Building a home server for streaming/back up

Hello and thank you for any advice.

I’ve been lurking in various forums and reading what articles I can find, but I’m still confused and I’m starting to get information overload, because the more I read the more confused I’m feeling. So I thought I would tell you what I want to do and what I (roughly) want to do it with and you might be able to provide some feedback.

I want this server to stream my movies (DVD and Blu-Ray), stream my music, and backup my home/gaming pc (eventually these will be different but for now…), my laptop, and my tablet (is this even possible yet?). It will eventually be streaming to my HTPC(s?) (to be built/bought), my home/gaming pc, my laptop, audio system, and my tablet (android of course).

At the moment I don’t plan for the system to have to stream to more than one device at a time, but this could change and I would like the option to be open. I would like to be able to stream while on vacation, have family/friends access my home videos and vacation photos, and backup my laptop while on vacation since I will put my pictures on it every night.

Some details:

• I would REALLY like to keep the budget under $2000 if possible (including storage costs).

• I have, currently, roughly 600 DVDs and 20 blu-rays (including 3D)

• I would like to be able to add additional storage

• I want redundancy! I really really REALLY don’t want to load all my discs more than once. Carbonite?

My current (always up for change plans):

• Case: Rosewill Thor v2

• CPU: Intel Core i5-2400S


• OS: WHS 2011

• OS SSD: Corsair Force Series 3 CSSD-F240GB3A-BK

• Storage HDD x5: Seagate Barracuda ST3000DM001 3TB

• RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600

• Raid Controller: HighPoint RocketRAID 2720SGLc

• Raid Cables x2: HighPoint Int-MS-1M4S SFF-8087 to 4 SATA

• PSU: Rosewill CAPSTONE Series CAPSTONE-450 450W

Priced as of 6/1/12 from it would work out to $1,892.85. All items are in a public wish list titled “My Home Server 6-1-12”. Would this setup work for what I want? Is the SSD for the OS overkill and not necessary? Other than shopping around is there something else unnecessary? Did I miss something?

Configuration is something that I’m sure I’m going to have many questions on, but later, after I purchase my Baby. I do have one important question and that is raid. As I understand it Raids 5, 6, and 10 are the better ones as far as redundancy goes. In December of 2011 wrote an article about building a home server and they recommended Raid 6. Is Raid 6 something I should do? If a drive fails in the above raids, can I just power down the server, unplug the bad drive and plug a new one in or hot swap the drive? Can I start with just 4 drives and add to the Raid? And what about UnRAID by Lime Technologies? Can I put Carbonite ( or another backup service on my server?

You can see that I start seeing options everywhere and end up with my eyes crossed and my fingers tied in knots. :o

I don't really have a timeline for this build. If I could start it small and add to it later that would be great, if not then a splurging I will go.

Thank you again for any help you can provide.

4 answers Last reply
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  1. WHS 2011 will NOT address HDDs over 2 TB in size. So get 2 TB HDDs at max.

    The i5 2400S is OK, but you probably can do with the i3 2100 series (I run the i3 2125 in my home server).

    You will not need the SSD: with a home server it is overkill and unnecessary. You don't need a quick boot for a server.

    a 450W PSU is a little light. I recommend that you get something 550 W +.
  2. I don't run a RAID array because there is software under WHS 2011 that agregates HDDs. A RAID array is not necessary if you want redundency. WHS will do backups on schedule and you cut down the capacity of the system by RAIDing.

    My home server hardware:

    LianLi Llancool case: $50.
    H67 Biostar T67+ mobo: $115.
    i3 2125 CPU: $135.
    Corsair 1333 RAM (4 X $ GB). $80.
    RW Optical Drive: $20.
    2 X 1.5 GB Seagate HDDs. $100.
    2 X 2.0 GB Samsung HDDs: $150.
    Corsair 600 W TX CPU $70.
    Antec H20 620 cooler: $70.
    2 X Cougar 140mm fans: $30.
    WHS 2011: $50.

    Bottom line: $820.
  3. For the processor get the regular version over the s version; why pay more for less? Plus you'll want the extra cpu horsepower if your streaming involves the cpu trancoding the file to a different resolution.

    Scrap the SSD as the OS drive and get two small mechanical hdd's. The server doesnt really need an ssd plus I dont know of an SSD that doesn't have sleep issues and you really dont want issues with your server. One drive will be the boot drive and the other drive will be the server backup drive (so it can belarger than the OS drive to support multiple backups. I use a 160 boot and a 320 backup. note the backupdrive will claim the entirre drive for backup so don't plan on using a small part of one of your storage drives)

    WHS11 does not have issue with 3tb drives just make sure they are GPT format.
    The backup system does however and can only backup a max of 2tb and only to a single drive. To get around this I sync nightly rather than backup.

    I dont see a backup solution. How are you planning to backup your data? Raid is not a backup solution.

    I'm guessing you'll use just under 2tb for your movie collection (600dvd's @ 2gb + 20BR@20gb (roughly - alot depends on your settings)) Backing up that much data to something like Carbonite is going to get expensive. Many WHS users use other users for their online backup plans. You backup theirs, and they backup yours. This works really well if you have a friend with simular storage requirements.

    WHS11 doesnt have the software to aggregate HDDs (Drive Extender) it was removed with 2011 but there is software available to bring back this functionality if thats something you're interested in. I dont use this feature so I dont know if its out of beta yet.

    Raid 5 needs 3 drives minimum and can only suffer the loss of 1 drive. Can be hardware or software raid. Usually supports having a hot spare drive.
    Raid 6 needs 4 drives minimum and can suffer multiple drives loses depending on the number of drives installed. This is hardware only. Supports hot spare drives.

    My recommendation is Raid 6, if you want raid at all, with at least 1 hot spare so your drives will all me the same down to the firmware version. Who knows if you'll be able to find the exact same drive 2 years from now.
  4. The issue with 3 TB drives is that WHS2011 automatically partitions them into 2 TB plus a smaller (usually 750 GB) drives and they are not capable of being used in a RAID array in that way.

    popatim is correct in saying that a RAID array is not a backup but a redundancy solutiion against hardware failure. Backing up to a RAID array is a single backup with a redundant copy,

    The add ons for pooling drives are Data Core Drive Harmony and Drive Bender, both independent add-ons.
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