Mini-ITX Testing Server [Updated]

This is my first in hopefully a long line of tech based posts about my experiences and things that I see on the internet. I thought I would write this post in the form of a story. So I’ll begin.

When I first started developing websites they were small, primarily static websites that would run quite comfortably on an Apache testing server on the computer I was also developing the website on. Unfortunately, my interests widened and large Ruby on Rails or ColdFusion websites would consume all of the computers resources preventing me from doing any developing what so ever. This led me to the decision that I needed an independent server to test websites on.

The first server that I set up was based on a Dell Optiplex GLx Pentium II. I even had to rip the CD-ROM out of it to fit a second hard drive in so that I would have enough space for the OS (Debian 3.1 Sarge) this was great until I needed to access the server remotely and run FastCGI, in the end this server slowed down to a snails pace.

I based my second attempt on a specification as I thought it would lead me to a better result. The specification I thought of was as follows:

  • Small footprint.
  • Quiet operation.
  • Low running temperature.
  • USB for backup.
  • Plenty of storage space.

After my searching’s through the internet I came across the Mini-ITX form factor and decided this would be my best option. All the components that I used were sourced from LinITX and eBay and assembled by myself. The end specification including software is:

Hardware:

  • Motherboard:VIAEPIA 5000 Eden
  • Processor:VIA Eden 533Mhz EBGA, Fanless
  • Memory: 256MB Kingston Low Profile PC133
  • Storage: Seagate ST92011A – 20GB (IDE), IBM DMCA21440 – 1.4GB (USB), 24×8×4 Slim CD-RW (IDE)
  • Case: Cubid 3688 (Black), 1x Case Fan, 12V Power Board

System Software:

  • OS: Ubuntu 6.06 LTS Server
  • Kernel: 2.6.15
  • Bootloader: Grub 0.9.7

Server Software:

  • Webserver: Apache 2.0.55
  • PHP: 5.1.2
  • Database: MySQL 5.0.12
  • CGI: FastCGI 2.4.2
  • Ruby: 1.8.4 inc. Rails 1.1.2

The server runs very quickly, very quietly and as you can see from the image above it is very small.

The aim of this post is to help anyone in the same situation as me to get a setup that works. Hope it helps.

Back soon.

Update: Something I forget to mention in the original post that I remembered when re-installing the other day is that the default kernel with the Ubuntu 6.06 Server disk does not function correctly with the VIA Eden processor. If you use this disk you must install, re-boot from CD and select repair installation, then using ‘apt-get’ or Aptitude install the kernel ‘i386 – 2.6.15’ from one of the Ubuntu repositories. When you restart everything should be working fine.

Mini-ITX Testing Server [Updated]