8. Building a Home Server
A home server is a computer located in a private residence that is dedicated to providing file sharing and other centralized services to other computers within that residence. A home server may also provide virtual private network (VPN) service or password-controlled access to allow authorized people to access server resources remotely via the Internet. Some home servers are configured as public-facing Internet hosts that run web servers, mail servers, or other services open to the Internet at large.
Media Center System Versus Home Server
Although they appear superficially similar, there are significant differences between a media center system and a home server. Both store files, but there the similarity ends.
A media center system sits front and center in the den or living room and is used interactively in much the same way as a desktop system, albeit usually from across the room. Size, noise level, and appearance are important, and disk storage is typically fairly limited.
A home server usually sits in a closet or buried under a desk somewhere, and is seldom if ever used interactively. Size, noise level, and appearance are generally less important for a server, and the amount of disk storage it supports is massive. For example, our media center system has two hard drives, for a total of 4 TB of disk space; our home server will eventually host eight hard drives, with a total of 24 TB of disk space. It may also host several eSATA external hard drives ...