I'm working at a project with around 7 computers (regular, mid-end PCs) connected to an Ethernet LAN, running Linux and used to run molecular simulation software like PyMOL. There are several users, each of which has his/her $HOME folder. The amount of data stored on those directories is very large, so since PC has an average of two HDD of 1TB each, and only the second one is being used to store $HOMEs, every computer hosts a couple of those folders and is, at the same time, an NFS server and client:
- A client when a user logs in (all boxes have equal
/etc/shadowfiles) and his/her $HOME is not hosted in that computer, then it'll be on other on, mounted via NFS.
- A server to export the $HOMEs it hosts.
When I started working as a (very unexperienced) IT admin at this project, about two weeks ago, I thought that this is wrong, and that the right thing to do is to centralize the storage, in a NAS-way. But we (the project) cannot afford a dedicated NAS device, though we will purchase a few more computers soon.
Since, while working, the R/W amount is not that intensive, and the number of PCs on the lab isn't expected do scale, I was wondering if putting all the HDDs in one machine (Core2Quad, or similar) and using it only as NFS file-server is a plausible option. Is it? (First doubt that crossed my mind is that a standard motherboard doesn't have seven or eight SATA plugs..)