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Author Topic: Sheevaplug or Guruplug + what have I not thought of?  (Read 5287 times)

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« on: May 01, 2010, 11:21:45 AM »

Dear Experts,

I would appreciate any opinions on which way I should go..

First my problem:

At the moment I have a purpose built PC just used for SBS 7.5. It's too noisy, too big, uses up too much electricity (on 24/7) and I've filled up all the 500Gb of storage with FLAC files. I now also plan to go full multi-media at home streaming HD video and copies of my DVD disks via a home network.


From doing a bit of research I have come to the conclusion that a Plugcomputer based NAS system seems to be the way to go. I am as green a noobie as you can get when it comes to Linux and the Sheeva/Guru plugs. The question I have is should I go for a Sheevaplug eSATA or (newer) Guruplug Server+.

I want a new Plugcomputer to perform the following:

1. Support Squeezebox Server 7.5 for all my audio (FLAC)
2. Act as a NAS file server for photo's & video + file backups
3. Stream mkv and other video files to a Popcornhour device or equivalent (DLNA support maybe for the new Blu-Ray players as an alternative?)
4. Bittorrent client

Can I run all of this off such either device now or wait till Nov/Dec when 2GHz Plugcomputer 3.0 comes out?

I don't need wifi or BT as I plan to plug it straight into my wireless router. I noticed that the CPU speed (1.2GHz) is the same for both but the Guru has 800Mhz memory bus compared to 400MHz for Sheeva. Is this material for performance?

I also plan to build a large RAID eSATA storage device. The best for price/performance I have found so far is the Startech 4 drive enclosure SAT3540ER2 which support RAID 5 with 4x 2Tb drives giving 6Tb of usable storage.


I 'understand' that eSATA external drives should be kinder to the CPU compared to USB (and faster) leaving more horsepower to decode my FLAC files and stream video files etc. Is this a correct assumption?

Would the Sheeva or Guru (running Debian) support this sort of eSATA disk array as a NAS device? I guess port multiplier support would be required from the eSATA port on the plugcomputer?

The Guru Server + does not ship with a JTAG unlike the Sheeva which is built in. If I am to build a SBS/NAS plugcomputer, do I need JTAG as this adds another 32 for the Guru Server+ or can it be configured/updated without it?

Anything I have missed? Sorry for so many questions, but if I get something like the storage very wrong it could end up being an expensive experiment and I have no idea what I'm talking about.

Many thanks in advance for your assistance!

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« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2010, 04:01:55 PM »

as you plan with an external esata raid from the start, i would consider building a small atom based homeserver in big enough case. Running a software raid should be fast enough to saturate a Gigabit link.

You should also consider that four 3.5" Disks pull also quite some power.

Beside this, the sheevaplug would be fast enough to do all this. Its only shuffling data from disk to the network interface. USB will limit the speed as its only 480MBs and has a higher CPU overhead then esata.

I would not buy a plug without jtag. as it seems you have no access to the serial console.


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« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2010, 06:42:11 AM »

I fail to see what's the usefulness of RAID is for your purpose:
- RAID (when well done) brings better performance (bandwidth and latency), which you don't need in that case
- RAID brings high availability, which you don't really need either
- RAID is NOT a backup (it is neither off-line nor off-site, thus vulnerable to power surges, viruses, theft, fire, operator mistakes...), which you do need more than the first 2 things.

Unless you really need 6 un-backupped TB, I'd go with a single large drive, and another one in an external box, for weekly backups, stored at work the rest of the time.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2010, 06:43:57 AM by obarthelemy » Logged


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« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2010, 04:00:05 AM »

In the specification PDF of the Guruplug there's a column "Hardware Security Engines - AES, DES and 3DES encryption algorithms, SHA1 and MD5 authentication algorithms". This section is not included in the Sheevaplug specification PDF.
Does the Sheevaplug have AES hardware encryption or not? I'm confused because I read something about dm-crypt on the Sheevaplug, or is it just a software solution?

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« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2010, 07:29:33 AM »

The Marvell 88F6281 SOC (which is in all the plugs at this point) has hardware-based Cryptographic Engines and a Security
Accelerator.  The hardware does NOT support every encryption algorithm.  Marvell has provided Linux driver(s) to support the hardware and these drivers are in the main Linux tree.  The drivers expose the hardware based algorithms.

It is now a question of whether the software you want to run will use the driver(s) that Marvell has provided.

For more about the hardware, take a look at this document: http://www.marvell.com/products/processors/embedded/kirkwood/FS_88F6180_9x_6281_OpenSource.pdf


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« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2010, 11:31:56 AM »

If you don't need Wi-Fi or BlueTooth or dual Ethernet, but do need a lot of storage, you might consider bying one of Synology NAS. I have got DS-210j, which has exactly the same CPU as GuruPlug. Just like SheevaPlug/GuruPlug, it is open for customizations and Synology provides the toolchain to cross-compile applications to your taste, although you don't get JTAG or access to whatever boot loader it uses (not directly in any case). And most of the features you need you will get out of the box.

Lack of knowledge is not such a big problem, unwillingness to learn is.

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