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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
With my htpc case running out of room for new hard drives, I've started to look into building a budget/introductory home media server from spare parts that I have laying around the house and just wanted to get opinions on what I should or should not use and on servers altogether. I'm also wanting to keep costs to a minimum.


Ultimately, I was this server to be a hub for all rooms in the house but for right now it'll just serve the main room. Storage will be backed up SD and bluray movies, music, pictures, etc etc. So far I have at about 2tb of data but would like the server to have 4-5tb to start with. The hardware that I have right now from old builds are Asus a8n-sli deluxe mobo, AMD 3200+ single core, Antec P182 case, and 2gb ddr400 memory. If you guys think this hardware will be fine I'll add a 550ish Watt PSU, and use the WD Green TB drives.


Questions:

1) OS: With me being stingy I don't want to pay for WHS but I've never used Linux before so I'm curious on how easy Linux is to pick up on and build a server around. Also, if I were to use Linux will I have to use linux on other computers hooked into the server or will Windows be able to be used? Any other freeware OS's that might be recommended for the servers?

2) Raid: I'm wondering if a Raid 5 would be a best fit for me. Correct me if I'm wrong, in a raid 5 I can use however many HDD's and have redundancy so if 1 were to fail I'd still have all of my info.

3) Raid: How easy is it to install new hard drives into a pre-existing raid? Or even able to?

4) Raid: If I were to install a hard drive with information on it into a pre-existing raid system, will it recognize that data and back it up immediately?

5) Raid: Would the onboard raid controller be good enough or should I go ahead and get a raid card? What should I look for in a decent raid card?

6) UI: I'm assuming I'd be able to open VMC on my htpc and have it recognize everything from my server?

7) Hardware: If I were to add another htpc down the road and have 2 tv's streaming 2 different shows, will there be a problem with transfer rates since the server hardware would be older?


As you can probably tell, I'm really new to this sort of computing so any information or input in addition to my questions are greatly appreciated.


Thanks!


Steven
 

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WHS is so simple, just get it



I've been using it since it came out, its wonderful and easy to use. just slap in a harddrive and thats it
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by steven1110 /forum/post/15473780


Questions:

1) OS: With me being stingy I don't want to pay for WHS but I've never used Linux before so I'm curious on how easy Linux is to pick up on and build a server around. Also, if I were to use Linux will I have to use linux on other computers hooked into the server or will Windows be able to be used? Any other freeware OS's that might be recommended for the servers?

You should look into unRAID. It's based on linux, but it's very easy to install and use. It's free for up to 3 drives and there are paid versions that handle 6 and 16 drives each. A linux server will work just fine with windows PC's in the house.

Quote:
Originally Posted by steven1110 /forum/post/15473780


2) Raid: I'm wondering if a Raid 5 would be a best fit for me. Correct me if I'm wrong, in a raid 5 I can use however many HDD's and have redundancy so if 1 were to fail I'd still have all of my info.

Yes, but if more than 1 drive fails, you lose everything. Also, it's possible to lose everything if the controller dies or has a problem during a rebuild.


unRAID gives you similar parity protection (if a drive fails, your data is protected), but since the data isn't striped across multiple disks, if you have multiple drives die, you don't lose the entire array, just the data on the effected disks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by steven1110 /forum/post/15473780


3) Raid: How easy is it to install new hard drives into a pre-existing raid? Or even able to?

It depends. Some raid cards will allow you to expand the array. However, you're limited to the initial drive size that you started out with. So if you build an array on 1tb drives today, you'll be stuck with 1tb drives in the future. You may be able to actually add a larger drive to the array, but it will only show up as a 1tb drive.


unRAID is really nice in this respect because you can add new drives incrementally and they don't have to be the same size. So you can take advantage of bigger, cheaper drives in the future.

Quote:
Originally Posted by steven1110 /forum/post/15473780


4) Raid: If I were to install a hard drive with information on it into a pre-existing raid system, will it recognize that data and back it up immediately?

No. However with unRAID, you can mount a windows formatted drive and copy the data onto the array manually.

Quote:
Originally Posted by steven1110 /forum/post/15473780


5) Raid: Would the onboard raid controller be good enough or should I go ahead and get a raid card? What should I look for in a decent raid card?

If you go down the RAID path, you probably want a RAID controller card.

Quote:
Originally Posted by steven1110 /forum/post/15473780


6) UI: I'm assuming I'd be able to open VMC on my htpc and have it recognize everything from my server?

I haven't tried this personally, but I can't see why this wouldn't work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by steven1110 /forum/post/15473780


7) Hardware: If I were to add another htpc down the road and have 2 tv's streaming 2 different shows, will there be a problem with transfer rates since the server hardware would be older?

Shouldn't be a problem at all as long as you have gigabit ethernet. HD streaming even a full blu-ray iso only requires 4-6MBps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Very interesting stuff. I really like what I read about unraid but to be honest I'll probably end up going WHS route just because I'd probably more familiar with the UI and everything. One question that did come to mind is internet connectivity with both of these OS's. I would assume the WHS would have the typical Microsoft options/wizard to find your connections. Does unraid have anything like this or able to connect to internet at all?


How similar are say windows xp and WHS in terms of UI and ability to do things other than control the raid? Or is the program just built around controlling the server and protecting the data? Would I have to download programs at the htpc and manually add them to the server?


Sorry if this is confusingI'm just trying to wrap my brain around what I'd be able to do from the server.


Thanks again!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by steven1110 /forum/post/15474946


Very interesting stuff. I really like what I read about unraid but to be honest I'll probably end up going WHS route just because I'd probably more familiar with the UI and everything. One question that did come to mind is internet connectivity with both of these OS's. I would assume the WHS would have the typical Microsoft options/wizard to find your connections. Does unraid have anything like this or able to connect to internet at all?


How similar are say windows xp and WHS in terms of UI and ability to do things other than control the raid? Or is the program just built around controlling the server and protecting the data? Would I have to download programs at the htpc and manually add them to the server?


Sorry if this is confusingI'm just trying to wrap my brain around what I'd be able to do from the server.


Thanks again!

unRAID doesn't run the same way that WHS does. It's really meant to be run headless like a true NAS. You access the server via a web browser that lets you control settings. You access the files from your PC/Media Player just like you would any other folders on your network. You can also telnet into the server from your PC to manually manage things (via linux command line).


But to answer your question, when you boot unRAID, your router will see the system and assign it an IP. So technically, yes, it has internet access if your networked is hooked up to the internet. But it's not going to do anything over the internet, unless you install a script or application that requires internet access.

http://lime-technology.com/ (they will also sell you a pre-built server if you don't want to build your own or re-use existing components)

http://lime-technology.com/wiki/inde...le=UnRAID_Wiki

http://lime-technology.com/forum/index.php
 
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