Rethinking my network and storage - (What are you guys using?) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 01-20-2014, 09:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey guys, My MediaSmart Windows Home Server is still hanging in there, but aging quickly and I think its time I rethink my overall Data sharing and backup strategy.

Currently my WHS houses my movies, photos and music, and serves them mostly to my HTPC in the living room. My Workstation holds my cad files for work, and backups up to the Mediasmart nightly, while also backing up to the cloud via a single PC carbonite plan. My laptop and HTPC are also backing up nightly to the WHS, but no cloud for them. Though the WHS has internal redundancy, I'm worried that I am running on borrowed time with my personal data, and would prefer to get some better redundancy in there. Ive got about 3-4 Gigs of Data (which includes the movies, music and photos; as well as backups from unique machines) on my WHS; but obviously the stuff its all on borrowed time.

I'm a born again newbie with this stuff, so let me know if you think I am on the right track with this gameplan...

Retire the WHS
Move the movies, photos and music to a big drive on the HTPC
Keep clients data on the workstation
Set up family Crashplan to backup each machine independently (cloud copy for every box)
Pick up a Synology NAS and set up nightly backups for each machine locally (local copy for every box)

1) It seems like this is a better plan for multiple backup locations, no?

2) Synology has a ton of features, but I am really only using it as a dumb network drive since the raw data is stored on the htpc and my workstation. I had hoped to store ALL of the data on the NAS (not the local boxes) but none of the affordable cloud backup services willing work with NAS's without a hack, ...should I reconsider this?

3) Would it be a better idea to create duplicates of my important files on the NAS using a sync tool like GoodSync? The advantage would be backups that are not buried in some "backup archive" file type and that it might let me use some of the other Synology tools; but Ive never heard of anyone doing this and have to believe there must be a good reason...

4) I am really looking for a set-n-forget setup, Is there a better way to set up a network that gives me both internal and external backups that are completely automated?

Thanks in advance guys, I really appreciate the feedback
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post #2 of 3 Old 01-22-2014, 11:06 AM - Thread Starter
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So here is the slightly evolved plan...

I am thinking I am going to repurpose some of my machines for a better home backup strategy . Specifically, I am going to take my old Quadcore Q6600 (which is currently an HTPC-only) and turn that into a homebuild-WHS2011 machine. FreeNAS scares me (too many command lines and linux knowledge required) and the Synology NAS devices (while clever) are just a bit too underpowered for something like data compression and hosting game servers and render-nodes. That Q6600 ought to be plenty overpowered for the job, and it has no other purpose around here anyway. WHS 2011 should be supported by Microsoft until 2016, so that helps. Also, I can use a third party app like “drive pool”( to reproduce the awesome Drive-Extender function they yanked out of the WHS-V1 version. This should give me a big fat shared drive letter with redundancy, and individual drives that are still readable by other machines (unlike a raid array) should something crash and burn on the server itself. IL probably install crashplan or carbonite on the server itself so that it can handle off-site backups on my media and my backup sets. (both offer unlimited backup on the cheap and aside from waiting a long time for that initial backup, incremental changes shouldn’t be too bad). I keep stumbling on articles that state Windows 8 makes a great home server replacement, but I'm still afraid of doing anything with 8 thanks in part to the horrible reviews I see all over.

My old workstation will likely become the new HTPC (gaming capable), possibly running Plex or XMBC (‘server’ on the server, ‘client’ on the htpc), or maybe I’ll just stick with windows Media center. Since the server will house the automatic backups from each machine (using either windows backup or macrium reflect) everything ought to be automatically triply backed up both in house and off site; and I won’t have to pay for off-site backups on multiple machines.

Its really tough to channel this OCD for the greater good! Anyway, let me know if you spot any red flags, you guys have been around this block a few times I am sure, so I appreciate you helping me spot any pitfalls or better options!
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post #3 of 3 Old 01-23-2014, 11:32 AM
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It looks like a good plan but I would also suggest looking at either Unraid or Flexraid as server software.

I originally ran WHS and loved it except for the fact you lose half the storage....meaning 6 three TB drives would
only yield 9tb of usable storage with 9tb being allocated to mirror the data drives.
With my unraid set-up 6 3tb drives would mean 15tb of data and 3tb as parity. (I recently had a hard drive in my unraid server die...
even though there was some panic, it was as easy as pulling the bad drive, put a new one in, and let the server rebuild the drive...)

My Unraid server serves up all my media to some XBMC HTPC's and now also to a Roku2 box running mediabrowser.
Never misses a beat.

Revo Ion...XBMC For Windows...Dharma RC2
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