HTPC + NAS vs HTPC with Raid controller - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 03-11-2013, 04:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Looking at building out a HTPC system to be used across 4 devices in my home plus some mobile devices. I am thinking I will probably go with a Plex based system so that I can have one central server and put a Roku or other device in each room (the roku 3 with headphone port in the remote looks really nice for the bedroom).

My question is what are the pros and cons of using something like a shuttle pc/mac mini + NAS (probably Synology DS1512+) vs building out a server with a hardware raid controller or even just using a software raid controller? The only big pro to the pc + NAS I can think of is power consumption and possibly noise, however I plan on tucking this away in the garage or a closet.

I know I can install Plex server directly on the NAS which would be the way to go if I didn't want a dedicated Plex server, however I want the dedicated server to be able to handle transcoding.
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post #2 of 19 Old 03-11-2013, 06:18 AM
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Your right in they you can do much more with a server. If you get a motherboard with 8 SATA port I doubt you'll need a RAID card just yet.


Servers can be expanded and upgraded easily making them future proof. NAS boxes not so much.

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post #3 of 19 Old 03-11-2013, 07:37 AM
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When you start putting a ton of hard drives in a htpc they get louder and make annoying noises(chirping, clicking).

I would suggest HTPC + file server(Plex server) as a third and best option. I would suggest using Unraid or Flexraid for the file server. The problem with hardware RAID is that you can lose the entire array at once(this sucks). With Flexraid or Unraid even with multiple drive failures you won't lose everything. Motherboard based software RAID ranges from slow to massively broken.
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post #4 of 19 Old 03-11-2013, 08:05 AM
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Good advice^

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post #5 of 19 Old 03-11-2013, 09:10 AM - Thread Starter
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I just discovered unraid very recently and that does look tempting.

Another option I am now considering is Plex Server on Windows 8 with Storage Spaces and a Sans Digital RaidTower with JBOD to present the drives to Windows 8 individually and then using storage spaces to make an Unraid like array.

The part I don't like about unraid is that I would need another processor/motherboard/ram etc to run it. I know you can run plex directly on it but there are other things I want that you can't like iTunes.
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post #6 of 19 Old 03-11-2013, 10:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MiikeB View Post

I just discovered unraid very recently and that does look tempting.

Another option I am now considering is Plex Server on Windows 8 with Storage Spaces and a Sans Digital RaidTower with JBOD to present the drives to Windows 8 individually and then using storage spaces to make an Unraid like array.

The part I don't like about unraid is that I would need another processor/motherboard/ram etc to run it. I know you can run plex directly on it but there are other things I want that you can't like iTunes.

The total cost should/can be less than a HTPC + NAS. Keeping the hard drives away from your home theater is worth it to me.

As far as itunes running on a file server, I'm not sure why you would do that. Please see this link though: http://lime-technology.com/forum/index.php?topic=13776.0

Anything that you can run on Linux, it is possible to run on Unraid. It isn't necessarily easy but possible. I have two custom addons that I put together, one was extremely easy and the other has proven very difficult to meet the dependencies on.

Flexraid might be worthwhile for you to look at. I have found Unraid to be more stable than Windows but I understand the attraction.
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post #7 of 19 Old 03-14-2013, 05:29 AM
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I simply can't stand the thought of using an MS product for storage... yuckk...

IF you can dare trying a linux server install, you can have everything... file sharing, plex media server... etc... in one reliable and stable box.

Try CentOS (my favorite) or Ubuntu and you won't regret a thing...

A steep learning curve it is, but it brings you full control of your destiny...
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post #8 of 19 Old 03-14-2013, 01:35 PM
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And what exactly is wrong with Microsoft ?

They are an excellent software and OS company IMO.

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post #9 of 19 Old 03-14-2013, 02:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MiikeB View Post

install Plex server directly on the NAS which would be the way to go if I didn't want a dedicated Plex server

This would probably not be the way to go for any reasonably priced NAS http://forums.plexapp.com/index.php/topic/62785-plex-transcoder-performance-vs-synology-video-station/

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Originally Posted by macks View Post

Keeping the hard drives away from your home theater is worth it to me
There are several ways to do this other than building/buying a separate box. The only thing you need to be "near" your home theater is an HDMI cable and IR/RF/etc receiver
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post #10 of 19 Old 03-15-2013, 07:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

And what exactly is wrong with Microsoft ?

They are an excellent software and OS company IMO.

Windows is great for a client PC. For a server, Linux is normally more stable. This is of course my opinion.
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post #11 of 19 Old 03-15-2013, 07:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macks View Post

Windows is great for a client PC. For a server, Linux is normally more stable. This is of course my opinion.

That is it...

Linux is normally more stable and reliable
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post #12 of 19 Old 03-16-2013, 07:38 AM
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So your saying Windows home server is not stable or reliable rolleyes.gif

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post #13 of 19 Old 03-17-2013, 06:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

So your saying Windows home server is not stable or reliable rolleyes.gif

Neither of us said Windows isn't reliable, we just said that Linux is more reliable.
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post #14 of 19 Old 03-18-2013, 10:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

So your saying Windows home server is not stable or reliable rolleyes.gif

You sound like my boss... biggrin.gif

Windows home server is reliable to an extent in its own way... a lot depends on how you quickly apply the (almost) monthly M$ security updates and how convenient it is for you to keep up.

But a linux server is a totally different animal... once you get it set up and working the way you want, it can practically run for a year or two non stop if you don't encounter any hardware issue that will force you to open it up...
Imagine having a server that just works and doesn't need 10% of the maintenance time spent on an M$ server... plus it's free...

I personally find it difficult to accept paying for something that is less reliable than a free one... but of course... to each his own...

For many, the ease of an M$ server setup outweighs the reliability of the linux server despite amount of maintenance that comes with the M$ server afterwards.
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post #15 of 19 Old 03-18-2013, 11:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by balky View Post

That is it...

Linux is normally more stable and reliable

Maybe back in the NT days... but I never saw anyone post hard numbers as proof, just a lot of IMHO.

IMHO, today it's really not the case.

Today I've got over 700 server VM's running, mixed between RHEL and Windows, mostly RHEL 5.5 and Server 2008R2 but there's still some RHEL 4.0 and Server 2003 in there. Regardless they all pretty much just keep on chugging along so I can't say whether either one is more stable or reliable than the other. Of course we have issues with the software we run on these servers, but that's the software, and it happens on both the RHEL and Windows VM's.

Looky here!
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post #16 of 19 Old 03-19-2013, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by robnix View Post

Maybe back in the NT days... but I never saw anyone post hard numbers as proof, just a lot of IMHO.

IMHO, today it's really not the case.

Today I've got over 700 server VM's running, mixed between RHEL and Windows, mostly RHEL 5.5 and Server 2008R2 but there's still some RHEL 4.0 and Server 2003 in there. Regardless they all pretty much just keep on chugging along so I can't say whether either one is more stable or reliable than the other. Of course we have issues with the software we run on these servers, but that's the software, and it happens on both the RHEL and Windows VM's.

Sounds quite a generic way of saying all servers are reliable... which is what it should be as they are made to be servers and must be reliable...

From maintenance perspective, I guess, at least from personal experience, that one is (much) less demanding than the other, and from a security perspective one is quite safer than the other...

Installation foot-print and efficient use of hardware resources should not be ignored as well...

But at the end of the day, whatever works for each individual the way they want is actually the best solution as far as they are concerned...
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post #17 of 19 Old 03-21-2013, 08:41 PM
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The world's largest manufacturer of VoIP solutions provides dial tone to the world's largest corporations and governments with systems running on Windows servers, at 5 9's reliability. Just sayin'.

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post #18 of 19 Old 03-21-2013, 09:33 PM
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I ran a Windows Home Server for 3 years and ended up with 10 drives in it. It was not without its issues but overall I was satisfied. I tried a variety of open source options before going with WHS. I didn't really try Linux but I've heard good things.

I switched to Windows Server 2012 Essentials 3 weeks who and I'm very happy with it. Backups and streaming are a breeze and it'll basically setup remote access and a VPN for you. I do like Storage Spaces and have found it very easy to use.
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post #19 of 19 Old 03-22-2013, 04:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nethawk View Post

The world's largest manufacturer of VoIP solutions provides dial tone to the world's largest corporations and governments with systems running on Windows servers, at 5 9's reliability. Just sayin'.

I find it interesting that most companies providing voip solutions have abandoned Windows Server and use Linux now. 5 9's reliability(99.999%) really means that when they don't meet that quota they start paying fines. To accomplish this you use technology that is not really available to the home user.

I find it interesting that the network equipment that keeps the internet working is all based on Unix or Linux.

I'm really a big fan of windows and don't ever want to see it go away. Windows Server is a great OS and for certain applications I won't even consider Linux. For VOIP and storage, there are better options. WHS is great for most home users, I would definitely put it on an UPS with automatic shutdown to avoid corruption. Linux runs in memory on my server and that is the best setup in my humble opinion.

I am interested in who you say is the world's largest manufacturer of voip solutions. Cisco is all Linux now, unless there is a fringe product I'm not aware of.
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