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Home server advice Newbie!

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March 4, 2010 5:10:42 PM

Hi,
I would first like to say thanks for taking your time to read this post, I’m sure some sound advice will push me in the right direction.
I am looking at setting up a “Basic” home Server and have a few requirements, unfortunately my PC knowledge is limited but adequate, and some of the threads I read on here are extremely way over my head! So here goes!:
Typical requirements,
1. Storage of Files types – typically media such as MKV’s, Video files, individual sizes maybe up to 15GB. Transfer speeds aren’t really an issue.
2. Overall storage aiming for initially 10TB with the option to increase, with an efficient backup level in the event of drive failure (Raid).

Questions I have,
= Windows Home server, will this cater for my needs? Remember i need to keep things simple and windows is something i am familiar with.

= Cost, I have to keep cost down, i know the investment in 2TB drives is unavoidable but I would hope to use normal PC of average specification and load it full of drives – after all this is just for home use.

= 4 Port SATA RAID cards – I have seen some on eBay for approx £10 with a PCI slot – sounds cheap?? Are they any good?. Can I simply buy two of these and plug 8 Drives into them? Then I see Adaptec cards for £500!! – can you please enlighten me 

The overall outcome of this, would be to start off small as a project, then as i increase my archive of files, I increase my storage capabilities – currently I have two 1TB USB externals and they are now both full! But i want to start off in the correct direction.
Is this something I can do relatively cheap? Or am i in dream world?! What are your thoughts/advice?

Many Thanks for your time
Tom
a c 126 G Storage
March 4, 2010 5:13:45 PM

Don't pick PCI cards - never use PCI for anything anymore. You should use the onboard SATA or use PCI-express cards. You can also use both, of course. But not to create one big RAID.

I can't advise on Windows Home Server. If it suits your needs it may be worth its money. On the other hand, free alternatives exist, such as FreeNAS. FreeNAS can be configured from your web-browser, and is easy to install.

So you install freeNAS to your NAS server
Then go to your windows desktop computer and use firefox/ie to configure FreeNAS over the network.

Have a look at:
http://www.freenas.org
Related resources
March 12, 2010 5:49:30 AM

Agree with above, RAID 5 and hot spare, no need to have more HDD and constantly doing manual backups of your data. I've got a RAID5 NAS just today (Buffalo TeraStation) and I'm very happy. You only get 3/4 of useable space but you don't need to backup as the redundancy is already built in.
a c 126 G Storage
March 12, 2010 10:33:31 AM

cletus: RAID is never a substitute for a backup. Many people have lost their data on weak/proprietary RAID5 implementations, with all physical disks being just fine.
April 9, 2010 4:51:56 AM

sub mesa said:
cletus: RAID is never a substitute for a backup. Many people have lost their data on weak/proprietary RAID5 implementations, with all physical disks being just fine.


I agree but the The XFS file system that the Linux Kernal uses is fairly reliable. If it was an NTFS file system I would be more worried.

Actually I have 2 NAS devices now and an external. I don't have anything so important to warrant buying even more drives that this time.

If someone is going to use a RAID 5 NAS, make sure you attach it to a UPS and use the connection and software so it an shut down properly when the power goes out. I had to flash my firmware because of a failure to do that, but all the data was safe.
!