already have a PVR, Media center PC, or Media player hooked up to your TV, create one or more of the above.

If you don't have a router but want to be able to hook up multiple PCs to share one internet connection, use one as a router/firewall.

If you hate computers, hit up ebay and turn your spare systems into cash you can spend on something else you enjoy.

If you enjoy cooking, get a touchscreen and build yourself a touchscreen-activated digital cookbook in one of your kitchen cupboards.

Depending on the size, you can stack them up and use them as a chair - or in the case of a 2U rackmouse case, put it on legs and use it as a coffee table - yet another options is to mod it with windows and floors and things and use it as a hampster cage.

As for what I would do - I don't know... I just finished turning my last 'spare' server into a LAN party server.  I tweaked out the system with a second CPU, as much RAM, and as many disks as I could.  It has all the dedicated servers ready to run.  It also has 5 copies of each patch, utility, and installer that are typically needed at LAN parties (each copy resides on a seperate drive to decrease install delays due to seek times.) 

As for SCSI/SATA...  For volume go SATA with an offboard controller.  If the server has a RAID controller you can use smaller SCSI drives in a RAID 5 array for OS, software, and small file storage but it'll give you redundancy and screaming speed (assuming you don't get like 50-pin SCSI-I drives.)  If the server doesn't have a decent hardware RAID controller, just stick to IDE/SATA.  Keep in mind that while many servers may have onboard IDE in addition to SCSI, the IDE chain *may* not be bootable and *may* only be ATA-33 (designed for CD, DVD, or tape drives where speed isn't as critical) so if you have a pile of PATA disks lying around, get an off-board controller anyways, it'll most likely give you much better performance and may be required in order to have the system bootable without a SCSI disk.

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P2's are useless, throw them away and get yourself a more modern desktop system with plenty of RAM and a large HD, then investigate VMware server. A stack of old servers will use loads more power, produce more noise and require expensive components than is worth it for the actual amount of number crunching they can do today. Most of the home server tasks like mail, squidcache, web server, ftp server etc can be virtulized on one box as your not likely to absolutely hammer them. And equipment thats that old is useless for anything remotely like a media center.

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I disagree with VaKo's post 3 posts up ^ - while it is not the fastest it surely is not completely useless.  IMHO it would actually be better for many tasks than 'modern desktop systems' as these servers were designed to run 24/7/365 and most 'modern desktop systems' are designed to last 3 to 5 years with 8 hours of daily usage and utilize some of the cheapest parts I've ever seen.

While a P2 450 isn't bad a good question is what does the system support in terms of upgrades?  Check the manufacturer out, there's a good chance you can get up to a P-III 600 going in there.  If the system supports multiple CPUs you can even double up.  I got a pair of P-III 600s with matching VRMs for $12 each on ebay a while back.  RAM is probably going to be 'special' if it is a true server system (ie registered buffered ECC SDRAM) but I recently got 1.5 gigs of PC100 Registered buffered ECC SDRAM for free.  I've seen it on ebay for as low as $30 per gig.  Larger SCSI drives are expensive no matter what.  But you can get 18 gig drives off of ebay for $10 to $20 each, and that could be more than enough storage depending on what you want to do.  (Just make sure you get the right drives and/or hotswap bays as the server supports it and has free slots.  If you have any questions about server hardware feel free to PM me the make and model information and I'll tell you what you can/can't do with it in terms of upgrades.)

Operating systems?

Linux - A distro without X (or with X disabled) would scream on that system (upgraded or not.)  (I like Slackware 11)

Windows 2000 - would run quite nicely (don't worry about it taking 5 to 10 minutes to boot up in Windows 2000, that is the OS and not the hardware (My dual Xeon 2.4 with 3 gigs of RAM takes 12 minutes to get to the desktop - takes an additional 4 minutes or so to complete booting.)

OpenBSD - Why not?

Solaris x86 - Not sure how it'll do, but you can give it a try and let us know...

As for what you can do with it - to review....

If you want to / do web development it would make an excellent LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP) test box.  All you need is a good Linux distribution (I prefer Slackware, though installation isn't as simple as other distros,) Apache HTTPD, PHP, and MySQL (versions of all 3 can be installed with Slackware 11 (avoid 12, it has a few issues.))  If you want to learn JSP or similar add Apache Tomcat to the above.  If you're an ASP guy that system is more than enough to run Windows 2000, IIS, MySQL/MsSQL, PHP, and anything else.

If upgraded with a few IDE or SATA drives, it'd be an excellent file server.  Personally I'd use Slackware Linux, though aren't there some Linux systems that basically give you a web-based configuration system similar to a consumer-grade NAS system?

The system is more than enough to run even some of the most modern dedicated game servers (especially under Linux without X.)  I can host 32 player games of UT2k4 and COD2 simultaneously on a dual P-III 600 running Slackware Linux.

For routing/VPN, I can get a sustained throughput of 65Mbit/s between two networks using two P-III 500s with Linux and OpenVPN to create a tunnel.

It all comes back to what you want to do.

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Thanks for the ideas. I look in to upgrading and it can only take two p2 processors and a GB of what looks to be DDR ram. and is not hot swap capable. It has windows NT4.5 already installed, but I'm thinking of using Solaris x86. if that doesn't work I'm gonna go with a Unix OS.

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I disagree with VaKo's post 3 posts up ^ - while it is not the fastest it surely is not completely useless.  IMHO it would actually be better for many tasks than 'modern desktop systems' as these servers were designed to run 24/7/365 and most 'modern desktop systems' are designed to last 3 to 5 years with 8 hours of daily usage and utilize some of the cheapest parts I've ever seen.

I've run consumer level hardware for months on end without a problem, consumer hardware is a lot more resilient that you might expect. You can run all of this stuff on old servers, and they do make good learning tools, but in all honesty there old junk compared to whats being thrown away today. If you look at it in terms of the space used by a system, one P4 system with 2 x 500GB discs running 4 or 5 virtual machines will be better than multiple physical machines with minimal resources doing seperate tasks.

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VOIP Server!!!

Try Trixbox at http://www.trixbox.org

It's actually quite fun to get a server going as a VOIP server...

I started doing it just for the larf and now I use it everyday for my business

A PII shoudn't have much problem running trixbox (unless you plan to have like 15 calls at once...)

Put it into perspective...A WRT54GS can handle 4 calls at once and it only runs at 215MHz with 32MB of RAM (as far as I can remember..I scrapped that peice of junk for IPCOP).

Cheers

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