I had the need to perform a few different tasks, such as monitoring solar panels, download torrents/emule, run vpn servers, aggregate two different ADSL connections, share media files, backup data.
I decided to build my own mini-server to host all the services needed to meet my requirements.
I preferred to build a virtualizzation server, and than install multiple OSes. This choice partially derives from me having already 3 different OS installations on two old PCs. I migrated these on the new server as virtual machines.
I was looking for something quiet, quite powerfull but with low TDP, affordable. I run into ASRocks Q1900. A mini itx motherboard with an embedded intel J1900 quadcore processor. If your looking for real low tdp (9W), quiet (no fans whatsoever, only passive dissipation), low costs (60$ for motherboard+processor, 25$ for 8GB ram, 50$ for case+power unit, disk(s) if you don’t have any spare) this is your choice.
If you want something more, you can go for a AMD Athlon 5370 + ASRock AM1B-ITX, at the cost of 35W TDP, one fan noise, and a few bucks more.
If you want to save some money, you can recycle an old case + power supply, if you don’t mind fan noises and large cases. Or you can use something like this; no fans, no noise.
This assembly works great with xBMC, by the way. A powerfull and versatile way to build your own mediacenter.
Host OS: Lubuntu 16.04 LTS
As host operating system, i choosed Lubuntu. I like ubuntu, and this flavor is really light.
You will need the iso on cd (if you have an us cd reader) or USB stick. For the installation, i created a 24GB root partition, plus 6GB swap. If you have a spare 32GB SSD or USB stick (yes, you can install all this on a USB Stick, if at least with 8MB/s write speed), this is enough.
After the installation is done, you should at once edit network settings to a static ip address.
then install some utilities:
- install SSH server for remote “putty” logins
- remove light-locker (a bug prevent xvnc11 from working correctly)
- install x11vnc
- set the password for vnc
- start the vnc listener (now you con connect from tighvnc or similar on port 5900
- sudo apt-get install openssh-server
- sudo apt-get remove light-locker sudo apt-get install xscreensaver
- sudo apt-get install x11vnc
- x11vnc -storepasswd /etc/x11vnc.pass
- sudo /usr/bin/x11vnc -xkb -auth /var/run/lightdm/root/:0 -noxrecord -noxfixes -noxdamage -rfbauth /home/guidomarche/.vnc/passwd -forever -bg -rfbport 5900 -display :0
From now on you can do everything remotely.
I had problems with random freezes, when using a Seagate Barracuda HD. I realized that it has something to do with the power management. I added the parameter intel_idle.max_cstate=1 to the kernel parameters, and everythign went fine since. Another way i fuond was using old kernels (3.16.7-29 was ok).