A big File Server

kyr kkyriak at ee.duth.gr
Sat Dec 3 16:59:49 PST 2005

A big File Server

I’m the administrator of a student network of 350 people in the student 
campus of Xanthi Greece. We are NOT funded by the university or anybody 
else so we pay for everything in our network. I use FreeBSD for over a 
year now for our main server and I’m very happy with it. The goal is 
quite simple.

We need a 3 Terra Byte fileserver.


1. Cheap. No SCSI, no fancy disk controllers, not expensive equipment.

2. Unique space. No divisions (partitions) of any kind

3. Easily expandable

The purpose is to store there the data (movies, mp3, games, projects 
e.t.c) of the network.
The plan is to make a cluster of 4 old PCs (PII – PIII) that should work 
diskless using network cards with boot rom and PXE. Then mount all disks 
with NFS and “unite” them with Vinum volume manager. But before asking 
350 students to pay for this plan I have a lot of questions need to be 

1. Has anybody done this?

2. How stable and viable is the whole thing?

3. With Vinum can I mount volumes that are already full of data written 
in FFS or EXT3 without formatting them first?

4. Can I mount this way disks from a Linux box (FC3 with ext3 and LVM)?

5. Can I recover the contents of a single disk using a windows or a 
Linux box?

6. How can I tell the contents of a certain disk?

Any answers or ideas?

I Thank u in advance


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