Hardware/Software recommendations for personal cloud/email

I am looking for a reccomendation on how large a hard drive needed to run an email/cloud server for a small family. Would an older laptop work? what would the minimum of RAM needed? in order to do both, do I need two drives or if the HD was large enough, would different partitions work? I am fairly tech savvy, but not when it comes to server “stuff”, I am a babe in the woods. What server software is reccommended? [I apologize for posting this previously in someone else’s question]

Hey BigDave!

Check out https://nextcloud.com/ and https://mailinabox.email/. I’ve been looking in these myself, but haven’t had time to do anything with it. It will at least get you started with some information.


thanks. I appreciate it.

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Additionally, for a small family, I’d suggest at least 1TB of storage space. If you’re intending to backup photos and videos, it would be better if you have 2TB+ to cover that, depending on your needs.

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Thanks, again. These forums are the best!


Could I use a laptop with a 2 TB external?

Technically, yes. Advisable? Probably not. The more disconnected the drive is from the motherboard, the slower it is. You could also run into some hardware issues and road blocks with setting it up as a server. Though I could be wrong. @Will or @vasileios would know more about this specific setup than me I think.

Thanks. Any reccommendations for an NAS?

Raspberry Pi’s work quite well as an NAS. Intel NUCs are also pretty viable.

My daughter actualy has, well had until yesterday, an older tower. It has a 1 TB drive, she thinks and windows 8 - I would have to kill that anyway. Should I use ubuntu server and install “soverign” package or do individual services for an email server, CRM, cloud and backups? any ideas would be great.

Haven’t actually set one up myself and I’m not sure if you would need a separate server for each function. If you check out NextCloud.com, they have a lot of resources on how to set things up. Using their server base, you may be able to do an all-in-one function server. Though Ubuntu Server is also a very good option, I just don’t know much about it. @vasileios or @Will may know more.

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@BigDaveAZ, email server, and cloud with backups can be simple, but I recommend adding extra drives in a RAID-1 array to have data redundancy. As @SBHX said, it’s possible to have them all running on the same system via sandbox isolation - which Docker or Kubernetes provides. However, that may require a bit of RAM for the internal virtualization. I meant to get started on those lately, but I got caught up with support.

I haven’t done any CRM personally, as I’ve always been engaged with B2B (Business-to-Business) throughout my life. And the clients in my field are not many, so they’re much easier to handle. :blush:

I am waiting on a trackball and a power cord to get that old system up and running - then I can check on the drive configuration. I have the model # HP Envy h8-1437c desktop. on HPs site it does not give dimensions of drive bays, so I will have to check on that. as far as CRM - it is just a personal address book to share with my wife. I am coming from Microsh@t Office - the whole shebang. Libre is great for office replacement except Outlook - I have to pay for office again in November, so I am hoping to get this whole thing setup and running smothly by then. I have watched the video on setting up the web server with cyberpanel and I will have to see if anything else can cohabitate nicely on the same drive/s - will ubuntu server walk me through the raid 1 setup or once I get to that point maybe you can help a brother out - lol.


I totally hear you there! I’m starting to get low on office space at the moment - since I wasn’t prepared for a full move to the US. I arrived here with a small suitcase, and nobody would let me go! So, I’m rebuilding a lot of stuff in a rather small space. :slight_smile:

For the RAID-1, I’d recommend you grab one that has hardware support for it so that it can be easily recognizable if you decide to switch systems. However, it will need to be hooked on a system you assign as the server - meaning locally.


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First off - Welcome to the US and I am glad nobody would let you go. Second, if I have 2 drives in the old tower, can I set up a raid-1 on my own, or will ubuntu server walk me through that option? I would love to purchase the system you sent the link for but $ are tight -I am on disability. I scrounged for the $20 for the class - I have gone through the lessons and cannot wait for more. Will we be getting in to the meat of the command line - which commands are most frequently used, what each one actually does, and so forth? I will be asking many questions on the server journey, I am sure. Thanks for all the help you and @SBHX are always on top of things.

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Thank you so much! I canceled 3 return tickets and ended up staying here for good, and I love the country! That’s why I’m so protective of her.

Oh, man, I completely understand the financial struggle, and I thank you so much for your support! Truly.

You can make it work with your current tower, provided you can attach two drives of the same capacity. On the Ubuntu Server, once installed, the process to set them up as RAID-1 is simple:

sudo apt install mdadm

This is the software that will get you through the process of creating the RAID system. It’s also your go-to application to rebuild it - if something goes wrong with a drive. I remember I had a drive failure during a project, and that little app rebuilt everything in 90 minutes.

Once you have it installed, run:

mdadm --create

And follow the on-screen instructions.
For all the functionalities of mdadm, you can type:

man mdadm

The command man stands for manual, and most, if not all, commands have their respective pages in the man area. :wink:

Hi, I want to ask a newbie question. Nextcloud does not offer end to end encryption(yet), what does that mean from a security standpoint? Will my raspberry(server) send all data to the receiver in open text? Will data be accessible easily? I would appreciate some links or literature to understand better. I need to have my data safe and when sending emails or content, it should not be accessible to others than the destination user

Check out the Helm personal server referenced in this post. It has email and nextcloud already setup. It is designed to run in your home environment and get around the blocks isps put on running home email servers.

Plus it is a lot more secure then what most people would configure themselves