Forum Jump:
4Likes
Reply
Thread Tools
post #1 of 45 Old 02-12-2014, 04:45 PM - Thread Starter
Member

Lewshus's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 53
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Just as the title says. I am in the planning process of building a htpc and a server. Lately I have been reading a lot about NAS.
So i was curious if its more cost effective and future proof to build a media server or buy NAS.

I will be using the server for storing movies, music, pictures and other misc files.

If a NAS is the best answer can you guys please direct me which ones are best.

If a server is the best answer, I could use some help parts-wise there also.


Thank you for reading.
Lewshus is offline
Sponsored Links
Advertisement

post #2 of 45 Old 02-12-2014, 06:02 PM
Senior Member

ash_man's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 295
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 61 Post(s)
Liked: 31
To me, they are different devices that serve different purposes, a HTPC is meant to sever up media with the ability to store some locally, but is not a storage device in itself like a NAS. A NAS is a Network Attached Storage device whose main purpose is the storage of data available on a network. Some people like to combine the two which you can certainly do, I would rather separate them, but thats a personal preference.

If you want to look at name brand NAS's I would suggest Synology or Qnap I own NAS's from both companies and they are very well built, reliable and worth their price. I would suggest you start off with a at least a four bay model so you can grow into it even if you only start off with two drives.

If you want to look into building your own NAS, then there are plenty of things to look at, cases, motherboards and OS such as FreeNas, Snapraid or Flexraid or you can look at purchasing a hardware raid controller and do it that way.

Good luck!

BenQ W1080ST
125" Elite Screen
Denon AVR S710W
Paradigm Home Speaker set 5.1 Cinema 100
Harmony 650
Asus Chromebox
ash_man is offline
post #3 of 45 Old 02-12-2014, 07:49 PM
Newbie

mediamatters's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 3
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 14

I have a Synology and NAS, and its pretty great. The OS includes plugins for a few media servers as well (serviio, plex, and a few of their homebrew apps), so you're kind of killing 2 birds with one stone. But you'll still need a client to hook up to your TV (PS3, Roku, Raspberry Pi, etc) or maybe your TV has something built-in? 

 

I would say that if building something is a fun activity for you, then great, but these days it is mostly just as cost effective to buy something pre-built for you...

mediamatters is offline

post #4 of 45 Old 02-12-2014, 11:54 PM
online-shashki Forum Special Member

funhouse69's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 1,163
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 484 Post(s)
Liked: 154

I am a computer guy, I love building, maintaining and upgrading computers as well as servers. With that in mind I've done exactly what you mentioned and built a few servers with RAID Systems that hold all of my movies, photos, music and documents (About 15TB Worth). I've also built HTPCs that I have connected to my TV's and use them to play my DVD Collection.

 

Keep in mind that there is no such thing as "Future Proof" when it comes to anything technology related. There is always going to be something coming out (usually the week or month) after you decide to buy something so you can forget about that right off the bat. Even the fastest system today (which would be very expensive) will be "Slow" in 3-5 years but might still work for your needs but will eventually need to be updated or completely replaced depending on what your needs are at the time.

 

So the solution is completely subjective and depends on you, your needs, your budget, your technical ability, your desire / ability to "Tweak" things on a regular basis. Personally after lots and lots of trial and error I've had tremendous luck with the hardware that I have chose which is as follows:

ASUS / GigaByte Motherboards

Super Micro Hard Drive Enclosures fitted in a Tower Case

3Ware (Now LSI) Caching RAID Controllers

Seagate Hard Drives.

 

Because I was happy / content with my existing set up I never ventured in to Blu-Ray until this past Christmas. Now I am completely hooked and ran in to issues with my current HTPC Systems being several years old not being able to play Blu-Ray Rips properly. At the same time Blu-Ray Rips take up a significant amount of space (usually 2 to 4 or more times that of DVD). So I need to either expand or add more storage to my network.

 

That said I was at the point where I started looking to go in a different direction and tried FreeNAS which seems to be really reliable but is limited to the number of SATA Ports you can get on a single motherboard. If you add in a RAID Controller you are kind of defeating the purpose of going with FreeNAS other than the cost of the operating system.

 

I've tried a few different NAS Devices over the years and never really cared for them, they were always way slower than anything that I built and were really costly. Since joining this site I've heard nothing but great things about Synology and decided to give one of their NAS's a try so I picked up the DS1813+ when Amazon had a special recently and I have to say I am thoroughly impressed with it and would highly recommend it to anyone that is looking for a NAS Solution. Sure they are "Expensive" but are they when you compare what it would cost to build a system with hotswap bays and the performance that they have? Again all relative.

 

So what I've done just to make my life a little simpler is go with a Synology NAS and a Mede8er Player which has been the best MediaPlayer I've tried for the money and believe me I've tried many of them over the last few months. All of which except for the Mede8er have gone back.

 

I hope this will give you something to think about and consider your options. If you have any question let me know I'd be happy to help as much as I can.

Lewshus and SquidDaddy like this.

Denon AVR-X7200 - Klipsch RF-82 II Fronts, RC-62 II Center, RS-52 II Surrounds & R-112SW & Four CDT-5800-C II Ceilings for an Atmos 5.1.4 Setup.
funhouse69 is offline
post #5 of 45 Old 02-13-2014, 10:43 AM - Thread Starter
Member

Lewshus's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 53
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by funhouse69 View Post

I hope this will give you something to think about and consider your options. If you have any question let me know I'd be happy to help as much as I can.

Thank you all for the reponses. I appreciate your time and expertise.

Maybe im getting my terms mixed up. I thought a NAS and a media server kind of served the same purpose of storing media. And then you would use an htpc to play the media on your tv.

With the synology does it take the place of both the htpc and server? And do you just hook it straight up to your tv?
Lewshus is offline
post #6 of 45 Old 02-13-2014, 10:58 AM
Senior Member

dmarqueset's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Murfreesboro, TN
Posts: 338
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 68 Post(s)
Liked: 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lewshus View Post

Thank you all for the reponses. I appreciate your time and expertise.

Maybe im getting my terms mixed up. I thought a NAS and a media server kind of served the same purpose of storing media. And then you would use an htpc to play the media on your tv.

With the synology does it take the place of both the htpc and server? And do you just hook it straight up to your tv?

The Synology is for the most part just storage. It sits on your network. As mediamatters stated above, it has a few apps but you will still need something to read the device. I would add an Intel NUC as another device that could be used to read from the Synology or any other NAS.

http://synology.com/en-us/
dmarqueset is offline
post #7 of 45 Old 02-13-2014, 11:35 AM
Newbie

mediamatters's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 3
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 14

NAS just refers to storage, basically. In the instance of the Synology, it has an OS that can do many other things besides just share files (media server, mail server, backup, etc).

 

In this instance, the "media server" would just be software that serves up media to another device (like a Roku) that is connected to your TV. The synology does not connect to your TV.

 

If you want something that does it all in one, for example, you could build a full computer with plenty of hard drive space that attaches to your TV. In that scenario, you would not "need" any media server software, you could just play files using whatever player (VLC, Windows Media Player, etc) you want. But some media-centric software would make the interface look nice, easy to use a remote control, etc.

 

Something inbetween would be like a WD TV Live box. It is a media server that connects to your TV but doesn't have any real storage capacity. It would pull the content off any network share.

Lewshus, Will2007 and dmarqueset like this.
mediamatters is offline
post #8 of 45 Old 02-13-2014, 12:54 PM - Thread Starter
Member

Lewshus's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 53
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Hmmmm, looks like I have a lot of thinking to do. Im guessing the most expensive part of the build would the hard drives. Especially considering I need between 15-20 tb's
Lewshus is offline
post #9 of 45 Old 02-13-2014, 02:35 PM
Advanced Member

dhodory's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Posts: 807
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Liked: 14
I find myself in a similar situation -- but I've already purchased a NAS (QNAP TS-639 Pro -- I do not recommend QNAP, btw, my model has had significant durability/reliability issues and even though this has been a widely known issue among QNAP owners, QNAP did not stand behind their product -- but I digress), but the CPU in the QNAP is not capable of transcoding content using Plex Media server. This isn't anyone's fault other than mine, I bought the QNAP prior to really having thought this all the way through.

In my opinion, your decision rests almost entirely upon *how* you intend to stream your media.

If you plan on using an app like Plex Media server to store and transcode your media on the fly, then a "build it yourself" home media server with thin clients at each TV is probably going to be the most cost effective approach. The NAS devices out there that have a CPU big enough to transcode on the fly are almost all in the $1,500+ range (before adding hard drives), while you can build a sufficiently powerful server for less than that. Granted, it won't be as pretty, as small, or as easy, but it will be more capable, more expandable/configurable, more upgrade-able, and cheaper.

If, however, you're going to rip and encode all of your media to a single format (or multiple formats for multiple devices) and won't be doing anything other that "serving up content" to thin clients at each TV then a NAS is do-able. It still won't be cheaper than building your own server, but a NAS will work, and you'll get all of the benefits associated with someone else's R&D, and save a significant amount of time/effort.

How you value your time, and how proficient your are at tinkering with PCs, servers, and NAS software will have a lot to do with what choice you make. If you have time and are wiling to learn, building your own servers and thin clients can be fun. If you want to just install the hard drives, power up, configure your router and "go" . . . a NAS is a quick solution (provided you don't need to transcode on the fly or can afford a NAS with a sufficiently powerful CPU).

The answer to the above questions - what formats of media you have, whether your want to be able to transcode, and time versus budget, etc. -- will drive the big bucket decision of server vs. NAS (from a cost-effectiveness stand point). From there it will be details around what type of server or thin clients you want to build/use or which brand of NAS you want to buy.
Lewshus, Will2007 and SquidDaddy like this.
dhodory is offline
post #10 of 45 Old 02-13-2014, 06:16 PM
Senior Member

ash_man's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 295
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 61 Post(s)
Liked: 31
That's unfortunate that you have had a bad experience with your QNap, I have the model just before yours the TS-639 and I have had zero problems with it over the three or more years I've had it.

BenQ W1080ST
125" Elite Screen
Denon AVR S710W
Paradigm Home Speaker set 5.1 Cinema 100
Harmony 650
Asus Chromebox
ash_man is offline
post #11 of 45 Old 02-13-2014, 09:05 PM
online-shashki Forum Special Member

funhouse69's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 1,163
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 484 Post(s)
Liked: 154

You mentioned hard drives and cost...It is worth mentioning that not all hard drives are created equal. There are different classes of hard drives. While you might be able to build a RAID with "Desktop" Drives and have no issues whatsoever most manufacturers these days also make drives that are made for NAS or Enterprise environments which means they are made to be on 24x7x365. There is some talk that desktop drives do not have some of the features that make a drive better for NAS use but I haven't seen any specific instances.

 

Now if you have decided on a RAID or NAS you need to decide on what level of protection you want to go. The most common configurations are RAID 5 (One Parity Drive) and RAID 6 (Two Parity Drives), different companies might call them different things / have variations of it but the bottom line is the number of drives that you can have fail before you loose your data. RAID 5 is one and RAID 6 is two meaning in a RAID 5 if one drive fails you are ok a second and you are screwed. RAID 6, two drives and you are ok, a third and well... you get the point. Obviously there is a cost associated with each one as you loose the storage capacity of the Parity Drives not to mention the slot you put it in doesn't give you any more storage.

 

So to put this in to perspective to get the 15 - 20TB you are looking at you will be looking at using 4TB Drives which is the largest currently available main stream (although the 6TB Drives are shipping from one company but insane money). Due to the way a drive is made and formatted you aren't getting a full 4TB of storage you are actually getting 3.64TB of Storage for each 4TB Drive so:

 

15TB of useable space would be 4.12 Drives of actual storage (not including any parity) so rounding up would mean 6 Drives for RAID 5 and 7 Drives for RAID 6

20TB of useable space would be 5.49 Drives of actual storage (not including any parity) again rounding up would mean 7 Drives for RAID 5 and 8 Drives for RAID 6

 

Figure $179 for each drives (NAS Class) and that adds up very quickly and if you go with something like the Synology DS1813+ you've filled up the base unit to get 20TB. A nice feature of some of the Synology units is that they can be expanded by adding an expansion unit. These aren't cheap but will ultimately let you take a base unit like their 8 bay and add an additional 10 bays (using Two DX512 units).

 

Most people feel that once we went in to the 3TB and larger drives RAID 6 or two parity drives is the way to go mostly because of the amount of time it can take to rebuild a RAID. There are many factors that affect how quickly a RAID can rebuild but with large drives we are talking DAYS not hours. So if you happen to experience another drive failure during the rebuild which is entirely possible that extra drive can be worth the extra piece of mind.

SquidDaddy likes this.

Denon AVR-X7200 - Klipsch RF-82 II Fronts, RC-62 II Center, RS-52 II Surrounds & R-112SW & Four CDT-5800-C II Ceilings for an Atmos 5.1.4 Setup.
funhouse69 is offline
post #12 of 45 Old 02-14-2014, 12:29 PM
online-shashki Forum Special Member

BruceD's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Silicon Valley, CA USA
Posts: 1,077
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
Liked: 30
With today's technology rapidly adopting virtualization, I built an all in one single box htpc/server that resides in an closed equipment room.
  • VMware 5.1 ESXi as the hardware operating system
  • virtual win7 with WMC (also running ServerWMC for Open ELEC clients)
  • virtual WHS2011
  • virtual MS server 2008R2
  • virtual pfsense firewall


It is a consumer based Asrock H77 Pro4M motherboard
  • 16GB RAM
  • Intel i5-3550 CPU (includes GPU) Ivy Bridge
  • IBM 1015M PCIe disk controller card (8 SATA drives non-RAID mode)
  • 4 x 3TB drives data storage to start (use Flexraid for parity-checking like RAID)
  • 120GB and 64GB SDD drives for virtual WHS and win7 OS
  • 4GB Flash drive on motherboard is ESXi boot
  • Network Cablecard tuner (3 tuners) for Comcast cable -- HD Homerun Prime
  • 24 port Gigabit Managed network switch connects everything on wired connections



I use OpenELEC on a 4GB Flash drive, no hard drives or video cards (on an Intel NUC celeron and a couple older mATX pcs) at my TV locations to play all the content located on the htpc/server and liveTV through WMC and the HD Homerun Prime (can also record shows).

I'm in the IT business, so I deal with VMware on a daily basis, but my cost on the htpc/server single box solution comes in around a $1000.

BruceD
BruceD is offline
post #13 of 45 Old 02-14-2014, 01:02 PM
Member

Dan0myte's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Regina, SK. Canada
Posts: 75
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 31 Post(s)
Liked: 26

A group of engineers from Synology left and started their own company, Asustor, with forward thinking designs and new technologies for NAS devices. 

 

If you're going to go the NAS route, definitely check them out. I picked up 302 and it's been fantastic, with the direct HDMI output to my reciever via XMBC being a huge plus.

 

http://asustor.com/

Dan0myte is offline
post #14 of 45 Old 02-14-2014, 01:19 PM
Advanced Member

dhodory's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Posts: 807
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Liked: 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan0myte View Post

A group of engineers from Synology left and started their own company, Asustor, with forward thinking designs and new technologies for NAS devices. 

If you're going to go the NAS route, definitely check them out. I picked up 302 and it's been fantastic, with the direct HDMI output to my reciever via XMBC being a huge plus.

http://asustor.com/

Those look interesting, but based on processor specs (all run Intel Atom processors) I'm not sure I'd trust to trans-code video on the fly in Plex, and definitely not for more than one stream.

Actually, here's a comprehensive list of which NAS units you can run Plex on and which ones can trans-code 720 and 1080p on the fly:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AhqU12yGv_OxdC1VYjYtMmRiSlVReVZhNVBLZ0JxSmc#gid=0
dhodory is offline
post #15 of 45 Old 02-14-2014, 01:23 PM
Advanced Member

dhodory's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Posts: 807
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Liked: 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by ash_man View Post

That's unfortunate that you have had a bad experience with your QNap, I have the model just before yours the TS-639 and I have had zero problems with it over the three or more years I've had it.

Yeah, believe me, there's no one more disappointed than me. The 639 Pros had/have well-known power supply problems (high failure rate). This has been well-documented on NAS forums. It really bothers me when a manufacturer can see there's a problem with the design or quality of their product and then hides behind their warranty terms. It was obvious to me when I ordered my replacement power supply and swapped them out that QNAP *significantly* upgraded the PSU (code: they knew they had a problem).

In any case, post P/S replacement my QNAP has been relatively trouble free (knock on wood), but the experience has soured me on their products. My next NAS (and my I/T department's next group of NAS units) will not be a QNAPs. As with all things, YMMV.
dhodory is offline
post #16 of 45 Old 02-14-2014, 01:24 PM
Member

Dan0myte's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Regina, SK. Canada
Posts: 75
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 31 Post(s)
Liked: 26

Asustor requires you to step up to the professional 6-series to run Plex. and 2 and 3-series are meant for the average home user who will typically be using the direct output rather than streaming.

Dan0myte is offline
post #17 of 45 Old 02-14-2014, 01:33 PM
online-shashki Forum Special Member

BruceD's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Silicon Valley, CA USA
Posts: 1,077
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
Liked: 30
I see no reason to use RAID on a home based system. Using hard drives that can be taken out of the server and read as standard NTFS drives while still protecting them with a parity drive (or 2) is a much smarter home solution.

If everything goes south on your server, you can still recover most of your content, which is likely untrue for a true RAID solution. Solutions like Flexraid and others can provide a single accessible storage solution with parity protection while still using a standard windows NTFS file system.

RAID just isn't a benefit in any home situation I can think of and if it fails catastrophically you can be totally SOL and lose all of your digital content with no way to recover (unless you have a backup).

I use RAID 5 and 6 servers daily at work, but I would never use them at home.

BruceD
BruceD is offline
post #18 of 45 Old 02-14-2014, 07:39 PM
Senior Member

ash_man's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 295
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 61 Post(s)
Liked: 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceD View Post

I see no reason to use RAID on a home based system. Using hard drives that can be taken out of the server and read as standard NTFS drives while still protecting them with a parity drive (or 2) is a much smarter home solution.

If everything goes south on your server, you can still recover most of your content, which is likely untrue for a true RAID solution. Solutions like Flexraid and others can provide a single accessible storage solution with parity protection while still using a standard windows NTFS file system.

RAID just isn't a benefit in any home situation I can think of and if it fails catastrophically you can be totally SOL and lose all of your digital content with no way to recover (unless you have a backup).

I use RAID 5 and 6 servers daily at work, but I would never use them at home.

I think its really a matter of opinion, but no one should have any storage solution at home, whether its software raid or hardware raid, without a backup. Too many people believe raid is a backup and incapable of failure, this is simply a misguided belief. Traditionally hardware raid solutions have been the only viable solution and in some cases they provide performance increases. For businesses, hardware raid is still a popular choice however software raid solutions have begun to pique the interest of the IT community and some people are striking out with custom software raid setups. If you have any linux knowledge you can easily setup one of the many software raid solutions out there and some have become so easy to deploy that next to no linux knowledge is required. Still, if you want to buy an all in one name brand NAS, there are many options available at varying costs and performance. I have five name brand NAS's of varying sizes, the oldest being about 9 years old, I've had drives fail, as they will and one power supply die, but a raid failure or multiple drives fail simultaneously, not yet, can it happen, sure, but I have backups of everything so I am not so worried.

BenQ W1080ST
125" Elite Screen
Denon AVR S710W
Paradigm Home Speaker set 5.1 Cinema 100
Harmony 650
Asus Chromebox
ash_man is offline
post #19 of 45 Old 02-14-2014, 09:27 PM
online-shashki Forum Special Member

funhouse69's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 1,163
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 484 Post(s)
Liked: 154

I agree 100% that no matter how you store your data you need to have a backup. Sure a RAID is great but there is still the possibility of a hardware / software failure, data corruption or even a virus that wipes out your data. Then you also have a physical aspect, like Fire, Flood, Earthquake, theft.

 

The question is how do you back up 10+ TB of data? Of course we all have our "Original" discs that we ripped our movies from right? Even then you still have the issue of physical security like the fire, flood, earthquake aka. I have Carbonite for backing up my documents / photos but backing up my movies is unrealistic even with today's relatively fast internet speeds you are still talking 1-2 hours + to upload a DVD Image, Blu Ray well now you are talking upwards of a day just for one and I am one of the lucky ones that has FIOS with a 35Mb/sec upload.


Denon AVR-X7200 - Klipsch RF-82 II Fronts, RC-62 II Center, RS-52 II Surrounds & R-112SW & Four CDT-5800-C II Ceilings for an Atmos 5.1.4 Setup.
funhouse69 is offline
post #20 of 45 Old 02-15-2014, 05:41 AM
Advanced Member

dhodory's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Posts: 807
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Liked: 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan0myte View Post

Asustor requires you to step up to the professional 6-series to run Plex. and 2 and 3-series are meant for the average home user who will typically be using the direct output rather than streaming.

Based on the use of an Intel Atom processor on the 6-series, I don't think you'd be able to transcode 1080p content on Plex. So yes, you'd be able to run Plex, but not to its fullest potential - at least that's my understanding. Maybe the new dual core Atom processors *are* capable of transcoding 1080p on the fly - I just haven't read or heard that anywhere.
dhodory is offline
post #21 of 45 Old 02-15-2014, 05:50 AM
Advanced Member

dhodory's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Posts: 807
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Liked: 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceD View Post

I see no reason to use RAID on a home based system. Using hard drives that can be taken out of the server and read as standard NTFS drives while still protecting them with a parity drive (or 2) is a much smarter home solution.

If everything goes south on your server, you can still recover most of your content, which is likely untrue for a true RAID solution. Solutions like Flexraid and others can provide a single accessible storage solution with parity protection while still using a standard windows NTFS file system.

RAID just isn't a benefit in any home situation I can think of and if it fails catastrophically you can be totally SOL and lose all of your digital content with no way to recover (unless you have a backup).

I use RAID 5 and 6 servers daily at work, but I would never use them at home.

This is a great comment and one, I'm embarrassed to admit, that I've never considered before. I run RAID5 on my QNAP, and I guess my thought was that doing so would be at least marginally better than running just a plain old non-redundant RAID configuration - at least I'm protected if a single drive fails (and I did stagger my HD purchases to ensure that my HDs are not from a homogenous production run). I also run the NAS off of a large power conditioner/surge protector *and* I have a whole house power conditioner, so I feel pretty solid there,however, as you point out a "catastrophic failure" (multiple drives, failed power supply, or I don't know, an EMP?) would take out my enitre collection (and yes, while I'm injecting a little levity here with the EMP comment, I'm being entirely serious - I have a TON of time wrapped up in my DVD rips).

So, having saidd that, can you comment further on the parity idea or the FlexRaid solution - while I tinker with this stuff, I'm not an I/T expert. Are there other, less technical backup solutions that can be automated somehow?
dhodory is offline
post #22 of 45 Old 02-15-2014, 07:10 AM
Senior Member

ash_man's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 295
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 61 Post(s)
Liked: 31
You can purchase a bunch of external USB hard drives, plug them into a windows system and purchase a very inexpensive program like Second Copy and setup scheduled copies from your NAS to the external hard drives, then you have your data in two places. You can schedule this once a week or as often as you like and when not in use, put the external drives on a shelf somewhere, or in a safe, where ever.

Don't forget that 'catastrophic failures' are mitigate by having backups. No RAID solution, hardware or software if foolproof, data is lost in software raid solutions as well when drive(s) fail, you can also mitigate 'catastrophic' failures with a NAS by extending your drive failure beyond one drive to two drives, thus improving your chances at losing everything.

BenQ W1080ST
125" Elite Screen
Denon AVR S710W
Paradigm Home Speaker set 5.1 Cinema 100
Harmony 650
Asus Chromebox
ash_man is offline
post #23 of 45 Old 02-16-2014, 10:44 AM
online-shashki Forum Special Member

BruceD's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Silicon Valley, CA USA
Posts: 1,077
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
Liked: 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by dhodory View Post

. . . .
So, having saidd that, can you comment further on the parity idea or the FlexRaid solution - while I tinker with this stuff, I'm not an I/T expert. Are there other, less technical backup solutions that can be automated somehow?

Your QNAP (and all NAS RAID solutions) use a parity drive(s) to capture the data signature of all your other drives in your RAID configuration, but it also stripes the data across all the other drives (i.e. all video files exist as bits of data spread across all the other drives in the RAID5 array, except for the parity drive(s)). This means no single drive in your QNAP contains a single video file by itself.

Therefore a catastrophic failure (say 1 drive fails, you replace it, and while rebuilding the array a second drive fails) means you will not be able to recover a single video file in that entire set of disks, you lose everything.

On the other hand, you can implement a similar setup with various software solutions on a consumer PC, such as WHS2011 server software with an add-on called Flexraid ( or numerous other complete server solutions like the linux Unraid, etc), that does the same thing with 1 or more parity drives to protect the video files on the multiple drives.

On the chance you had the same catastrophic failure situation happen with 2 bad drives that I stated above, the only video files you might lose would be those on the drives that actually failed.

In fact, because these drives can be mounted on a normal windows PC that reads NTFS file systems, you may even be able to recover many of the files on those bad drives, and will be able to access all the video files on the good drives to rebuild the server. This is in stark contrast to the RAID situation where you are left with NOTHING.

Also, NAS solutions are much more expensive than the parity software solutions I described, and the performance value is wasted in the home unless you are running >6-10 HD streaming solutions simultaneously (where cost is not likely a consideration). Your decision though.

BruceD
BruceD is offline
post #24 of 45 Old 02-17-2014, 03:56 PM
Member

aclos3's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Virginia
Posts: 56
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Here's another take on the whole HTPC/NAS/Media Server conundrum. After looking at prices of NAS hardware, I decided to go a more simple route. My HTPC is the only box I have.

The HTPC I put together is a large, mid-tower case with room for plenty of drives and cards. I didn't spend any effort trying to make it silent because I keep it in a closet (essentially another room) and run an HDMI cable to the receiver about 15 feet away. I also have a long USB extension cable run to the room so that my wireless Logitech hardware can "see" the machine.

I use XBMC with Windows 7 Pro on a small SSD and store all of my data on HDDs in the same case. I don't use any raid or redundancy in the HTPC itself, rather I have external drives of the same size to backup each internal drive. I know that I could save some money on RAID or redundancy options that didn't require 1:1 backup, but I really like the idea of being able to take the drives with me or store them separately from the computer. This added security and convenience was worth the marginal extra storage cost I will incur. I don't grow my collection very fast, so future higher capacity hard drives should allow to remain at a maximum of four external drives or fewer.

This setup was simple and cheaper to build than using a NAS with extenders. It has also been very easy to setup and maintain, since I did not have to dive in to the FlexRaid/SnapRaid/HW/SW arena, network issues (wifi, non-Intel NIC, consumer grade router performance), or research NAS hardware/software.

I think this is a viable alternative for a lot of us. It minimizes the hardware that will need to be purchased and vastly simplifies the setup and maintenance aspects. If you are a user with a massive library, the 1:1 backup requirement will add quite a bit to the storage cost, but it still may not be enough to offset your time spent and other increased costs.
aclos3 is offline
post #25 of 45 Old 02-19-2014, 12:41 PM
Senior Member

Dhalmo's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Posts: 323
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 218 Post(s)
Liked: 129
I use BitT0rrentSync to keep my external HDD's mirrored. Supper simple and free. Just my HDD's connected to the PC and I add on two at a time, like twins.

Sony A1E OLED 4K Ultra HD (Calibrated Cinema Pro / Cinema Home / HDR) - LG UP970 UHD Player
NVidia Shield Pro (2015) - Chromecast Ultra
PS4 Pro 1TB - 30TB NFS Share Over LAN (Win7 HaneWin)
SANUS VLF525-B1 Wall Mount
Dhalmo is offline
post #26 of 45 Old 12-27-2014, 08:36 PM
Newbie

tinytim174's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 6
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Liked: 10
virtual computing and server build

Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceD View Post
With today's technology rapidly adopting virtualization, I built an all in one single box htpc/server that resides in an closed equipment room.
hi bruce, just came across your thread while research the NAS/server question. I'm not at all across VMWare or virtual computing. Will the system below (or an equivalent version) work equally well with linux or WHS?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceD View Post
It is a consumer based Asrock H77 Pro4M motherboard
  • 16GB RAM
  • Intel i5-3550 CPU (includes GPU) Ivy Bridge
  • IBM 1015M PCIe disk controller card (8 SATA drives non-RAID mode)
  • 4 x 3TB drives data storage to start (use Flexraid for parity-checking like RAID)
  • 120GB and 64GB SDD drives for virtual WHS and win7 OS
  • 4GB Flash drive on motherboard is ESXi boot
  • Network Cablecard tuner (3 tuners) for Comcast cable -- HD Homerun Prime
  • 24 port Gigabit Managed network switch connects everything on wired connections
I also came across flexraid, and infact just bought a license as it was on special, despite not having bought the hardware yet. However can i ask what is the purpose of the network switch?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceD View Post
I use OpenELEC on a 4GB Flash drive, no hard drives or video cards (on an Intel NUC celeron and a couple older mATX pcs) at my TV locations to play all the content located on the htpc/server and liveTV through WMC and the HD Homerun Prime (can also record shows).
I was planning on running pi as thin client to a projector. This seems like it is a very silly question, but where do you store your files if there is no HDD. The answer relates to virtual networking I'm sure, but i don't understand that at all.

Finally, how do you connect the server to your receiver?

cheers
tinytim174 is offline
post #27 of 45 Old 12-27-2014, 10:30 PM
Member

nba23tsc's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 128
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 45 Post(s)
Liked: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by funhouse69 View Post

I've tried a few different NAS Devices over the years and never really cared for them, they were always way slower than anything that I built and were really costly. Since joining this site I've heard nothing but great things about Synology and decided to give one of their NAS's a try so I picked up the DS1813+ when Amazon had a special recently and I have to say I am thoroughly impressed with it and would highly recommend it to anyone that is looking for a NAS Solution. Sure they are "Expensive" but are they when you compare what it would cost to build a system with hotswap bays and the performance that they have? Again all relative.

So what I've done just to make my life a little simpler is go with a Synology NAS and a Mede8er Player which has been the best MediaPlayer I've tried for the money and believe me I've tried many of them over the last few months. All of which except for the Mede8er have gone back.
I am also using Synology DS1813+. It is very stable, never lets me down and has become an important part of the household, storing my music, movies and other files. Initially I only meant it to be my movie server and keep my other files in my desktop PC, but seeing it work so reliable, I have transferred almost all my stuff there and the desktop storage becomes temporary.

For media player I am using Chromebox running Kodi/XBMC which has so many good reviews nowadays it almost looks like the de facto standard unless one requires the ability to play 3D frame-packed movies.

Thanks.
nba23tsc is offline
post #28 of 45 Old 12-27-2014, 10:40 PM
Member

nba23tsc's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 128
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 45 Post(s)
Liked: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lewshus View Post
Quote: Originally Posted by funhouse69

I hope this will give you something to think about and consider your options. If you have any question let me know I'd be happy to help as much as I can.


Thank you all for the reponses. I appreciate your time and expertise.

Maybe im getting my terms mixed up. I thought a NAS and a media server kind of served the same purpose of storing media. And then you would use an htpc to play the media on your tv.

With the synology does it take the place of both the htpc and server? And do you just hook it straight up to your tv?
Doesn't. You need a storage and a player.

Storage = NAS (pure storage) or HTPC with storage
Player = media player like WDTV, chromebox with XBMC, or HTPC

Typically NAS connects to router.
Media player connects to router and also via HDMI to AVR to TV.

Thanks.
nba23tsc is offline
post #29 of 45 Old 12-28-2014, 06:36 AM
Advanced Member

smitbret's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: East Idaho - Pocatello
Posts: 803
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 325 Post(s)
Liked: 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinytim174 View Post
hi bruce, just came across your thread while research the NAS/server question. I'm not at all across VMWare or virtual computing. Will the system below (or an equivalent version) work equally well with linux or WHS?



I also came across flexraid, and infact just bought a license as it was on special, despite not having bought the hardware yet. However can i ask what is the purpose of the network switch?



I was planning on running pi as thin client to a projector. This seems like it is a very silly question, but where do you store your files if there is no HDD. The answer relates to virtual networking I'm sure, but i don't understand that at all.

Finally, how do you connect the server to your receiver?

cheers
FlexRAID is just a storage system that lets you implement parity RAID for multiple HDD setups on your NAS or Server. I use FlexRAID on my WHS 2011 setup and quite like it.

Using the RaspPi like you mentioned is basically turning it into an HTPC. It will need to pull the files from a local NAS or server or you could connect an external HDD via USB. I would recommend using OpenELEC as the OS and playback software. You'll have two types of installation choices, do the SD Card + USB drive if you can. It is quicker and more stable. If you can overclock it, it will make a huge difference, too.
smitbret is offline
post #30 of 45 Old 12-28-2014, 03:45 PM
Newbie

tinytim174's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 6
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by smitbret View Post
I use FlexRAID on my WHS 2011 setup and quite like it.

I would recommend using OpenELEC as the OS and playback software. If you can overclock it, it will make a huge difference, too.
thanks smitbret, good to know. Haven't got to OS for Pi yet, but openelec def. on the list. You mean overclock the pi right? Why is that, does it allow a less grunty server CPU? I was planning on running i5, but i3 would help bring the cost down.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nba23tsc View Post

Typically NAS connects to router.
Media player connects to router and also via HDMI to AVR to TV.
when you say router, can this also be achieved by a gigabyte network switch as mentioned by BruceD above?

cheers
tinytim174 is offline
Sponsored Links
Advertisement

Reply Networking, Media Servers & Content Streaming

Tags
Roku Streaming Player , Diskstation Ds1813 Nas
Gear in this thread

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off