i want to build a home server for backing-up my family's data as well as sharing files. i eventually want to tie it to our vacation home but that wont happen for a while. i don't really have a budget restraint but i would like to keep it bellow $1000. I'm pretty sure that should be way more than enough but i've never done anything like this before so any and all advice is much appreciated.
Highly recommend buying the latest HP MediaSmart Server 1.5TB, it's probably the only server in the market that provides consumer functionality that are simple enough to install on your own. The predecessor had limitations but HP has done a good job in addressing consumer issues. You'll pay around $600-$750 for the system but it's compact and quiet, slick looking tiny box. I've had mine for over 6 months and so far so good.
The server runs on Windows 2003( provides remote access to stream movies, polls all music, photos, videos and best part it backs up your PC's). You can setup User accounts per user and turn on/off folder duplication . There are an additional 2 empty slots to expand the HD to 1.5TB.
I use to have all my home PC's using Norton Anti-virus which blocked a lot of server capabilities. But, once I switched to latest McAfee no longer had problems with the server.
I'm sure you want to build your own why take the risk of unknown solution when HP has already done it for you!