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building a media server

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
I am planning on building a media storage computer. It will contain up to 24 hard drives (1.5T or 2T drives). I will want to access all entertainment - movies, tv shows, and music plus any other things I store on it from my main computer, which will be connected to my projector, and receiver. Everything on the media storage computer will run through media players on the main computer. All my media players will be located on the main computer. Winamp, ZoomPlayer will just be programmed to access the drive that the particular media is on. I do this now by having 5 drives in my computer case and 9 external drives that are usb or sata connected to it.
The New media storage case I am looking at holds 24 drives and motherboard, power supply and will be connected to the main computer through a 10/100/1000mbs switch. It will only go to this one computer (and possible IPad if purchased later).

My question is this,
1. Will I need to put a video card on this media storage computer?
2. Since this storage computer will never go online do I need to purchase a 2nd copy of windows 7 just for it or can I use the one copy I have?
3. Which would be better to run windows 7 or windows home server?

Thanks for all your help.
post #2 of 32
1. Most motherboards have integrated video already so you wont need an external graphics card.
2. Why use Windows at all, if it's just a storage pool use something like Freenas.
3. Windows Home Server is you really want it.
post #3 of 32
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your help. I will check into Freenas
post #4 of 32
FreeNAS, WHS8, unRAID, and many others...
http://snapraid.sourceforge.net/compare.html
post #5 of 32
Thread Starter 
Thank you. I have been reading about unRAID and the others that you suggested. Didn't know there were so many options to think about.
post #6 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by lee369 View Post

I am planning on building a media storage computer. It will contain up to 24 hard drives (1.5T or 2T drives). I will want to access all entertainment - movies, tv shows, and music plus any other things I store on it from my main computer, which will be connected to my projector, and receiver. Everything on the media storage computer will run through media players on the main computer. All my media players will be located on the main computer. Winamp, ZoomPlayer will just be programmed to access the drive that the particular media is on. I do this now by having 5 drives in my computer case and 9 external drives that are usb or sata connected to it.
The New media storage case I am looking at holds 24 drives and motherboard, power supply and will be connected to the main computer through a 10/100/1000mbs switch. It will only go to this one computer (and possible IPad if purchased later).

My question is this,
1. Will I need to put a video card on this media storage computer?
2. Since this storage computer will never go online do I need to purchase a 2nd copy of windows 7 just for it or can I use the one copy I have?
3. Which would be better to run windows 7 or windows home server?

Thanks for all your help.

What raid card are planning on using to access 24 drives? SAS ... Sata? Port multiplier?

This card works really well for a good price. I have use it in the past. Easy and fast setup.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16816115067

I recommend WHS 2011 and raid 6 with hot spare. Most efficient way to have the most space with 24 drives and the ease of use with WHS.

Also I would use a cheap 128 Gig SSD for OS and a single large GPT partition for the 24 drives in Raid 6. This will give the best performance for the money. It is standard practice to isolate OS and Data.
post #7 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by blackssr View Post

I recommend WHS 2011 and raid 6 with hot spare. Most efficient way to have the most space with 24 drives and the ease of use with WHS.

I would tend to disagree, anything based on RAID would be about the most inefficient storage solution for a home media server...

now I am not ANTI-RAID by any means, I currently have a RAID1 & RAID 5 setup running and in use for various things... just not Media, well not video based media at least...

but for movies/stuff a JBOD+Parity setup is much more efficient:
you can mix & match drives of any speed/size allowing you to only buy the drives you need now, and waiting for deals to come along for future drive purchases.
if more than 1 or 2 (depending on parity setup) drives fail, only the data on the failed drives is toast... all remaining drives are just fine & dandy. even if the whole PC/drive controller explodes you can always pull the drives out and stick them in another PC and get the data off them.
only the drive with the requested media needs to spin up to play said media.
post #8 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Somewhatlost View Post

I would tend to disagree, anything based on RAID would be about the most inefficient storage solution for a home media server...

now I am not ANTI-RAID by any means, I currently have a RAID1 & RAID 5 setup running and in use for various things... just not Media, well not video based media at least...

but for movies/stuff a JBOD+Parity setup is much more efficient:
you can mix & match drives of any speed/size allowing you to only buy the drives you need now, and waiting for deals to come along for future drive purchases.
if more than 1 or 2 (depending on parity setup) drives fail, only the data on the failed drives is toast... all remaining drives are just fine & dandy. even if the whole PC/drive controller explodes you can always pull the drives out and stick them in another PC and get the data off them.
only the drive with the requested media needs to spin up to play said media.

The industry standard for storage is Raid 5/6 with hot spares. This is a proven method deployed in many large companies and is widely accepted as the storage of choice in the IT world. I have several hundred arrays deployed in the wild and all are based on Raid 5/6 or 10. I myself have a 64TB Raid 6 Array in my home and know the reliablity and performance is there. There is a correct way to do something and there is the other way. I follow the correct way as it is my business and I am eventually responsible for data and "up time".
post #9 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by blackssr View Post

The industry standard for storage is Raid 5/6 with hot spares. This is a proven method deployed in many large companies and is widely accepted as the storage of choice in the IT world. I have several hundred arrays deployed in the wild and all are based on Raid 5/6 or 10. I myself have a 64TB Raid 6 Array in my home and know the reliablity and performance is there. There is a correct way to do something and there is the other way. I follow the correct way as it is my business and I am eventually responsible for data and "up time".

and how many people here are actually large enterprise users?
the large Enterprise solutions make as much sense in the home as a JBOD+parity makes sense to deploy into an enterprise...

seriously just how important is 'up time' in a home environment? and how much of a premium is an average AVS'er willing to pay for that up time?

will the average AVS'er buy enterprise class drives? or will they try and use the cheapest drive possible? how will those choices effect a raid array?
post #10 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Somewhatlost View Post

and how many people here are actually large enterprise users?
the large Enterprise solutions make as much sense in the home as a JBOD+parity makes sense to deploy into an enterprise...

seriously just how important is 'up time' in a home environment? and how much of a premium is an average AVS'er willing to pay for that up time?

will the average AVS'er buy enterprise class drives? or will they try and use the cheapest drive possible? how will those choices effect a raid array?

Which question would like me to answer first?... ALL of my customers, both home and business want a reliable data solution. The cost to do it right is not that much more than the cost to do it wrong or on the cheap. I have over 900 BDs on my server and would not want to re-rip everything due to a solution that was based on saving a couple of thousand dollars. My time and effort are worth more to me than saving a few bucks. Most Powerusers feel they way I do. Hardware Raid 5/6 is the best solution for a media server in the home. Rigging different size drives, old and new, in an array is absurd. The OP is using 24 drives. If he could afford 24 drives he could to build a hardware raid solution that will last 3 years before it needs to be replaced. And yes.... any server should be replaced every three years to ensure reliability. But you already knew that, didn't you?
post #11 of 32
i currently have 24 drives in raid 6 (wd 2tb blacks) using a 3ware 9650se-24m8 controller and the performance is terrible. i am connected to the server over gigabit and trying to play a mounted full bluray iso i get lots of stuttering. no way and i able to play from multiple sources. i am looking for a better solution.

i am using window 2008r2 (was using freenas before i got the array controller)
post #12 of 32
I built an unRaid server for all of my media. You can read about it here.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1392050
post #13 of 32
I highly recommend unRAID for media storage. It's easy to build and very affordable. Don't have to worry about stuttering Playback for BluRays. Check out my unRAID thread.
post #14 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by GusGus748s View Post

I built an unRaid server for all of my media. You can read about it here.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1392050

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chrisx510 View Post

I highly recommend unRAID for media storage. It's easy to build and very affordable. Don't have to worry about stuttering Playback for BluRays. Check out my unRAID thread.

will do thanks guys...the only reason i didnt look at unraid before was because of the 21 drive limitation.
post #15 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmorreale View Post

will do thanks guys...the only reason i didnt look at unraid before was because of the 21 drive limitation.

22 Drives actually.

2tb for parity.
40 tb for storage.

or

2 tb for parity
38 tb for storage
2 tb for cache

or
44 tb for storage.

Or you can use the beta unRaid, which can use 3tb drives and get:

3 tb for parity
63 tb for storage.

or
3 tb for parity
60 tb of storage
3 tb for cache

or
66 tb for storage
post #16 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmorreale View Post


will do thanks guys...the only reason i didnt look at unraid before was because of the 21 drive limitation.

Keep in mind the official release of 5 will be out soon which will allow for more storage as GusGus has pointed out. And unRAID will continue to expand storage capacity.

How many TB do you currently have?

How many Gigs a month do you think you'll add to the server?
post #17 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chrisx510 View Post

Keep in mind the official release of 5 will be out soon which will allow for more storage as GusGus has pointed out. And unRAID will continue to expand storage capacity.

How many TB do you currently have?

How many Gigs a month do you think you'll add to the server?

I currently have 24 2tb drives (wd blacks) running on a 3ware 9650se-24m8 controller in a Norco RPC-4224. I am currently nearing capacity as i store mostly full blu-ray iso images. This is a very robust system but it just doesnt handle the media like i think it should.

http://www.norcotek.com/item_detail....delno=rpc-4224
http://wdc.com/en/products/products.aspx?id=100
http://www.lsi.com/products/storagec...50SE-24M8.aspx
post #18 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmorreale View Post

I currently have 24 2tb drives (wd blacks) running on a 3ware 9650se-24m8 controller in a Norco RPC-4224. I am currently nearing capacity as i store mostly full blu-ray iso images. This is a very robust system but it just doesnt handle the media like i think it should.

http://www.norcotek.com/item_detail....delno=rpc-4224
http://wdc.com/en/products/products.aspx?id=100
http://www.lsi.com/products/storagec...50SE-24M8.aspx

You could build an unRAID server. Start with maybe 5 drives and start transferring your top priority Blu-Rays over first. Then when version 5 is released you can switch to 3TB drives and transfer all your movies over.
post #19 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmorreale View Post

i currently have 24 drives in raid 6 (wd 2tb blacks) using a 3ware 9650se-24m8 controller and the performance is terrible. i am connected to the server over gigabit and trying to play a mounted full bluray iso i get lots of stuttering. no way and i able to play from multiple sources. i am looking for a better solution.

i am using window 2008r2 (was using freenas before i got the array controller)

What player are using to play these ISOs? The Dunes have a built in speed test. If you have Dunes, please post speed results. Your network is the issue here, not your raid setup. You have excellent equipment. The issue is not your hardware but somewhere in your network or player. I have 4 Dunes and I can play three at once without issue. I have Raid 6.
post #20 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by blackssr View Post

What player are using to play these ISOs? The Dunes have a built in speed test. If you have Dunes, please post speed results. Your network is the issue here, not your raid setup. You have excellent equipment. The issue is not your hardware but somewhere in your network or player. I have 4 Dunes and I can play three at once without issue. I have Raid 6.

primarily i play them from a very beefy HTPC. i mount the ISO (full rips) using virtualclonedrive and play them with ArcSoft's TotalMedia Theatre 5

i also try to use a popcorn hour c200 (plays in slow motion basically)

the network is gigabit using a "true" Cisco switch (not linksys). i have replaced all network cards in the machines with intel nics

i am setup as raid 6 also.

i also have a speed test tool http://www.totusoft.com/lanspeed2.html i ran it a while back and am about to run it again.

what dune do you recommend..i may take a look at getting those and stop getting popcorn hours
post #21 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmorreale View Post

primarily i play them from a very beefy HTPC. i mount the ISO (full rips) using virtualclonedrive and play them with ArcSoft's TotalMedia Theatre 5

i also try to use a popcorn hour c200 (plays in slow motion basically)

the network is gigabit using a "true" Cisco switch (not linksys). i have replaced all network cards in the machines with intel nics

i am setup as raid 6 also.

what dune do you recommend..i may take a look at getting those and stop getting popcorn hours

Smart series.
post #22 of 32
Popcorn hours play back ISO fine. You need to figure out what's causing the stuttering. It's either a network issue or the server. I had the same issues with my Windows Home Server. I kept getting told it was the players or a network issue. Ended up being the server. I switched to UnRAID and blurays play flawlessly. If it's happening with the HTPC and PCH then I don't think its the player.

Make sure all cables are good,

Try using a different switch,

Try connecting the server directly to the htpc/pch,

Try storing a couple movies on your PC and stream them with your PCH,

Does your HTPC playback movies fine if the movie is located on the HTPC instead of the server?
post #23 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmorreale View Post

primarily i play them from a very beefy HTPC. i mount the ISO (full rips) using virtualclonedrive and play them with ArcSoft's TotalMedia Theatre 5

i also try to use a popcorn hour c200 (plays in slow motion basically)

the network is gigabit using a "true" Cisco switch (not linksys). i have replaced all network cards in the machines with intel nics

i am setup as raid 6 also.

i also have a speed test tool http://www.totusoft.com/lanspeed2.html i ran it a while back and am about to run it again.

what dune do you recommend..i may take a look at getting those and stop getting popcorn hours

The Dunes are the only players that have a built in speed test for ISOs. I get 11 MB/s over my lan to my Dunes. This is more than enough to play full bandwidth BR without stutter. BD max out at about 40-50 MB/s. You have enough good equipment to warrant smooth playback on your devices. Do you know a good network guy that could and check the equipment?
post #24 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chrisx510 View Post

Popcorn hours play back ISO fine. You need to figure out what's causing the stuttering. It's either a network issue or the server. I had the same issues with my Windows Home Server. I kept getting told it was the players or a network issue. Ended up being the server. I switched to UnRAID and blurays play flawlessly. If it's happening with the HTPC and PCH then I don't think its the player.

Make sure all cables are good,

Try using a different switch,

Try connecting the server directly to the htpc/pch,

Try storing a couple movies on your PC and stream them with your PCH,

Does your HTPC playback movies fine if the movie is located on the HTPC instead of the server?

Did you have a Raid Card in your WHS? or were you using the crappy disk dupe feature of WHS? I have setup over 20 WHS/MY movies to clients and none have any issues at all with stutter. They are all using Dune Players with Raid 5/6 and all are happy. I have monthly contracts with 16 of them and log in remotely to monitor performance /maintain the network/raid.
post #25 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmorreale View Post

primarily i play them from a very beefy HTPC. i mount the ISO (full rips) using virtualclonedrive and play them with ArcSoft's TotalMedia Theatre 5

i also try to use a popcorn hour c200 (plays in slow motion basically)

the network is gigabit using a "true" Cisco switch (not linksys). i have replaced all network cards in the machines with intel nics

i am setup as raid 6 also.

i also have a speed test tool http://www.totusoft.com/lanspeed2.html i ran it a while back and am about to run it again.

what dune do you recommend..i may take a look at getting those and stop getting popcorn hours

Your raid/w2k8 server are designed to support many workstations on a large network. One ISO over the lan is no problem for your equipment You have good equipment.. do not let anyone tell you different. Assuming you have no hardware (failure)problem, the problem lies within the setup. Do you have Antivirus software running on the server? When transfering an ISO from a Win 7 Machine to your Server what MB/s are you getting? It should be about 65-90 MB/s over GB Lan. Can we do a remote session? I would like to log in and see your setup.
post #26 of 32
Even with WHS and duplication I have no issues. I have 31 hard drives in my drive pool(8 on esata/sata and 23 over USB) and I can stream three BD ISOs concurrently without any issues from my WHS. Just like I can from my unRAID.
post #27 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by aaronwt View Post

Even with WHS and duplication I have no issues. I have 31 hard drives in my drive pool(8 on esata/sata and 23 over USB) and I can stream three BD ISOs concurrently without any issues from my WHS. Just like I can from my unRAID.

Wow. What do have all these hooked up to?
post #28 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl Jones View Post

Wow. What do have all these hooked up to?

I have an HP Media Smart Server. With four internal drives and seven external, 4 bay, MediaSonic enclosures(One enclosure only has three drives)
post #29 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by blackssr View Post

The Dunes are the only players that have a built in speed test for ISOs. I get 11 MB/s over my lan to my Dunes. This is more than enough to play full bandwidth BR without stutter. BD max out at about 40-50 MB/s. You have enough good equipment to warrant smooth playback on your devices. Do you know a good network guy that could and check the equipment?

lol yeah me...i am an IT manager. That is why i am puzzled. I am going to start switching things around to test different scenarios.
post #30 of 32
Hi, just wanted to barge in on this topic as I find myself in a similar position to the OP. Happy to make a new thread if I am off base.

I am starting fresh on a new media server build with no particular hardware selected. I have been researching options and find more conflicting advice than useful information. I don't think my desire is unusual, so I am confused as to why I can't find a good answer.

Objectives:
Store audio, video, and files (photos, etc.) centrally
Room for 2000 DVDs, 300 BluRays, 1000 CDs. Expandable.
Ability to store in max resolution/quality and transcode down if necessary. ACC to MP3, or whatever. I don't know if I would store multiple versions to accomplish this.
Support Apple technology as my wife loves it (airplay, itunes libarary)
Avoid buying a mac because I don't love it
Allow multiple device types access to the material (PC, Smartphone, AppleTV, Dune(or similar), PS3)
Reasonable power consumption
Stable, but not necessarily 100% uptime
DIY integration friendly, for an iRule, ISY-99i controlled environment
Ability to "Sling" this to a smartphone or laptop outside the home, at lower resolution if need be

Every road I go down in my research turns up roadblocks. It seems that what I might need to do is actually build multiple devices:
1. a stand-alone NAS (unRAID, FreeNAS, opensolaris).
2. an always-on central server, possibly windows home server, running iTunes and various utilities.
3. Possibly an HTPC, though I am not sure what that gains over PS3, Dune, AppleTV. I need some device capable of ripping and transcoding, though, and I assume it needs higher processing power than typical media servers that are low power units.

I could probably combine some or all of those functions. I don't really know.

Price is an object. an $850 raid card is probably not in the cards. But $150 might be. Given the storage price crisis at the moment, I probably won't be buying 10 drives at once, so there is some genuine appeal to JBOD over fixed RAID, but I could be convinced to do one set of 5/6 discs and add an independent set later of that makes more sense.

I was leaning toward just a windows home server until I discovered that the advice I was reading was out of date, and that I might need a different storage solution. Would hardware RAID in a WHS box be better (cheaper?) than 2 boxes?

Is building to be airplay-friendly a waste of effort? Would I be better off convincing my wife to use an open technology? Like what? I plan to hardwire the airplay devices through gigabit switches, so it is more about access/control than wireless toys.
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