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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I currently have a HTPC running Vista Home Premium and 4 hard drives (320 OS drive and 3 1TB drives for storage). The unit is rack mounted in a Zalman HD160 Plus case (RSH faceplate in a SLIM 5 rack).


I do not really want to switch out the OS, other than possibly WIN7, do not know RAID or Linux at all, but want additional storage without the need for another PC. I really just do not want the headache of building another machine and making sure they are both up and running 24/7.


A friend of mine suggested the relatively new DroboPro (8 drives and plug-n-play). Has anyone had any luck with these units? Do they stream well to NMTs or xBox360, etc? I plan on adding 8 1.5TB drives and then upgrading to the 2TB drives when they stabilize.


The price is a little high, but vs building another machine with SATA controllers or RAID cards seems to run just a little less with the added detriment of being a headache.


Thoughts???


Thanks,

Steve
 

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If you can afford one and you don't think you'll need more than 8 bays any time soon, then the Drobo Pro makes a lot of sense.


Realistically, it's about 2x-3x the price of building a dedicated file server (which you can easily do for ~$300). Windows Home Server is a super-easy server OS that doesn't require any special server / RAID knowledge, and it give you some benefits that Drobo doesn't. Better automated backups and the ability to run transcoding servers are two that come to mind. But if you would rather pay extra and have something that just works without any effort or configuration, then Drobo will do the job.
 

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I own a drobopro and it's been nothing but problems from day one. It's only usb, firewire, and iscsi. It is _not_ a NAS. I tried routing iscsi through my 4 node network and while it did connect, it was far too slow to stream BR iso's from (I've not tried firewire). Directly connected iscsi was fast enough but I found that it was unreliable. It constantly disappears from the system and I think it's going to sleep even though I told it not to do so. At one point it would never reconnect to any of three machines via iscsi or usb and I had to reset it wiping out all the data.


If it were less expensive then I'd say give it a shot. It's entirely possible that I have a bad unit and I've just never had time to call them when it's acting up.


For the record, I populated it with 8 1tb WD RE3 drives, so it's not like they aren't fast enough.


Thecus machines are rock solid and a real NAS, I highly recommend them. But again, they are expensive. I would definitely look into a WHS machine in some cheap large case with one of the supermicro 8 port sata cards. Candre23 is right and it can be done for ~$300.


Supermicro cards: http://www.cdw.com/shop/search/resul...=0&Find+it.y=0
 

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U should not think of *another* PC to maintain. Even Windows, when used for a dedicated task like a file server, should be pretty reliable and very much maintenance free.


The probs comes in to everyday-use PC where one clicks bad website (invite viruses), test out suspected, buggy software (which don't uninstall cleanly), load a bunch of codec which don't play nice together blah-blah. BUT that's not what ur gonna do with this dedicated server.
 

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I am currently running a WHS server, but it draws a lot of power and I'm using a sil3124 RAID controller to manage some drives which is really slow. I was debating on building a new WHS server with an atom CPU or something and getting a real RAID controller, but that was getting pricey. My current media server is about 180 watts idle as where the Thecus is around 60W idle.


Now I'm leaning toward just getting the Thecus and then just running a backup software on each of my computers and have them backup images to the NAS. I only used WHS to backup my client PC's.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by dailowai /forum/post/16985161


I am currently running a WHS server, but it draws a lot of power and I'm using a sil3124 RAID controller to manage some drives which is really slow. I was debating on building a new WHS server with an atom CPU or something and getting a real RAID controller, but that was getting pricey. My current media server is about 180 watts idle as where the Thecus is around 60W idle.


Now I'm leaning toward just getting the Thecus and then just running a backup software on each of my computers and have them backup images to the NAS. I only used WHS to backup my client PC's.

The Thecus ones seem OK, but the largest rackmount one I can find is a 4 bay one and it is pretty pricey for such a small amount of drives.


WHS would be OK, but again, it requires another system. My current system is my HTPC that serves content to the whole house. Since WHS does not contain MediaCenter (that I know of), it is not really an option for me.


Does anyone know of another larger volume rackmount NAS or SAN?


I have also been looking at the NORCO 4220 case, but unless you are a modding nut it is almost useless to put in my rack in my theater. The noise would be too much and I have no other place to put the system.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBobb /forum/post/16985145


U should not think of *another* PC to maintain. Even Windows, when used for a dedicated task like a file server, should be pretty reliable and very much maintenance free.


The probs comes in to everyday-use PC where one clicks bad website (invite viruses), test out suspected, buggy software (which don't uninstall cleanly), load a bunch of codec which don't play nice together blah-blah. BUT that's not what ur gonna do with this dedicated server.

I completely agree. My HTPC has TMT 3, MyMovies and a few other Media centric apps, but almost nothing else. I leave the system on 24/7, it has almost no noise and runs perfect on just Vista Home Premium.


My real issue just remains at storage. The case I have will not take any more drives so my options are fairly limited. Either I get a new case that can hold more drives and is rackmount-able or I get a rackmount storage array of some kind. That's why I thought the DroboPro might be the way to go. I get the storage I need and it will fit in my rack if I buy the ears. However, if it cannot stream content then it is useless.
 

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I have a WHS box but i'd love to have a drobopro. I get more free space off the bat with the RAID like system and I can still use drives of any size. Easy to operate.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by smburns25 /forum/post/16985243


The case I have will not take any more drives so my options are fairly limited.

Am blessed to live in Silicon Valley where there are surplus electronics including rack mount stuff for the picking.


Checkout http://www.weirdstuff.com/ and http://www.halted.com/ maybe u can find the case u want and the shipping ain't so bad.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by smburns25 /forum/post/16985209


I have also been looking at the NORCO 4220 case, but unless you are a modding nut it is almost useless to put in my rack in my theater. The noise would be too much and I have no other place to put the system.

You can have capacious, quiet or cheap. Pick two.


Any big rack-mountable server case is not going to be quiet because servers don't need to be quiet. You can get a small quiet case, but it's not going to hold a lot of drives. You could get a great big Lian-Li case that is engineered to be quiet, but it's going to cost $$$ and you'll have to figure out your own rack mounting solution. You can't have everything.


Really, your best bet is to fine somewhere else (anywhere else) in your home to store the server and run some cat5. If that absolutely isn't an option, then you're going to have to compromise on capacity or noise level.
 

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I was considering one of these too.


I don't usually rip and store a lot of movies but I'm finding myself doing it a lot more lately (you guys are a bad influence
). It's a very convenient thing to do. I know that a server is nothing more than another type of PC with a little different set up but I think my main problem would be getting the PCs to work together. I still can't get my current PCs to work together correctly on my little network with this sharing stuff.


But I'm fighting the urge to build a new machine since I said that I would only build 1 new PC this year, my latest HTPC. But I do have a perfectly good 3ghz Pentium chip just sitting here. I really should do something with it.
I was considering a small server of up to 5 2tb drives. I like this Lian Li case. I used one to rebuild my oldest HTPC into a PC for my brother. It's a passively cooled system with onboard video and 3 quiet 120mm fans and a good PSU. It's the quietest PC I think I've ever built.


Case:

Lian Li Lancool PC-K7B Aluminum


Motherboard:

MSI K8NGM2-FID


CPU:

AMD Athlon 64 3200


Video Card:

Onboard


Sound:

Onboard


Heat Sink:

Scythe SCMNJ-1000 80mm Sleeve "NINJA MINI"


RAM:

CORSAIR ValueSelect 2GB (4 x 512MB) 184pin DDR 400 (PC 3200)


HDD:

Samsung 400GB


Optical Drive:

Samsung


HDTV Tuner:

VBOX Cat's Eye DTA-150 ATSC Terrestrial HDTV Receiver


Network Adaptor:

Onboard


PSU:

PC Power & Cooling Silencer PPCS370X 370w


Fans:

Front:

2 - Scythe KAZE-JYUNI "SLIP STREAM" 120mm Case Fan - SY1225SL12L - 800rpm


Rear:

1 - Scythe KAZE-JYUNI "SLIP STREAM" 120mm Case Fan - SY1225SL12M - 1200rpm


Since I would be using a Pentium chip I would change the mobo, drop the tuner card and use a laptop drive for the OS/apps. The drive would be mounted in an upper bay leaving the 5 hdd cage for 2tb storage drives. I'm thinking that I would need more power in the PSU. Plus I would need to buy WHS.


This would give me 10tb of storage which should be more than I need need at the time and should allow for a growing collections for some time to come. Expansion could come in the form of the Sans Digital HDDRACK5 5-Bay Hard Drive Rack . If I could squeeze that into the case in the future I should be fine.


But this is just a dream project. It may never happen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Veeper /forum/post/16986793


I have one. I have it shared out on the network from my main workstation, and I use it for my TV Shows and Movies. I love how easy it is to add space.


No issues with it yet.

This is exactly what I wanted to hear. Someone with real world use that confirmed that it can stream content successfully.


Thanks for the advice.
 

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You could build a unRAID box cheaper. Then, it also could be expanded beyond 8 drives (15 data now and 20 in the future).


It's a flash based boot and a ram based OS so even though it's Linux you just boot and go. If there is a problem you just boot it again and it starts like a new install except for remembering your disk settings. Drives are individual file systems and can be individually powered down to save energy when not in use. Works extremely well for a media server OS. Not as good if you want to get fancy and run other programs or have more functions.


Ask here or the unRAID forum and I'm sure we can put together a good parts list for the size of server you want.


Peter
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoshDorhyke /forum/post/16987935


You could build a unRAID box cheaper. Then, it also could be expanded beyond 8 drives (15 data now and 20 in the future).


It's a flash based boot and a ram based OS so even though it's Linux you just boot and go. If there is a problem you just boot it again and it starts like a new install except for remembering your disk settings. Drives are individual file systems and can be individually powered down to save energy when not in use. Works extremely well for a media server OS. Not as good if you want to get fancy and run other programs or have more functions.


Ask here or the unRAID forum and I'm sure we can put together a good parts list for the size of server you want.


Peter

I would love to do this, but here are my issues.


1. I managed to build an Ubuntu box to play. Can't figure out how to do shares or even get the box to show up on my workgroup. I could probably figure out how to install unRAID, but then what? I know enough about Linux to install it, but after that I am lost.


2. I still need an expandable, hot-swap, rackmount chassis. Norco and SuperMicro are the only two really discussed here and they need the heck modified out of them to get them to NOT sound like a jet parked in the back of your theater. Folks also only really talk about the huge 20 drive cases, and although I drool over the thought, they are all server room class machines and again need to be modded to be quiet (which I really do not know how to do).


3. Let say I get Linux set up and can get a reasonable chassis, what other hardware do I need. If I go with an expandable system like you stated above, wouldn't I still need an expander and a raid card? A 24-port RAID card is over $1100.00 and that is just the card.


Not trying to be difficult here and I DO REALLY appreciate the advice, I just would not know where to even start. There are a ton of threads here that talk about raid, but after the first page or so (and they can get in to the hundreds) they all mutate into through-put, streaming and which hard drives are better than the next. They lose focus and then so do I.


If you have an idea of how to do #2 above and can briefly tell me what I need to buy from a hardware perspective or where to go to find out how to mix Linux with a windows environment, you will have the biggest Samaritan award and my heart-felt gratitude.
 

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The 20-32? drives in one chassis I've seen here is totally insane, and no wonder he's having such prob with it.


First off, for home use, hot-swap is overkill. If feature free OK, but is your family gonna dis-own u if u have to shut it down for the occasional maintenance?



If I were to rack-mount this thing, I would place not more than, say 8 drives, in one 20-inch chassis and leave a hole between drives to aid airflow and place 1-2 large, slow-spinning fans on the the case outta do the job.


Yes-yes-yes, these chassis can hold more drives, but they were meant to be in a AC'ed room. When in your warm basement, adjustment should be made.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by DireWolf08 /forum/post/16989526

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...re%20easystore


Why not go with one of these? Way cheaper, comes with WHS and 1TB. I bought one (that came with a free, additional 1TB drive) and I love it so far. Does great with streaming high bitrate MKVs, though I haven't tried with uncompressed BD rips at all!

Thanks, but not really what I am looking for. It is not rack-mountable and it is only 4 drives. My internal capacity is the same as this.


Has anyone looked at the HTPC Guide by Renethx? On page 85 there is a section for DAS. In that section there is a 15 drive 4U chassis by Addonics. The case and the array (makes 3 bays into 5) is only $722. It is rack-mountable and has loads of space for future expansion. I looked at the chassis and the Addonics website, but don't know what components I would need for my HTPC and the case to build an external RAID 5 array.


Does anyone know the parts list? If not, I will PM Renethx.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by smburns25 /forum/post/16988464


1. I managed to build an Ubuntu box to play. Can't figure out how to do shares or even get the box to show up on my workgroup. I could probably figure out how to install unRAID, but then what? I know enough about Linux to install it, but after that I am lost.

You do not install unRAID. You format a flash drive, copy some files to it and then boot the computer off it. Once booted, you access the configuration with another computer using a web browser. It's the easiest OS I have ever dealt with. If you want a media server then I consider it about the best option out there. You have no worries about installing an OS, a boot drive or any other crap like that. Like I posted, if something goes bad a reboot is just like installing the OS again. The OS is run from ram and then it just reads a config file from the flash for some of the settings it needs.


Quote:
Originally Posted by smburns25 /forum/post/16988464


If you have an idea of how to do #2 above and can briefly tell me what I need to buy from a hardware perspective or where to go to find out how to mix Linux with a windows environment, you will have the biggest Samaritan award and my heart-felt gratitude.

I'm not sure what you expect for expandability or how many drive you want in total.


Finding a suitable and cheap and quiet 8 to 10 drive hot swap case will not happen. There does not seem to be anything available. You can use hot swap adapters such as these;

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16816215001 - $105


and find a suitable rack mount case to put 2 of them into. But, you'd likely be better with a case such as this one;

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811219030 - $80


and installing the hard drives when necessary. But, if you really must have hot-swap then consider something like this case;

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811192064 - $330


To run 10 drives you could do the following parts;

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813128342 - $55

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819103698 - $40

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16816103105 - $91


Then, add 2 gig of your favorite memory for $40 and there is a Corsair 400W power supply that would work for about $50 or so.


So, $226 plus the case plus $140 for the unRAID license plus say another $20 or $30 possibly for some cables and the flash drive and such isn't too bad.


If you only want 8 drives then drop that $91 card and stick a card like this into the box instead;

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16815280008 - $21



I hope some of this helps. I think you could build an 8-drive unRAID box for 1/2 the cost of the Drobopro.


Peter
 
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