AVS Forum banner
1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
70 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Now that I've build my HTPC and have seen how easy it is, I find myself wanting to build another computer. The idea of building a server sounds pretty appealing. I'm not exactly sure where to start, though. Do any of you have any good sites to recommend for a rundown of what kind of components a server needs, and how to best set up the software? Or if any of you have built one, I'd love to hear your thoughts.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,393 Posts
I have thought of building a server for quite a long time. Then affordable NAS options started to show up on the market. Then I found you can setup a Linux server for a low cost because of the fact that Linux requires such little hardware power that you can use older PC's.


In the end, I felt Windows Home Server, it doesn't matter which version (2011 or Version 1) is the best solution for those running Windows Media Center (assuming your running this on your HTPC).


If you're using Mediaportal, NextPVR, Beyond TV, MythTV whatever, then maybe a Linux based server or even NAS will make a bit more sense. WHS offers direct connection to Media Center via TV Archive of Recorded TV. There is no setting up "shares" or sharing folders. Just install and GO. All your Recorded TV or the ones you specify will be moved to the server and show up in your Recorded TV folder. You can also do the same thing with your movies/DVD's using My Movies, including ripping of DVD's.


I would be doing enough sharing with Media Browser and its plug-in Game Browser which are simpler to do since my luck with setting up folder sharing just over HomeGroup between my laptop and my HTPC hasn't worked so well.


As for information or write ups, here you go -

Ubuntu Server Back-end with MythTV Front-end


You can also run Amahi Server as a back end as well - http://wiki.amahi.org/index.php/Ubuntu


Lloyd Case installs and explains Windows Home Server 2011

Tekzilla talks with Will Smith of Maximum PC about Windows Home Server v1


Building a server is pretty straight forward. Where opinions enters the debate is what you'll be doing on the server. Honestly low power CPU such as Atom Dual Core and AMD Zacate will cover 95% of a person's need. Older hardware will work, most people are just moving and accessing files, backing up of files and the OS to it, not much power needed for that.


The most important I personally think is speed of data transfer. If you're like most people in our world of HTPC's you're going to have maybe a TB or more of data (music, movies, video, tv shows, etc).


Trying to move large amounts of data over Base 10 or Wireless G is going to be like the old days of Dial Up Internet. I highly recommend and highly suggest you upgrade your network to at least Wireless N (300-450mbps) or Gigabit LAN if possible. This includes streaming data to devices in HD, you'll need at least Wireless N if your streaming high bandwidth HD files. If you have lower bit rate HD video (usually from torrents or usenet) like I have this is less of an issue. Raw Blu Ray rips, uncompressed will need at least 500mbps home plug, Wireless N over 300mbps or Wired LAN Gigabit.


I started my own WHS 2011 project but I have hardware issues I hope to have solved tomorrow and get it up and running tomorrow afternoon.


Specs are Pentium 4 Prescott which is 64-bit. That's important for WHS 2011 which is only for 64-bit systems. Dell GX520 Small Form Factor, so room for only one drive (2TB). I will back up the server with a 2TB external a bit later.


The network for now (limited budget) is AT&T provided 2 Wire 3800 U-Verse router/gateway. I have no network problems, this is typical late 60's Southern California home, there is nothing in the walls (insulation), just paper and wood, so wireless has no problem going through it. Our area is not overloaded with wireless, nobody on the 5Gz band but our wireless phones.


I will be going with a high end Wireless Router. I want as close to 100mbps throughput up or down. So it looks like a Netgear 4000 or Linksys E4200 + Trendnet 450mbps Game Bridge (4-ports). I've seen the E4200 for under $100 with various price match and discount coupons tricks. So it seems I'll go that direction since its widely available (even Walmart has the E4200).


Let me know if all that is helpful...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,393 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by dankev
That was a lot of very useful information. Thank you!


I'll wade through it in more depth, and hopefully I'll figure out what I need (or if I really have a use for a server at all).
Nobody needs a server at home really. They could keep video on disc, they can save important files on a external drive and put it in another location, they could keep music on various devices. You can back up to the cloud (Back Blaze and others).


You can also just use Homegroup to share folders between Windows PC's.


I wanted a centralized location for all my music and video. Mostly because I don't want to loose my music collection, again. I want to take the video I have downloaded off my laptop and instead of putting it on my HTPC, put it on a server.


Putting all my Recorded TV in one location was important as well.


A NAS can do things like run torrent clients, you really don't need a server for that either.


I just liked the fact I could do more with the 2TB drive I bought to originally to put in my HTPC. I also wasn't happy with the way shares via Homegroup work. I have the download folder on my laptop shared with my HTPC/Desktop. It only sees 5-6 files when there's hundreds in it. Formats that Windows will play by default because I stream directly from my laptop to my HTPC but I have to get up and use Windows Explorer for that; Pick a file and open it with Windows Media Player, VLC or Windows Media Center.


I hope using Windows Home Server with the Server Connector software will solve this problem. I can remotely download torrents as well, that'a attractive. I currently run uTorrent on the laptop and desktop, which is goes back to my shared folder problem with Homegroup. I can't with one or two button pushes access the files on my laptop using the MCE Remote -



Centralizing data and running some apps that download video instead of putting it on my local drives, puts it automatically on the server and the server can run that application while my other PC's are sleep, that was appealing as well.


Being able to backup all the clients in the house is another nice thing and automated via Windows Home Server.


There's a D-Link NAS box that will hold two drives for $80. Stick two 2TB drives in it ($60-80 each), put your data on it. Use your favorite sync software to automatically watch certain folders on your clients and move them to the NAS. You can use Clonezilla to make backups of your clients and upload them to the cloud or NAS.


I read for many days information about NAS and Servers for the home. Don't worry about the hardware side of it, its really not that important. Network Speed if your going to stream HD content is more important.


I think the word Ecosystem is sort of corny, but if you're running Windows anything, I would get WHS 2011. For one thing its cheap at $60 and there's isn't much to figure out.


Amahi is the Linux server with a similar graphical interface like WHS, the learning curve is much flatter with it. Ubuntu server like Amahi is free, but you have to install something that will give you a graphical interface unless you want to do it all by command line which honestly might only be fun for geeks which I'm not.


All the Windows Home Server forums are very useful, some have podcast and videos on You Tube explaining it. Its easy to understand and use WHS which is why I went that direction. Free is good, but the problem I most have with Linux is nobody explains it well and it does work differently than Windows or OS, just that simple.


But for a cheap solution with just hardware cost, Linux is good.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,744 Posts
There could be many opinions and recommendations from different needs and purposes. You can have a very simple PC with just any Windows and share the drive(s) to sophisticate hardware and back up from RAID 0 to Raid whatever...


You need to let us know what is your need, concern, purpose, important... before anyone to let you know what fit you the best and how/where to begin.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
70 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks to everyone for the info. Really good stuff.


I may have gotten carried away with my zeal for building another computer. I think for now, using the htpc I just built as a server will more than suit my needs.


I think I'll want to get a dedicated server at some point, but I really don't think it makes sense for now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,798 Posts
I just run a small tower running win 7 with flexraid for help of a drive loss. I like it because it can function as a normal os and serve multiple things besides just distributing media.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,393 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by whiteboy714 /forum/post/20767841


I just run a small tower running win 7 with flexraid for help of a drive loss. I like it because it can function as a normal os and serve multiple things besides just distributing media.

You can install programs and run them on WHS 2011 as well. As I mentioned before somebody installed NextPVR on their WHS 2011 with a TV Tuner Card and it records directly to his server...


WHS 2011 = $50-60


Windows 7 Upgrade Disk = $90-$100


You do the math...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,798 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by dj4monie /forum/post/20768279


You can install programs and run them on WHS 2011 as well. As I mentioned before somebody installed NextPVR on their WHS 2011 with a TV Tuner Card and it records directly to his server...


WHS 2011 = $50-60


Windows 7 Upgrade Disk = $90-$100


You do the math...

I understand that it can. I just prefer it to be a straight up OS. I don't want to have to search or figure out how to install certain things. I read and researched a lot when I built it on which OS to use. Win 7 is the best for me.


Win7 64 = free


No math needed on that one...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
344 Posts
One of my favorite aspects of my WHS (V1), after streaming media to all the machines in the house, is automatic incremental backups. Every night, our PCs wake up from sleep, backup any new/modified files (sectors) to the server, and then go back to sleep. The server saves a number of nightly, weekly, and monthly backups.


If you have a hard drive crash, from another machine, you can browse the backups and recover any critical files. Then after replacing the failed hard drive, you can restore any saved image to the new drive. It's straight forward, you just boot a restore disc that comes with the installation disc and it guides you through the process.


FWIW - I do not work for Microsoft or any affiliated company. I'm just a fan.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,393 Posts
The nightly backups are great if you tend to tweak your setup alot. I just haven't experienced massive crashes really. The laptop crashed bad, but it has a recovery partition. The bad part is that its like when you just bought if you recover it that way, if your drive gets so corrupt or stops working, no recovery partition.


Data recovery is not as hard as it looks... But it is time consuming.


WHS makes it simple and easy, once I move all my media files off it, I'll back up the laptop.


After a day and half of almost pulling my hair out, I got 98% of the features of WHS working. The final one that's not working is Remote Access (and TV Archive). This as more to do with 2 Wire and their sorry router/gateways than the server.


So I'll be picking up a new N router and either another router for client bridge mode or a game/media adapter for my PS2 and HTPC.


Budget is $100. I would spent slightly more but I rather not, I want to go somewhere for my birthday (Aug 10th).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,704 Posts
I'm curious. Has anyone here ever bought used or off lease a true server, or perhaps inherited an old replaced one from their place of work? Something like a Xeon Dell Poweredge or HP Proliant or similar of any configuration or vintage?


They tend to have pretty robust disk controllers and networking, room for plenty of disks, and maybe even redundant power supplies. Just wondered what something like that might cost refurbished, and how well it would work for a home server running WHS 2011?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
764 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by dankev /forum/post/20767697


Thanks to everyone for the info. Really good stuff.


I may have gotten carried away with my zeal for building another computer. I think for now, using the htpc I just built as a server will more than suit my needs.


I think I'll want to get a dedicated server at some point, but I really don't think it makes sense for now.

I considered a server when I decided to rip my DVD collection. many were getting old and I didn't want to worry about them. I went with unRAID and have been pretty happy with it. It's Linux based and easy to configure. It works great with older hardware and it costs nothing to test (or use if 3 hard drives suit your needs). There is also a very good support community.


BT
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,393 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zon2020 /forum/post/20777544


I'm curious. Has anyone here ever bought used or off lease a true server, or perhaps inherited an old replaced one from their place of work? Something like a Xeon Dell Poweredge or HP Proliant or similar of any configuration or vintage?


They tend to have pretty robust disk controllers and networking, room for plenty of disks, and maybe even redundant power supplies. Just wondered what something like that might cost refurbished, and how well it would work for a home server running WHS 2011?

I have seen some people do this, the problem with getting usually enterprise servers is that they are rack mounts. Mostly impractical for home use, unless your in IT.


They can be reliable as any other "old" hardware. I would say enterprise level hardware is more reliable than consumer grade hardware which is why it cost more usually, though the quality between the two is often blurred... There is constant technology transfer from enterprise to consumer anyway.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top