Tell Me About Servers, Please

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    Posted: 17 August 2012 02:55 PM

    My second external Iomega 1 TB HD is arriving this afternoon, and I’ve been thinking about using some of it as a file server (mostly video) for family and friends all over the US, and even a couple in the UK.

    Trouble is, I don’t really know how a server works, but I guess I need to start with ‘OS X Server’ from the Mac App Store.  My main concern is whether someone downloading a file to their computer is going to suck up all of my precious little internet bandwidth or not.  So let me ask the question this way; if my brother in Half Moon Bay, CA is downloading a file from my server in Ann Arbor, MI, is his PC pulling the file, or is my Mac pushing it?

    Since I don’t want to turn this project into a career, are there any other concerns, I should look out for?

    Thank you.

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    “A body in motion at a constant velocity will remain in motion until pushed out of bounds by the Strong Safety.”    ~  Issac Newton’s First Law of Physics

         
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    Posted: 23 August 2012 02:21 PM #1

    If your server is local (attached to your network, goes through your router) then every time he downloads the file, you are uploading it to him. The speed will be your upload speed, and size will count towards your monthly bandwidth limit.

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  • Posted: 05 September 2012 11:06 AM #2

    Here are some areas to think about:

    1.) What is your current plan with your ISP
    a) What is your Download/Upload rate
    b) Do you have a significant monthly Data Cap

    2.) What are you trying to host? Files, images, movies, game server (such as Minecraft)

    3.) How often does this Server need to be available?

    4.) Are you thinking of hosting it from your own computer or do you have a second computer that’s going to be do this?

    5.) How many people do you expect to be accessing it at once?
    a) Can you handle double or triple that amount?

    6.) How paranoid are you about security?

    ====

    I run my own MacMini as a Minecraft Server and have in the past used it as Wiki/Group project server. It is my secondary computer and not my primary. It does not have critical or personal financial data.  My ISP doesn’t not have a noticeable data cap (if I was running a Torrent service for movies and other large files then it’d be more an issue).

    According to Speedtest.net I can Upload 13 Megabits per second ( just a little over 1.5 Megabytes). That is the fastens I can send data to 1 user. If I have more people connect then that 1.5 upload speed gets split between them. The minimum data rate for streaming compressed H.264 video at 720p can run anywhere from 1,500-3,000 kbps (kilobits per second). Taking the upper end, 13 mbps is roughly 13,000 kbps, so I could run as many as 4 simulations streams without noticeable loading issues in an ideal world. Realistically it’ll likely be closet to 2 then 3 actually stable streams.

    There is no such thing as “Push/Pull”. Any time you do Interent things it is a Send/Receive relationship. The sender uses their “Upload” speed to send the file(s);. The Receiver uses their “Download” speed to basically catch it. Most home Interent plans have bigger Down then Up. This means you can Receive more at once then you can Send.

    Right now when I press Submit Post. I will send the contents of this web form I’m filling out (this post) to TMO. I will use a tiny bit of my Upload bandwidth. TMO will use a part of their Download bandwidths to receive.

    Hopefully this has helped you understand a bit of the process of dealing with a home server. Lastly, something to consider is if there is a 3rd party service you can use for the same purpose (and in your budget). For example if you are looking at doing primarily document (Word, PowerPoint) you may consider something like GoogleDocs. The question really is “what do you plan on doing with your server?”

    *edit*

    Okay really read that tiny text in your post. Your looking at doing a family (extended?) scale host of your own computer for pictures and video. Arguably that is what things YouTube and Picasa are for, and learning how to create private collection on those services, you could even use Dropbox. However having control over ones own content isn’t something I’d not stand in the way of, it’s why I have my own server.

    In your case if since it doesn’t seem you have a second computer, you’ll be running off yours. Unless the Iomega drive is a network drive with its own web hosting you’ll be using your whole computer as the server…. even if you only allow acess to that one specific drive/directory. Anytime your computer is off your server will be off and not accessible.

    [ Edited: 05 September 2012 11:26 AM by Dorje Sylas ]      
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    Posted: 05 September 2012 11:14 AM #3

    Consider registering a domain and have it hosted. You can upload your videos there, have a website, your own email addresses.

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    “Works of art, in my opinion, are the only objects in the material universe to possess internal order, and that is why, though I don’t believe that only art matters, I do believe in Art for Art’s sake.” E. M. Forster

         
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    Posted: 05 September 2012 12:22 PM #4

    Thanks to you all for your thoughtful replies.


    I obviously need to go back to square one, and rethink this thing.  While I anticipate only very light use (1-2 people per week), maybe I should look at dusting off my old G3 tower and using that, perhaps with a web site of my own.  And though services like Dropbox are attractive, I have 300 GB of video and photos I want to upload only once, and forget about it.  The money I would have to put into DropBox for additional storage would be better served toward a web site.


    I obviously need to cogitate on this some more.

    PS - I have no idea why this post is in italics.

    [ Edited: 05 September 2012 12:26 PM by iJack ]

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    “A body in motion at a constant velocity will remain in motion until pushed out of bounds by the Strong Safety.”    ~  Issac Newton’s First Law of Physics

         
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    Posted: 05 September 2012 12:32 PM #5

    It looks like I didn’t have a closing italic tag in my signature. That happened a few years ago. I deleted the opening tag.

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    “Works of art, in my opinion, are the only objects in the material universe to possess internal order, and that is why, though I don’t believe that only art matters, I do believe in Art for Art’s sake.” E. M. Forster

         
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    Posted: 05 September 2012 12:41 PM #6

    Lee ~ How in gawd’s name can that leak over into my post?!
    Aren’t each of these posting spaces discrete?

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    “A body in motion at a constant velocity will remain in motion until pushed out of bounds by the Strong Safety.”    ~  Issac Newton’s First Law of Physics

         
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    Posted: 05 September 2012 02:10 PM #7

    If I remember correctly the last time I scewed up a closing tag here the entire page was itallic, links and all. The interesting thing is that until this morning I hadn’t changed my signature. I don’t remember if I had the closing tag in there or not, but until today it didn’t mess up the comments.

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    “Works of art, in my opinion, are the only objects in the material universe to possess internal order, and that is why, though I don’t believe that only art matters, I do believe in Art for Art’s sake.” E. M. Forster

         
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    Posted: 05 September 2012 02:25 PM #8

    So presumably, you could fix it by adding first and last tags?
    Woohoo!  It works.

    [ Edited: 05 September 2012 02:31 PM by iJack ]

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    “A body in motion at a constant velocity will remain in motion until pushed out of bounds by the Strong Safety.”    ~  Issac Newton’s First Law of Physics

         
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    Posted: 05 September 2012 02:32 PM #9

    Yes, close the tag, like you did

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    “Works of art, in my opinion, are the only objects in the material universe to possess internal order, and that is why, though I don’t believe that only art matters, I do believe in Art for Art’s sake.” E. M. Forster