Need some opinions on home server setup

Discussion in 'Storage & Backup' started by tek_01, Jan 1, 2012.

  1. tek_01

    tek_01 Member

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    Hey guys looking at moving into my house soon and want to get a good little network happening. Have 2 runs of cat5e in each room all back to a patch panel.

    Currently have 1 main PC in sig which stores most of my data and also a media pc in my room which holds movies

    Id like to have a server sitting next to the patch which will hold all my data + have redundancy (unsure what raid it is). Than i was thinking in the other 2 rooms add something like WDTV so they can all stream from my server.

    What should i be looking at? Some sort of NAS? or mini itx pc with heaps of HDD ? educate me on the best possible options.
    Space is not that important as i can fit a full size PC in there but power saving/reliability is (as well as money!) and obviously has to be accessible by all the PCs/media players in the house

    Thanks in advance
     
  2. noobmastery

    noobmastery Member

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    First thing first, how many TBs are we looking at?
    If it's a few and you want low power + reliability a NAS is the way to go IMO with some RAID5.
    If it's more like 10TB+ you'll find it much cheaper to build a server in a desktop case.
    The RAID level you want is probably RAID5 or RAID6 depending on drive count, I strongly suggest you do some wiki reading on RAID before settling on a drive setup.
     
  3. OP
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    tek_01

    tek_01 Member

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    yeh thats prob the most important thing capacity LOL
    nothing crazy, At the start i was thinking of having 4 x 2TB or larger drives so 4TB space with redundancy with the ability to buy another 2 drives when i need them
     
  4. IncredibleBulk

    IncredibleBulk Member

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    Having RAID5 or 6 set up is great... but do you have a backup planned for a catastrophic failure? (ie power surge taking out all the entire machine)
     
  5. OP
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    tek_01

    tek_01 Member

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    If i am unlucky enough for it to take out all HDD's than that would suck but important stuff i cannot afford to lose i have backed up elsewhere on another HDD or DVD
     
  6. IncredibleBulk

    IncredibleBulk Member

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    I guess it all just comes down to risk vs cost. I have about 5tb of available storage but I only back up 2tb worth (at least until I can afford to buy new hard drives)

    There's always online storage for anything super important. I have DropBox set up for all my family photos / videos / financial / work files (about 1.5tb in total). I've had a couple of system meltdowns that required everything to be resync'd. Having an unlimited internet connection helps there :)
     
  7. OP
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    tek_01

    tek_01 Member

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    Cool

    So throw some names at me here for something that will suit my needs

    I know an itx all in 1 mobo with ram will set me back $200 and another say $100 on case+psu. so $300 would be the cost without HDDs. What are some NAS cheaper than that?
     
  8. Jim G

    Jim G Member

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    Have you seen the HP microservers? Those + something like openindiana+napp-it w/8GB of RAM +raidz1 or raidz2 will give you some of the best data integrity available with some redundancy and it's quite easy to manage from a web browser.
     
  9. sreg0r

    sreg0r Member

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    It also depends on how much time you have and whether you enjoy tinkering.

    A 4-drive NAS is plenty good for most, but some (myself included) prefer building a server, installing a non-windows OS (Solaris) and setting up a raidz1 storage pool. There is enough info online to do this w/out any prior knowledge of the world of unix.

    Hardware wise, you don't need much, latest gen dual-core processor is plenty. ZFS (Solaris filesystem) enjoys RAM so if you can go 8gb that would be great. Most important really is SATA ports, you should be able to run a 4x2tb raidz1 array off your onboard ports but anything bigger you'd probably want to invest in a HBA.

    edit: dual core processor is good if you use it as a server, as a pure NAS a cheap all-in-one ITX solution would probably work but can't say for sure.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2012
  10. OP
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    tek_01

    tek_01 Member

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    Im not sure how in depth i want to go. All i want is one place that is low power to store all my stuff that has redundancy. Not sure i need to run solaris etc.. w7 is good enough for me unless im completely missing something?
     
  11. aokman

    aokman Member

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    It's all a balance of cost vs expandability vs easy to use etc i think...

    You could go a prebuilt NAS with 4 bays and have reasonable performance out of it but your really paying for the ease of use more than anything.

    For the same price as a NAS you could knock together a very cheap rig running low end hardware and have room for the future. Not only this but odds are you will be able to saturate your network links easily.

    All you would really need is the hardware and NAS package to start you out like Nexentastor or freeNAS to start learning and free to use.

    Power consumption is not really an issue with low end hardware and can be comparable to NAS box depending on its hardware.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2012
  12. BAK

    BAK Member

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    It will be significantly cheaper to buy your own hardware and build a fileserving computer. The software raid (redundancy) isn't fantastic in Windows 7 so the majority of people in this forum (at least the more vocal ones) use the ZFS filesystem with either OpenSolaris/FreeBSD or a variant of those two such as FreeNAS, NexentaStor, etc. You could also use the Linux software raid (mdadm) on any Linux variant such as Ubuntu.

    The cheapest 4bay NAS' start off around 250 and go up in price fairly quickly, but they are a lot quicker and easier to configure, especially if you don't know what you're doing and aren't really willing to sit down and research/learn.

    In short:
    -Easy, but more expensive = prebuilt NAS
    -Cheap, but more complex = DIY Fileserver
     
  13. sreg0r

    sreg0r Member

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    The point of running something like Solaris over Windows is that you can have some redundancy with a software RAID setup just using your motherboards onboard SATA ports. If you go Windows you need to buy a license and then a hardware raid card (because Windows doesn't do software RAID5 which is probably what you're going to want for a 4-drive RAID)

    edit: I feel like I'm chasing BAK's tail tonight, but yeah I agree with what he is saying and his advice is solid.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2012
  14. Betzie

    Betzie Member

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    If you do not want the learning curve of ZFS consider the following.

    Ubuntu + MDADM Raid5 or 6 + Boxee (or XMBC) and use it as a HTPC

    Then you only need 1 media extender, can have the added functionality of a Blu Ray drive and full desktop such as to rip media to your pool, download media etc etc

    I have been using the above setup for over 2 years without fault, it was just so easy and simply put, it works!

    Not knocking ZFS in any way, I'm 'upgrading' to a ZFS server now but to get the same (and more) functionality I need to run 2 systems as the Solaris desktop will not support all the media needs I have.

    *edit:

    Hell, you could use your current HTPC with the above combo and stream over your network and still get redundancy by using enough drives for MDADM 5 or 6
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2012
  15. OP
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    tek_01

    tek_01 Member

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    This is what i meant by missing something, The ability to do raid in a windows environment
    Would another alternative be a hardware raid card + w7 ?
    I dont mind tinkering but time is limited with working 50+ hours a week/renovating my house after work and spending time with the family for as long as i can keep my eyes open :p
     
  16. BAK

    BAK Member

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    I missed something too, that sreg0r cleared up - Windows 7 doesn't do software raid. The implementation I've seen was actually Windows Server 2008 which is overkill for what you're doing. If you want to use Windows 7 you will need a hardware raid card, or implement another type of software raid like Flexraid. Note that I haven't used this but reading up on it, it looks reasonable.

    Honestly if your time is that limited, just buy a 4bay NAS, throw some disks in it and turn on the features that you want via its web interface. It's about as simple as it gets.
     
  17. OP
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    tek_01

    tek_01 Member

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    w7 has a feature that is similar to raid 1 that i use now, it basically duplicates whatever is on drive 1 to drive 2. Dont know is that would be sufficient
     
  18. aokman

    aokman Member

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    Depends if you can afford to loose 50% of your storage space in a "mirroring" setup.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2012
  19. OP
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    tek_01

    tek_01 Member

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    How is mirroring any different to raid 1?
    Is there another way you can have backup in case 1 drive dies? genuine question
     
  20. aokman

    aokman Member

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    mirroring is just another name for RAID 1. However with 4 drives you have the option for RAID 5 which means 75% capacity out of 4 drives and you can loose any 1 drive without loosing data...

    in RAID 1 you would loose 50% capacity with 1:1 backups :)
     

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