Preparing your network for the fall business season

This week marks the start of my fall hardware purchasing series that will bring new severs to my apartment. It's the first step in starting up a business that I have been planning for the better part of a year now.

The old configuration was getting dated. Here's a quick summary of my existing network architecture:

  • An iBook from 2001, running Debian (no Mac OS for me, thanks). This machine has now suffered the loss of a second LCD screen, is running on it's second battery, has routine hard disk failures among other bugs. It acts as a gateway to the servers since it is incapable of maintaining files reliably.
  • The original Linux server, built in 2004 with recycled materials generously provided by members of the Linux Users Group of Vancouver. The processor is by far the slowest of the lot, coming in at an awesome 350 MHz, but works just fine with nearly any task you throw at it. It serves up files and applications remotely and powers my in-house radio station I started back in 2003.
  • The DMZ server, built in 2005 with more donated hardware from co-workers and personal friends. This machine acts as a firewall and NAT in addition to providing web services and email hosting. It is much faster than the other two machines.
  • A Blackberry, purchased in 2006 to remotely manage the machines. It's slow data throughput makes it an ideal candidate for replacement as well, though the user interface is generally pretty nice.

These computers make for a very busy household with wires abounding from every angle. The processing power is minimal on the user side of things and productivity wanes on two of the boxes due to vastly insufficient memory installed in the boxes.


The roadmap for the fall includes a new desktop system, upgrades to the servers and repurposing of the laptop to become a media server for my TV.

All three "desktop" systems (2 servers, 1 desktop, laptop excluded) will be rebuilt using Mini-ITX hardware and tiny cases that will move the servers onto the bookshelf. It will reduce energy consumption in my house, almost eliminate the noise from the computers (moving it below the ambient noise level of the street), and allow more flexibility with application development by separating the testing environment from production areas of work. Lastly, the new setup will remove many of the wires that are currently under siege from the new kitten and allow serious media work to commence in the new studio.

Earlier this week I purchased a new LCD monitor which will facilitate the work on all of these new machines. Now that it's up and running the cleanup of the old servers has begun and ordering of the Mini-ITX components is set to begin. It's nice to finally be organized again.

Ready to start talking about your upcoming business plans? I'd love to hear from you.

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