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post #31 of 40 Old 05-23-2012, 12:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by replayrob View Post

Win 7 Home as a server OS may end up being your bottleneck.

Why would it be a bottle neck?

I only use this machine to share our A/V collection. It does not do any other tasks, or backups or anything other than sharing the HDD content on the network.

I have turned off all unessential services and deleted most scheduled tasks (you would be amazed at how many different "User Experience" tasks are scheduled by default to send info back to MS). At idle, my stripped down Win7 consumes right around 500Mb of memory.

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post #32 of 40 Old 05-23-2012, 01:02 PM
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Has anyone ever found the need to implement LACP on their network for their Media Server due to streaming too many high BW content? THX

The following comments are cut/pastes from other threads with very similar topics. So while they may be a little disjointed, you should be able to make sense of them. In short, stop worrying.

Quote:


...Let's think about this, assuming that the average BR runs about 30 Mbps (which is actually rather conservative as they tend to run at or below 25Mbps most of the time) and that a normal gigabit connection can handle contiguous data like a RB rip at real world rates easily up to 60 MBps, that means that even with just one gigabit connection being spread out throughout the house, you're still capable of serving 16 BR rips at a time...

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...The OP said he's thinking he'll have 10 or so devices. How many of those do you actually think will be running full bore at the same time?

Let's be generous and say 6 at a time. No Rokus or anything, just 6 streamers that only do Blu Ray rips. Let's say that in this averaged sized, 3400 sq' house he has 6 TVs and all 6 are expected to playback a different BR rip at the same time.

Furthermore, let's say that all 6 of these different BRs are encoded at the absolute max bitrate of 50Mbps, constant bitrate. Its not going to happen, most BRs have an average bitrate of half this or less, but let's say it anyway.

Now with all that going on, let's say he still wants to transfer some backup data or something to a laptop. All 6, *full bore* BR rips run about 37.5MBps, leaving a transfer rate of at least 20MBps to transfer his backup files.

Personally, on my network, it is quite normal to see 60MBps transfer between computers on different switches, even with HD media playing to some network streamers. So that is where I'm getting my numbers. And I use the cheapest switches Newegg had available at the time...

Personally, I've never had a problem running up to three BR streams at a time. I've never had need to run more than that, but I doubt you will see any issues with 4. I have one central switch in the basement, with other switches in line elsewhere in the house to break out a single network connection behind a TV, etc.

Been running this way for years without problems.

I'd put the media server on one 16 port switch, as well as the ISP input from the router (effectively not using the router switch at all) and the 8 port switch from the office. I'd also connect the other 16 port switch to the first 16 port switch. Then use the remaining 12 ports for BR playback devices (where practical) and possibly other high bandwidth needs like a wired drop to plug a laptop in when not in the office, etc. Then I'd put other, less bandwidth instensive stuff on the other 16 port switch and be done with it.

At the same time though, I wouldn't think twice to hang a couple of the BR streamers off the other 16 port switch or the 8 port office switch either. If it made wiring simpler.

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post #33 of 40 Old 05-23-2012, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by replayrob View Post

Win 7 Home as a server OS may end up being your bottleneck.

How do you figure? In addition to playing BR rips, I also have 4 ATSC tuners running on my media server, sending 18Mbps each to the same drive (one 7200rpm HDD) that serves BRs, when they are recording.

Not only that, but my server is also my workhorse desktop PC that I use for Photoshop and Vegas Pro NLE. (The stills and RAW video footage are stored on a different drive from the DVR recordings and BR rips.)

In fact, it isn't uncommon for my wife to be watching a BR rip, while I rip a BR disc in the drive, while also having 3 or 4 shows recording (with realtime commercial detection being performed) and be editing 1080i home video footage. Even then, there's never a hiccup with playback on network players.

People over think these home networks.

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post #34 of 40 Old 05-23-2012, 04:05 PM
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Just never really considered a PC OS in a robust NAS OS role.

Windows does many, many concurrent tasks while true NAS OS keeps the CPU/hardware workload to a bare minimum. True NAS OS has very little overhead, even a dual core CPU is considered overkill in many cases. Would you run Win7 on a single core Celeron CPU? Many NAS systems run great on that old single core CPU. Most importantly- your NAS can offer single drive failure protection with RAID- in most cases a rebuild after a drive failure is almost automatic and done in the background with full 100% file availability during the rebuild. It's a very simple yet robust OS...
IMO NAS is NAS, Windows is Windows, now if you're talking Windows Server OS- that's another matter.

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post #35 of 40 Old 05-23-2012, 04:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by replayrob View Post

.....Would you run Win7 on a single core Celeron CPU?

I have a pair of old Pentium 4 (socket 478) PC's running Win7 in my lab just fine, so yeah I'd run it on a Celeron. I use them to test software and what not. Most of what the majority of the population use a PC for (email, web browsing, documents...), Win7 on an old CPU runs great.

Like I mentioned, I have all that "overhead" turned off. Strictly a means to allow multiple clients to access a single source of media. I didn't implement a raid. I just have identical duplicate HDD's. Each HDD in the server has an equal sized clone sitting in another room in a box on a shelf. When I add more media to the server, it logically goes on the last added HDD. Once added, I simply plug it's cloned HDD into the USB3.0 or e-SATA port and copy the new stuff over. Lots of manual intervention on my part, but I guess I'm a control freak, so I feel better knowing I have a 1-for-1 clone that I can just slide in in the event of a failure.

I won't give the LACP a second thought. Lots of good comments and experience provided. THANKS!

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post #36 of 40 Old 05-23-2012, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by replayrob View Post

Just never really considered a PC OS in a robust NAS OS role.

I don't think robust enough is necessarily an issue. At the same time I support servers (for a living) and have zero interest in using them for storage. For good or bad I like a dedicated device. One that restricts itself enough that its defined function reduces my play time, support time and my desire to (endlessly) tweak.

Right now I have a ReadyNAS NV+ v2 ($221 promo) that supports up to four drives (4TB each) in any type of raid I can dream up. Installation takes about five minutes and every device on your network will find it and have access. Down the road throw another drive in if you want more storage. Sure some might want to go beyond four drives... just buy the larger version or another when you run out.

It hardly uses double digit watts, easily schedules on/off times and you can wake it up over the LAN. It automatically archives my TiVo recordings and if I do decide I'm bored there are more free Add-ons than I could ever install. Administration is handled via your browser although I did install ssh root access... yeah I have to tweak a little.

It offers a ton of techie NAS stuff but outside of its USB 3.0 ports for scheduled backups I couldn't care less. The less I know the better I like it... sure a PC can handle it rather nicely but I tried that recently (once again) as a DVR and it wasn't me for a variety of reasons. Many of them might be the exact reason others prefer them.
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post #37 of 40 Old 05-23-2012, 06:10 PM
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rms8...
Wasn't suggesting that you can't use Windows 7 Home as your server- but that OS is not optimized for that role.
I can't seem to find a Win7 install with under 45+ concurrent processes running. I just looked at my remote Freenas console "38 processes: 1 running, 37 sleeping", CPU load is at 0-1% and it's currently using "5% of 2110MiB" RAM. It's very easy on the hardware. It also boots from a $5 512mb Lexar Firefly USB stick (which is simple to clone to a backup boot USB stick), has no optical drive, no monitor, mouse or keyboard and has four 2TB WD Green drives inside. If there's any problems with the hardware- the system sends me an email. I once lost a full hard drive- and didn't even notice because of the system's parity drive. I installed a new drive- the system rebuilt the full RAID within 24hrs with zero data loss. It's just very efficient as a storage device- cause that's all it does.

At any rate- if your system works without any issues and you're comfortable with the failure tolerance and upkeep, then you've done a good job!

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post #38 of 40 Old 05-23-2012, 07:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by replayrob View Post

rms8...
Wasn't suggesting that you can't use Windows 7 Home as your server- but that OS is not optimized for that role.
I can't seem to find a Win7 install with under 45+ concurrent processes running. I just looked at my remote Freenas console "38 processes: 1 running, 37 sleeping", CPU load is at 0-1% and it's currently using "5% of 2110MiB" RAM. It's very easy on the hardware. It also boots from a $5 512mb Lexar Firefly USB stick (which is simple to clone to a backup boot USB stick), has no optical drive, no monitor, mouse or keyboard and has four 2TB WD Green drives inside. If there's any problems with the hardware- the system sends me an email. I once lost a full hard drive- and didn't even notice because of the system's parity drive. I installed a new drive- the system rebuilt the full RAID within 24hrs with zero data loss. It's just very efficient as a storage device- cause that's all it does.

At any rate- if your system works without any issues and you're comfortable with the failure tolerance and upkeep, then you've done a good job!

Hi replayrob.

Win7 not being optimized as a server is obvious. I did look into dedicated NAS devices a while back. For less than the prices of even the least expensive 4bay NAS, I was able to build a very basic device with 6 hard drives which allows clients on the network to stream A/V content from it. When I need more storage space (coming up real soon too) I can connect a JBOD box via USB3 or eSATA and have capacity for four more 3Tb drives in the future (don't see prices becoming reasonable on the 4Tb drives anytime soon and the 5Tb drives will be even more when they hit shelves later this year).

For what I need, it does very well at. My installation only has 26 processes running. I tuned it that way. I shut off services and tasks which were not needed for the role which I am using it. It uses 500Mb of memory and the CPU throttles back 50% for power savings (it runs at 600Mhz at idle). It has no additional software, no optical drive nor KVM as well. Just a silent black box running a very stripped down Win7 allowing the rest of my network access to over 14Tb (& growing) of movies/music.

If I thought I would ever use this box for anything more, I would put WHS on it in a heart beat.

Glad to know you haven't experienced any BW problems with a single Gb port too! One less thing to think about during the design phase (albeit a simple thing to add if the need ever comes up in the future).

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post #39 of 40 Old 05-23-2012, 08:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by replayrob View Post

Just never really considered a PC OS in a robust NAS OS role.

Windows does many, many concurrent tasks while true NAS OS keeps the CPU/hardware workload to a bare minimum. True NAS OS has very little overhead, even a dual core CPU is considered overkill in many cases. Would you run Win7 on a single core Celeron CPU? Many NAS systems run great on that old single core CPU. Most importantly- your NAS can offer single drive failure protection with RAID- in most cases a rebuild after a drive failure is almost automatic and done in the background with full 100% file availability during the rebuild. It's a very simple yet robust OS...
IMO NAS is NAS, Windows is Windows, now if you're talking Windows Server OS- that's another matter.

My first media "server" was a 500Mhz AMD K6-2 with 192 MB of memory. Of course BRs weren't around back then, but it worked just fine for DVD rips and broadcast HD.

Next I stepped up to a 1900XP and that had a full 512 MB of memory if I'm not mistaken. Worked fine to stream multiple broadcast HD streams about the house.

Next was a single core-something followed by the PC I have today. All of them running standard Windows OSes, and all of them called on to do multiple tasks in addition to being a media server.

I'm not saying one way is right and another is wrong. Making a dedicated server running one of the dedicated linux server setups is perfectly valid. But at the same time, the requirements for serving media files about the average house isn't *that* demanding. Pretty much anything can do it.

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post #40 of 40 Old 05-24-2012, 05:35 AM - Thread Starter
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....the requirements for serving media files about the average house isn't *that* demanding. Pretty much anything can do it....


This was the point my previous ramblings were trying to make. Thank you for saying it clearer. And thanks to replayrob for giving literal real world examples!

My home built server is just that, it does NOTHING more. I don't even use it to rip my collection. I do that on a different PC to the appropriate cloned drive, then carry the cloned drive over to the server and load the new media to it. This way the media is already backed-up/cloned. By doing it this way, I have all my editing SW on my main PC so I can configure the folders and meta-data to my liking. This means there is literally NO additional SW running on the server. It has Win7 and that's it. I already slipstreamed SP1 to my Win7 install media, so the server is up to SP1, but nothing more.

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