I have never set up a machine as a dedicated server, but I have used my desktop to share many times. I would like to centralize all my media so that all the new gadgets can access it. So I am going to take a stab at getting XBMC to work for me. I need the server to be accessible by Windows, Android, and Mac alike. This will be mostly for music and movies.
Gigabyte Mobo EP45-UD3P
1 TB WD Green
2 TB WD Green
Need to buy:
3TB drives for data (want to mirror each other)
I plan to buy a "desktop" or HTPC style case and install a main drive + 4 HDDs. I want to set up two WD Reds (or equivalent) 3TB to mirror each other. And perhaps two WD Greens 2TB to do the same. I would have to buy the 2nd WD green to do this. "Back in the day" the drives had to be the exact same. Has this changed for RAID mirroring? However I may start by having drive one (1TB) + drive two (2TB) + 3TB mirror
First, HTPC case prices are ridiculous. I don't need special features, just a decent horizontal case. Any suggestions on what company to look for this?
Next, Is everything I am trying to do possible? I am talking particularly with the hard drive raid setup. I bought two large drives and I don't really know what best to do with them.
Finally, any suggestions on software (in place of or addition to what i mentioned) would help.
First. If all the hard drives you plan to use are the same size why not RAID 5 them. This will give better performance and give most capacity, you'll only be sacrificing a single hard drive for data parity.
Second. You'll probably need to look at a controller which can handle those 3TB hard drives, the bios on the EP45 will probably not recognise them properly and downgrade them to 2TB drives, if it sees them at all. Motherboards which support 3TB drives have only came out in the past couple of years.
Third. A flat case which supports lots of hard drives, have you tried ebay or looked at rack mount cases? Personally, I would go looking for a tower which case house all you want and hide it away somewhere. I tend to find a HTPC is either expensive, has too few hard drive bays or is restricted in size for the motherboard it can handle. Racks are normally long and noisy but you might get lucky. I'd suggest you look at 2u racks, if you're going to.
Your suggestions have already saved me tons of time and frustration. So now I am thinking of ordering 3 2TB drives for 6TB of storage and one parity disk. Would that be correct for 4 total 2TB drives? This means I can mix and match them without issue as well, i believe.
How should I do the RAID setup, in Linux or with the motherboards controller?
If you're using 4off 2TB hard drives, then you will have 6TB of storage plus your parity drive. However, within Windows or Linux this will show as closer to 5.6TB because of the slightly different way that the OSes and hard drives calculate hard drive space (OS sees 1kB as 1024B, whereas the hard drive sees 1kB as 1000B).
If the only options for your RAID setup are the onboard controller or linux then I would have to pick linux as the onboard cannot handle such a large array. As to how it's done in Linux, I haven't the foggiest as my experience of linux is almost non-existant.