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Data storage options?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I just got my slim HTPC case and realized I don't have a lot of space for HDD's. I'm wondering what you guys do for data storage. Do you prefer RAID arrays, or NAS?

I was looking at something like this (or similar) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16816132034

But I'm worried about the noise in my living room. I have a closet in another room I could locate it in but I don't believe eSATA, Firewire, or USB 3.0 can support a 35' cable length...right?

I could use a NAS server and hardwire it to my ethernet switch but will that mean a decrease in speed? I could always move it near the PC and hook it up eSATA when ripping media but that would be a PITA.

Ultimately I would like to have a 4-bay system with 2TB drives. I think 8 TB's would be more than I would ever need going into the future.

I need help...what do you guys do?
post #2 of 6
Before I give some recommendations this is what I run. I have an old PC that I converted to a server. It runs Ubuntu Server and currently stores about 8TB of data. 2TB of the data is secure in a raid 1 and kept in an offsite backup (this stores all my personal data that I can not afford to loose).

The rest of the 6TB is on normal HDD, where if one crashes I loose what was on that 1 drive. Which isn't a huge detail as it is only media that can easily be gotten again. Once HDD prices come back down again I will be converting this to a RAID 6, to give some redundancy.

Pros / Cons of my approach:
- Acts as media server for the house
- Full control of everything on the server
- Can run any software and do anything
- Automatically get new media
- Does all downloading for me
- 24/7 offsite access to my data if I need it

- Linux option needs some skill to set up
- Cost of powering a PC 24/7

A NAS is certainly an option where you could have the NAS in the other room, then connect it via ethernet. It will need to be gigabit ethernet as otherwise you may get some streaming problems for some HD data. This will provide you with the easist solution and there are even ones that handle redundancies and backups. The only problem is off the shelve NAS that could support 8 TB is going to be costly.

I would be recommending one of the RAID arrays as you just need it for storage. It won't make any noise and will be quick and simple.

Another option is to just use a stack external USB HDDs and plug them into your HTPC. They make pretty much no noise and can be hidden out the way!

Just my 2 cents!
post #3 of 6
UnRAID running on older hardware, connected via wired network. Server is located in my office on the 1st floor, well away from my HTPC and streamers. UnRAID allows you to add additional drives on the fly, they can be different sizes, provides parity protection against drive failure and only spins up the drive(s) that are needed.

Its simple and just works - for me at least.
post #4 of 6
I've used lots of options, including WHS, unraid, regular RAID, windows/linux/freebsd dedicated servers, etc. I now take a simple, ghetto approach. I have a bunch of hard drives in my office PC with them shared. No RAID or redundancy, aside from manually mirroring anything that I can where ever it will fit. It's simple and works. If I ever have a drive failure, I'll restore anything that's quick to restore and the movies I watch most (which are a small subset of my total collection). The rest would most likely be movies that I never watch anymore anyway so I wouldn't really care.

Keep it simple. That could be as simple as hooking up a large external hard drive directly to your HTPC and hiding it directly behind it. If you really want a dedicated NAS or server, just put it anywhere that's out of sight and connect it to your network. That's what networks are for.
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your replies,

You guys have given me many options to consider.

I think I'm going to hold off for a bit until I fill up the 1 TB drive I have installed in my PC and then come up with a solution. The unit I mentioned above has some pretty good reviews, hopefully it will still be on sale in a month or two.
post #6 of 6
+1 for unRaid-
15tb and it sits in the garage where I can't hear a thing
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