With the growth of the network, especially once I moved in to a flat share with other nerds, the need for a dedicated fileserver grew.

As such Jupiter (as it was named back then) came into being. The choice of name was simple. Jupiter was the largest planet in the solar system, and this would be the largest server on the network (both physically, and in terms of disk space). It seemed fitting :)

As a result of this being a dedicated server, it had very few services running. This is probably why the hardware has remained unchanged for almost a decade. Services include:

The hardware consisted of:

With the exception of the 1TB disks and SATA cards, everything else was gotten second/third hard. Most of it was gotten for free! Back then there was no EU WEEE Directive, which meant that people were free to just throw out electronic equipment (nowadays, a tax added to the purchase price pays for the machine to be collected and recycled at EOL). This was literally a goldmine of free hardware! Alas, that is no more (now big corporations do what I used to, and I have to buy it from them *sigh*).

Despite the interesting background history of the hardware, it has served me well for almost a decade now. There was talk of upgrading the system as it was coming under unbearable load, but with me moving out and living alone again, the number of users dropped a lot, and the hardware is adaquate for the time being.

Nowadays people can use ssh/rsync to the file server, and as such it is used for my friends to backup their important stuff offsite (and me to do so on theirs in return).  It is also my and my familes main store of data.

It is overkill just for me, but I don't feel like merging it back into the main server, so I just use it as is.

Despite the hardware staying the same, the machine has been in many interesting cases over the years. Some of which I actually took photos of;

Machine History

The machine branched out from the central server (Sun/Helios), for which more info is available on its own page.

First iteration

The new machine needed its own case, which at the time I had none. I did however have an old CD changer that didn't work, so thought it would be cool to place the file server in there. So that is what I did.

Unfortunately I don't seem to have a photo of the original CD deck, not that you're missing much, it wasn't much to look at.

After stripping out all the innards of the deck, the components were laid out and tested:


Using the tried and true method of cardboard for structure and for insulation :P  It was all laid out as I thought best:

With refinement the first iteration was complete:


The cardboard was replaced with wood, and the PSU was mounted near the back where it would not get in the way, and where the cooling fan from the disks could cool it as well.

The sata and network cards were fitted. I had to remove the ethernet connecter and extend it to the front of the case so it would be easily plugged in. This actually turned out to work really well!

It was all put together and placed in service:

Later on I drilled holes into the circles you see on the top right hand side. There I placed 4 LED's. Power, main HD, SATA card 1 and sata card 2. The other holes could have been done for networking, but was never completed.

The bottom right square filled hole fit the ethernet port I removed from the network card. Unfortunately I don't seem to have a photo of the actual completed case, guess I was too eager to get it up and running! :)

And here is the file server running in the "datacentre" of the flat:

Second iteration

With the further growth of the server, and the wish to have more than 4 drives fit in the chassis, the case was replaced once again. This time we bought one, which offered loads of space, slots for 4 disks, and possibly more underneith.

The case is a 4U rackmount type, made of folded steel. It is not what I'd call "enterprise grade", but it is good enough for mounting in our flat. In the above photo you can see the 4 drives already mounted in the top bays, while the lower bays are still empty. The motherboard is installed and cleaned up inside:

One this that was left was the 5.25" display, usually for a CD Drive. We had no need for a CD drive, and the hole was quite ugly tbh, so we decided to make it useful, by adding a VFD to the server:

This VFD is different to previous ones I've done, in that is support both HD44780 parallel and serial modes. This is the first one that I made using a serial connection, which I'm happy to say was a sucess!

First run using LCDproc :)  The VFD will be used to display server stats, such as load, network usage, memory usage, free disk space, etc.... This is doubly important as the machine will be running headless, and this would be the only way to make sure everything is ok without plugging in a display (which would be a PITA, due to having to remove the server from the rack to plug it in, etc...).

Here is the server racked and ready to go. We installed the VFD and put a cover of tinted plexiglass:

And here is the server running (lcdproc still had to be configured). The tinted plexiglass shifts the colour of the VFD, moving it from "greeny-blue" to a more "whitish-blue":

There are also 4 LEDs, which are again wired as: power, HD, SATA1, SATA2. The above picture is taken as the machine is booting up.