If you have a newer IDE drive (within the past 2-3 years, or specifically one that supports UltraDMA mode transfers), you can speed up access to it considerably by simply editing a configuration file.
Rsnapshot: Archive, Snapshot, Backup MySQL Databases on Debian
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GlusterFS 3.2.x Tutorial: High-Availability Replicated Storage on Ubuntu 11.10
Install iRedMail and Mailman on Debian 6