Project idea #1: Mini home server
SMALL FOOTPRINT, BIG DENSITY.
With an ever-digital life requiring dense storage solutions to keep up with our content creation and content consumption, having one’s digital life centrally served can make life so much simpler. This assessment is relevant to serving digital media collections for movies, music and TV shows, through to storing digital memories and documents such as family photos, important personal documents and so on, or perhaps to assist not just in creating order from the chaos of sizeable quantities of digital content but also create order from the chaos of numerous digital devices.
Depending on a number of factors, you may even consider utilising multiple services from a home mini server. For example, you may wish to set up a proper domain network structure operating from a central server to provide services such as DHCP or firewall protection if you wish to offload these from typically being implemented by a modem-router or router. Or perhaps you may take a ‘dumb server’ approach and rather than making the system a server as per the traditional sense, it could simply be another client PC on the network but with the storage drives mapped to the network and shared to other network clients.
You can go the vanilla route and look into different operating system versions, possible usage restrictions, within the Windows ecosystem, but there are so many great and often free alternative home server OS options out there to consider. There are options that are both noob friendly and hardcore to deliver the level of functionality, granular control and user friendliness that you require for your needs.
Some alternative server operating systems for home use include Amahi Home Server, FreeNAS, Open Media Vault, XPEnology, NAS4Free and for the console line Linux champions there’s Ubuntu Server.
While serving data is a core functionality of a home mini server, another useful function is to operate as a centralised backup point for other client devices on the network. So you may consider configuring the client to back up data to the home mini server on a daily basis or perhaps just once a week, or month, depending on the importance of your data.
An ASUS VivoMini-V VC65R makes for a potentially super- stacked file server.