I am thinking on getting my first dedicated server. I'm not a linux sysadmin (but I know how to use the basic shell commands and I am a c++ developper on windows environments). In order to drop the cost I was thinking to manage it on my own, also because I need only a file server (no php, no mysql, no mail, no cpanels), maybe only a stats program. I will try to install all on a home PC, but my question is this:

How hard it is to do all the security managment? Like upgrading apache, installing and upgrading the firewall. Do i need to upgrade the kernel or recompile it?
Is it possible to make a one time install/configuration and nearly "forget" the server since I want to install only the minimum for an http server.

Any suggestions for the OS choice?