Originally Posted by slaxer07
Quick Question. I've had the XBMC set-up for a long time with a 250GB harddrive, but after seeing everyone elses setup with a NAS I think I would like to go that route and build one. Do any of ya'll have any good website to help unnderstand how they work a little better?
I'm looking at learning everything from what type of OS to what type of components.
Thanks in advnance
I've had to do a lot of research on this and I don't recall ever finding a single centralized thread anywhere. You need to decide if you're going with a Windows or Linux box.
I went Linux. First step, select your hardware. I have a fairly old machine (Celeron 600). Get a good case with expandability and ventilation options for the hard drives. Get a solid power supply. Figure out how much space you want and start keeping your eyes out for deals (and figure out which brand of hard drives you want to use). Decide if you're going to use RAID or not (I'm not) and if so, what type. Decide if you are going to rip on the NAS itself - if so it'll probably need a little better hardware.
Second step, learn to install a server distro (I went with Ubuntu server). Learn to work the command line. Learn to update repository lists and install apps with apt-get. Learn to configure a samba server (and maybe NFS server) for file sharing. Learn to add, format, and configure new hard drives.
Then start planning any ripping methods to get all of the media onto the NAS. I figure planning out an efficient process in advance will hopefully save time in the long run in the initial ripping process and any future ripping when new media is purchased. Select a video format (I chose ISO full rips rather than compression - full rips due to limitations in my Linux command line applications). Select an audio format (I'd recommend lossless compression - I happen to be going with FLAC). Audio format selection may be dependent on portable players you have (I didn't make this a factor since my portable _only_ plays MP3).
Then there are more detailed questions. If not on RAID, will you build a symlink farm to centralize read-only media access? This is especially a factor if you are going to access media from other clients beyond Xbox/XBMC (think another PC). Make sure you have a solid, consistent storage algorithm (always store music in a certain location, tv shows in another location, etc relative to the particular hard drive) on each drive so data can be easily found.
In any case, I wanted to refamiliarize myself with linux in general so I was willing to take on (and am still taking on) the learning curve of a linux NAS. The best thing is it is very solid once things are finally configured and a command-line only interface helps to make it very easy on the resources.