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Building a Home File Server

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May 9, 2006 4:11:46 PM

Ok, I am interested in building a file server to store my DVD collection (100+ DVDs) and CD collection (500+) cds throught my home over gigabit ethernet. I have never really built a home server before so I am very interested in the opinions of those here. I am thinking an 8 disk RAID-5 is probably the best way to go. Let me know your opinions.

As a side note, would you recommend that I keep this seperate from a media center backend or build the machines as one?
May 9, 2006 4:37:03 PM

I would say separate. What OS do you intend to use, what size drive&stripe? Are looking to create an application server that plays on demand, or just a FS that uses compresson for storage?

100 dvd is almost 500gigs, 500 cds could be anyere between 200mb to 100gig depending on if your taking cover images too.
May 9, 2006 4:38:44 PM

Probably some varriant of linux (fedora or ubuntu maybe). I want to stream the video from the server on demand.
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May 9, 2006 4:45:54 PM

You may want to check out the FreeNAS SorceForge project. It is still in beta but is a working solution.

I have it running on 2 systems, looking at replacing my Snap 2200 down the line.
May 9, 2006 4:49:29 PM

I was hinting towards that project too. But the Fedora 5 build would work well for too, I'm running a mp3 server using mysql and such, its never given me any errors over my head. Im still a green horn to all things open source.
May 10, 2006 12:35:28 PM

Any recommendations on hardware?
May 10, 2006 1:05:34 PM

It sounds like your more knowlageable than I in computers. I too use a machine for a file server, I just use 4 large HD's, not RAID'd on a Supermicro MB w/two Plll 550 Mhz procs, 512 MB RAM, 10/100 ethernet and XP Pro. It has "served" :lol:  me well..
The best thing about it is I bought it a the local thrift store for $25.00, replaced the power supply and put it a much nicer case, and added the larger HD's 8)
May 10, 2006 1:52:23 PM

You can buy some WD 16mb buffer 250gigs for a decent price on ZipZoomFly right now. Like 90$ a piece, and they should do very well for a raid 5 setup. I have a good friend who is a video editor and has 6 terrabytes worth of these. Not one has failed him. Concidering that Seagate just dropped that 750gig bomb on us, watch the prices fall on harddrive storage.........
May 10, 2006 2:15:50 PM

Since you are looking at linux, check out Myth TV it seems to have a great client / server environment and can stream PVR / movies / pics to mulitple clients on the network.

Works extremely well on Fedora, ubuntu or as a debian-based mythtv installer known as knoppmyth.

Check out the wikipedia links for MythTV and KnoppMyth for more info...
May 10, 2006 2:34:19 PM

Does he use a controller card? Thats 24 disks (unless he is using RAID then more)! The only card supporting 24 disks is $1200! wow
May 10, 2006 2:47:28 PM

Whats you budget? I'm a big scsi user, mainly because I have access to an endless supply of old 160's and some newer stuff, but my point is that a single channel contoller card supports a few dozen drives. in a raid 5 ( you can do this with any interface) youll be able to add as many drives as you like once your budget levels back.
May 10, 2006 2:51:44 PM

I am obviously trying to keep it as cost effective as possible, but the budget really isn't a concern. Isn't SCSI pretty expensive for those without an endless supply? :) 
May 10, 2006 3:31:46 PM

For what you need SCSI is a waste of money. Just get a controller card that can handle about 8 drives like the Promise FastTrak SX8300 8-Port SATA RAID Controller. Runs under $300 on newegg. That with 8 250GB hard drives will give you 1.75TB worth of space.

Just need a big case to put it all in. Should take you a little while to fill that up unless you plan on doing a butt load of digital video editting. I've currently got nearly every(or every) episode of Family Guy, Futurama, American Dad, Simpsons, Southpark, Desperate Housewives, and Lost on a single 250GB drive. It's not high def quality but looks fine on a TV or a PC monitor.
May 10, 2006 3:34:15 PM

Yes and no, if you need to save you can get used equipment. Ok mostly yes.

If you've never done this before, I would suggest setting up a system to run Fedora, ubuntu or what ever. Do it on anything with onboard raid to test it out, set up the FreeNas and knoppmyth projects. Once you decide you like what you have, then see how seriouse you are about createing a 2/3 of a TB, if you like what you've done surely your budget will have more flex in it.
!