There are quite a few threads that deal with this topic. Try searching on RAID and "media server" to read up on what some other people have done. Look for "ripping 101" and "ripping 102" to find out about how to rip DVD's to the media server.
In short, you can use software RAID or hardware RAID with either Linux or Windows XP (or Mac OS X for that matter). You could do a RAID 5 setup that would protect you from losing all your ripped DVD's if one drive fails by using 5 250GB drives which would give you about 1TB of usable storage. To support 5 drives in addition to your system drive, you'll need a motherboard with more IDE controllers or an extra PCI IDE controller (for s/w RAID) or a PCI RAID controller (for h/w RAID).
A forum community dedicated to home theater owners and enthusiasts. Come join the discussion about home audio/video, TVs, projectors, screens, receivers, speakers, projects, DIY’s, product reviews, accessories, classifieds, and more!