Best way to store a large media library?
For general purpose storage, there are a number of options with extremely low overhead. If you truly want it to be a storage server, use OpenFiler. It is free and is only for storage. It will run very well on most hardware. You could even run it on an inexpensive refurb or off-lease computer and attach new hard drives.
I have a raid 5 array in my main PC running Windows 7, but to be honest, if I could actually get my ass in gear I'd stick the array in something like freenas or openfiler and stick it in the cupboard...
Why would you use openfiler over Unraid? I'm currently in the process of building an Unraid server, but a while ago i looked at all the alternatives i could find, and Unraid just seemed like the best possible solution. I'd be interested in knowing what reasons people decided to go with other options.

Unraids ability to survive a single drive failure with no loss of data, and 2 drive failures with only the data on those drives lost, not the entire array was what really swung it for me.

In its default state its pure media storage, but the fact theres a good community, and a lot of plugins have been made to allow things like torrents, usenet, mysql, apache, php etc mean it allows you to consolidate other things into only one box you leave on.

Of course the fact you have to pay for it would turn a lot of people off, but thats only if you go over 3 drives (1 parity, 2 data)
And you WILL go over 3 drives Wink
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Oh, i know that, when i have finished building my Unraid server it will already have 7 hardrives in it, i currently have 4 x 1TB drives in a windows spanned volume, so if one drive goes bad i could potentially lose the lot, im currently using just under 3TB, so the plan is to get 3 x 1.5TB drives, use 2 as data, 1 as parity, transfer it all over, leave it a month or so to make sure its stable, then wipe the 4 x 1TB drives and add them to the array.

However, when you are starting out 4TB on a preotected array (using 2TB drives) or even 3TB (with 1.5TB drives) is a good start, you can see if Unraid is for you and if it is, pay to expand.

Even better, if you know someone who wants to do one as well, split the cost. The Pro registration is $119, but if you buy 2 its $149, plus at the moment you can get $10 off, so thats $139 / 2 = $69.50 each, or the plus would work out at $44.50 each, but that would be no good for me as it only allows up to 6 drives
I went with unraid for most of the reasons others say in this post.

Right now I have two servers:
1) UnRaid 14TB Data just for media storage
2) Synology DS209II+ in RAID 0, for web, torrent and personal photo, video and documents (last three regularly backed-up on the unRaid, and also on another external storage)

I'm still fixing configuring few things to fully automate everything but so far I'm really happy with everything and already survived a crash and disk loss.

From outside the server accessible is just one (the synology for better security and more features), and I mount the unRaid shares in the synology server using nfs, so I can access everything from a single point.

So my suggestion is UnRaid and another backup for "relevant" data

^^ So what if the Parity drive fails? Wouldn't this mean total data loss in ANY setup where there's a dedicated parity drive?
eg4190 Wrote:I would definitely recommend building your own server over buying a pre-packaged one. Anything sold as a "server" seems to carry a $300-$400 price premium, and they only come with 4 drive bays for some reason. The key thing here is to make sure you're using cool, quiet, low-powered parts, because your server won't be handling many heavy processing tasks, and you don't want to drive up your electric bill and have guests ask why your vacuum cleaner is always on in your closet.

One thing to consider is that you don't necessarily *need* all of your hard drives to appear as one physical drive, particularly if you aren't concerned with fault tolerance. My feeling is, it would be pretty easy (if a huge hassle) to replace my media if any one of my hard drives died, so I just installed Ubuntu on a cheap machine with four 1.5 TB drives, sorted out my existing movies and TV shows, and pointed my nzb/torrent scripts to the least populated drive. When that one fills up I'll move onto the next one.

XBMC makes it very easy to merge multiple sources into one TV and movie library, so there's not much reason to pool the data just for convenience. XBMC doesn't care if you tell it that movies are in the Movies1 and Movies2 network shares. But if error tolerance is worth the premium to you then there are a lot of other solutions.

That is exectly what I did, and I am very happy with my server.

- Semprom L-1250 low power and cheap CPU (Eur 25!), ideal when coupled with an entry level cheap Mobo (in my case, Gigabyte GA-MA74GM-S2H)
- Fanless Noctua NH-U12P CPU cooler
- Silent Antec Solo Full Tower Case (can add 8Hdds easily, I have 5 now)
- Tucked under the staircase. It is completely silent, cool and low power
- Running Debian to do much more than just media serving.

- That all summed up I have a low-power, silent, scalable and powerful server for my needs.

About storage: I decided it was not worth the hassle of having RAID, LVM, etc, as that would most certainly make things hairy in case a real hard recover would be needed, particulaly now with such reliable HDs like the Green Caviars. I kept all HDs mounted individualy. And keep double backups (one offsite) for the most important data (photos, documents, family movies), single off-site backups for less important things like movies, TV Shows, etc.
Superorb Wrote:^^ So what if the Parity drive fails? Wouldn't this mean total data loss in ANY setup where there's a dedicated parity drive?

As for unraid and flexraid, No. The parity drive just holds the parity data. You just need to replace the parity drive and recalculate parity.
TugboatBill Wrote:As for unraid and flexraid, No. The parity drive just holds the parity data. You just need to replace the parity drive and recalculate parity.
Ahh, gotcha.
It depends on what your set up is and your needs. I personally only have one media centre PC so currently I simply have a usb hard drive connected which is cheap and simple. The drawbacks are that I have to unplug it and plug it into my main pc to get the media onto it (although I keep all my flac files on the media pcs internal drive at the moment to I use winscp to get that over). I will be upgrading to possibly 2 networked hard drives (1 for the media library and the other for backup) so that my library can be accessed over the network. NAS drives seem to be more expensive and still have some backup problems with raid but are a neater solution. I would just recommend going with the option that fits your needs and budget.
I just keep all my media files on my PC I use everyday that's usually on anyways.
Have WHS here too, good option. I have neve had to do reset that box. It just sits in a corner and chugs away. I built mine from an old P4 with 2G ram box I had laying around, it is capable of streaming to multiple (at least 3) machines at once without a problem.
rbonon Wrote:That is exectly what I did, and I am very happy with my server.

- Fanless Noctua NH-U12P CPU cooler
- Silent Antec Solo Full Tower Case (can add 8Hdds easily, I have 5 now)

I saw this cooler, but it had a fan; is the one you got different, or did you just remove the fan?
And i'm looking for a case like yours, but I cant seem to find that one, do you have a link?

I could only find the mid-size case that holds 4 hds.. Is that what you are using? How do you plan to add more? I've been looking at cases for a similar build as yours, but I am getting to focused on the 'internal 3.5" ' setting on newegg, and not sure if there is a way to add more, as it seems just resting them in the 5.25 bay is a bad idea.

I am very lost with all of this but am trying to learn. I currently have about 4TB of media data split on three 1.5 TB USB drives. I then have two 2 TB USB drives backing up the data.

I don't know if it makes sense for me to switch to one of these server type solutions, but if I did, using something like unRaid how is this all set up? If I had three 1.5 TB drives how could one more 1.5 TB drive be a parity drive to backup 4.5 TB worth of media?

Sorry for posting what is probably a very basic question but I imagine many others are reading this thread scratching their heads as well.

Thank you.
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