Home | Blog | Software | Reviews and Features | Forum | Help | Donate | About us
topbanner_forum
  *

avatar image

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
  • December 06, 2016, 10:05:16 AM
  • Proudly celebrating 10 years online.
  • Donate now to become a lifetime supporting member of the site and get a non-expiring license key for all of our programs.
  • donate

Last post Author Topic: Building a home server. Please help, DC!  (Read 52953 times)

superboyac

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 6,070
  • Is your software in my list?
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Building a home server. Please help, DC!
« on: November 30, 2009, 12:58:18 PM »
You guys here at DC helped me build my new PC earlier this year (see here), and it was fabulous.  Your advice and back and forth dialogue was a great way to figure everything out.  I truly took it all to heart and it resulted in the best rig I've ever made.

Anyway, with all the talk recently of backing up, I started my setup.  I encountered a problem I had never run into earlier about almost having too many hard drives.  Mouser correctly pointed out that after a certain number, Windows and/or my hardware may have certain issues with it.  So I started thinking about what the good solution is, and I think the answer is that eventually I will need some kind of home server, and that's where all this started from.

On my current setup, I have my main hard drive, another drive for storing documents, a backup drive (internal), and another backup drive (external).  The external enclosure actually houses 2 bays, so there's another drive in there that I mess around with.  That's 5 drives.  I also have a couple of other drives lying around that I'd like to make use of.

So, my initial idea is to set up some kind of server pc running one of the Windows Server flavors (2003, Home Server, 2008, etc.).  I'll put all the drive in there except for my main and document drives, and that will be my home server.  I'll connect it to my linksys router/wifi box and there you go.

What are your initial thoughts?  I'd love to hear them.  Don't be afraid to express your honest opinion.  Some people in my previous thread thought that my system was overkill and were worried that other people were recommending pricey hardware to me.  yes, my rig was expensive, but I'm also very happy with it after almost a year.

JavaJones

  • Review 2.0 Designer
  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 2,717
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Building a home server. Please help, DC!
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2009, 01:16:10 PM »
What are all the drives for? Maybe just get a large NAS and stick everything on that, then backup the NAS to an external drive. Lower power than a full system, takes up less space, possibly quieter, little or no maintenance, accessible from all systems on a network.

Total solution cost, about $800:
2.5TB (~2.3TB formatted) RAID 5 NAS - $600
http://www.adorama.c...html?searchinfo=5big

2TB single drive for backup - $140 (after rebate)
http://www.buy.com/p...c/101/212502309.html

Just a thought. :)

- Oshyan

superboyac

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 6,070
  • Is your software in my list?
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Building a home server. Please help, DC!
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2009, 01:26:37 PM »
What are all the drives for? Maybe just get a large NAS and stick everything on that, then backup the NAS to an external drive. Lower power than a full system, takes up less space, possibly quieter, little or no maintenance, accessible from all systems on a network.
I considered that.  but I think I want to build my own system.  A large part of the drives are for backups.  I have a lot of files.  Each of my backup drives are already 1 TB, and they are more than 80% full already.  So I want to build a system that I can expand.  I also want to play around with a server.  I just don't like the idea of a NAS...too pre-packaged for me.  i don't really care about power consumption.  I don't mind the maintenance.  I care about quiet, but I don't see why it has to be that loud.  And I have plenty of space in my house.  I'm not trying to be an ass, I just wanted to address your concerns, which are very valid by the way.

JavaJones

  • Review 2.0 Designer
  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 2,717
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Building a home server. Please help, DC!
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2009, 01:38:01 PM »
Not a problem, I totally understand your reasoning... and in that case, you could get something like ReadyNAS, with 4 or 6 bays, empty, and buy some 1-2GB drives to fill it with. It's expandable, lets you tinker and build and configure, and has all the other advantages of a NAS. ;)

e.g. http://www.amazon.co...259609756&sr=1-4

Perhaps you could explain more specifically what you want to do with a "home server"? Backup? Media streaming? Central file repository for sharing (NAS-like)?

- Oshyan

Innuendo

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • default avatar
  • Posts: 2,255
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Building a home server. Please help, DC!
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2009, 03:42:27 PM »
I'll also add that some NASes are not as "pre-packaged" as you might think. Some you can hack and get a full Linux distro running on them.

f0dder

  • Charter Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 9,029
  • [Well, THAT escalated quickly!]
    • View Profile
    • f0dder's place
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: Building a home server. Please help, DC!
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2009, 03:46:14 PM »
i don't really care about power consumption.
Bad boy! BAD, bad boy!

If you don't need the flexibility a server gives you, building a full server is wasteful in money, and while you might not care about your power bill, that kind of mentality doesn't exactly our environment.

And as innuendo mentions, there's a lot that you can do with some of the nicer NAS units.
- carpe noctem

JavaJones

  • Review 2.0 Designer
  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 2,717
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Building a home server. Please help, DC!
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2009, 04:02:46 PM »
Yes, I guess I failed to mention the level of customizability some offer. I believe it's ReadyNAS (or a similar one) that has a whole modding/plugin community around it, with lots of cool tweaks, mods, plugins, etc. to enhance functionality and get it doing exactly what you want. There are even dedicated bittorrent and other clients available for them.

- Oshyan

40hz

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 11,768
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Building a home server. Please help, DC!
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2009, 06:13:28 PM »
I think your best bet might be Windows Home Server for what you're describing. To give credit where due, Microsoft did a very nice job with their latest iteration of this product. The way it handles data storage and harddrives is particularly well done. Add in the network backup capabilities, system health monitoring, and remote access features and you have a very good solution for a small home or SOHO server. WHS is also (IMHO) one of the easiest to administer servers available. Worth a look.

Info here: http://www.microsoft...server/features.mspx

You can download a 120-day evaluation copy which should give you plenty of time to see if it meets your needs.

Link: http://www.microsoft...67-b881-55ce0648c784

If you decide to go ahead with WHS, an OEM copy will set you back about $100 street.

If you're feeling more adventurous, take a look at the Amahi Home Server. It's a Fedora/FOSS-based alternative that provides similar functionality. Free to install, but registration is required.

Info here: www.amahi.org

 :Thmbsup:

« Last Edit: November 30, 2009, 06:22:55 PM by 40hz »

superboyac

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 6,070
  • Is your software in my list?
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Building a home server. Please help, DC!
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2009, 04:13:38 PM »
Thanks, 40!  yes, I've heard a lot of great things about Windows Home Server.  I should also mention that years ago, I got a free copy of Windows Server 2003 that I never used.  At the time, i was blown away by how fast it was relative to Windows XP, but I had no need for a server at the time.  Whatever, it's there.

i do want to build my own box.  I will try not to be wasteful with the energy consumption.  But it's going to have 3-5 drives in it.  That's fo sho.

skwire

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined in 2005
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,664
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Building a home server. Please help, DC!
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2009, 05:47:05 PM »
I know I recommended it in your other thread but I'll recommend Windows Home Server once again.  I've used it since being part of the beta test and love it.

superboyac

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 6,070
  • Is your software in my list?
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Building a home server. Please help, DC!
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2009, 07:11:56 PM »
I know I recommended it in your other thread but I'll recommend Windows Home Server once again.  I've used it since being part of the beta test and love it.
Yeah, your post was the one that introduced me to it.  Thanks.  At this point, it looks like I'll go that way.

superboyac

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 6,070
  • Is your software in my list?
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Building a home server. Please help, DC!
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2010, 03:10:53 PM »
I've run into a more pressing need right now, please help me out with a few questions:

I need to back up my information to something off-site.  Now, instead of paying for a service, I'd like to set up something in either my parent's house or my sister's house.  What's the easiest way to do this?  Can I just buy a NAS and connect it to their router?  How do I access and administer the NAS from my house?  Through ftp?  Or through http?  Or something different?  I just want to sync the files from my hard drive to that one.

40hz

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 11,768
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Building a home server. Please help, DC!
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2010, 11:17:00 PM »
Take a look at CrashPlan and/or CrashPlan+.

The Home Server Show website ran an interesting two-part article on using it with WHS. Sounds very much like what you're trying to accomplish. (Note: I haven't tried this yet, but I've got it on my to-do list for March. Looks promising! :Thmbsup:)

Here's the links for the article:

http://homeserversho...d-backup-part-1.html
http://homeserversho...d-backup-part-2.html

Link for CrashPlan homepage: http://www9.crashpla.../consumer/index.html

--------------

Obligatory Disclaimer: 40hz has no affiliation (financial or otherwise) with the makers of CrashPlan.

Perry Mowbray

  • N.A.N.Y. Organizer
  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 1,817
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Building a home server. Please help, DC!
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2010, 01:40:45 AM »
I've run into a more pressing need right now, please help me out with a few questions:

I need to back up my information to something off-site.  Now, instead of paying for a service, I'd like to set up something in either my parent's house or my sister's house.  What's the easiest way to do this?  Can I just buy a NAS and connect it to their router?  How do I access and administer the NAS from my house?  Through ftp?  Or through http?  Or something different?  I just want to sync the files from my hard drive to that one.

I have a Synology NAS, which is able to use various services (I use DYNDNS.org) to keep a (free) hostname registered to the (probably variable) IP address; and from there you can set up ftp and/or http etc.

You should be able to ftp straight to it, although I have not attempted to do that from an external site.

superboyac

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 6,070
  • Is your software in my list?
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Building a home server. Please help, DC!
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2010, 09:45:44 AM »
As usual, 40hz is two steps ahead of me.  Good to have you back, man!

Thanks Perry, I'll check that out.  I don't know what would be better: ftp or http.  I'm guessing ftp is more appropriate for file syncing.

superboyac

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 6,070
  • Is your software in my list?
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Building a home server. Please help, DC!
« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2011, 12:46:39 PM »
I totally forgot about this thread.

What do you guys think about Dell's Powervault line?  I was just eyeing the PowerVault MD1000 as my storage box.  I spoke to someone this weekend that highly recommended it, saying they are very well built and so forth.  I mean, The Norco unit that most consumers like me buy costs about $300, and this thing would cost like $3000.  So what is it that justifies a 10x price difference?

skwire

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined in 2005
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,664
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Building a home server. Please help, DC!
« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2011, 01:02:37 PM »
Are you seriously thinking of dropping three large on an empty chassis?   :huh:  Think about it...you're already in three grand and you haven't even purchased a single hard drive yet.

My Windows Home Server has thirteen drives in a regular vanilla computer case that probably cost $60.  The only custom modifications I did to the case was to kit it out with plenty of fans and replace the stock PSU with a heavy-duty one.  I can't think of a single reason for you to buy something like that PowerVault.

superboyac

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 6,070
  • Is your software in my list?
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Building a home server. Please help, DC!
« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2011, 01:20:53 PM »
I was only asking.  I don't have a problem spending it if there's a reason for it.  That's what I wanted to know.  I don't shy away from spending a little extra if the equipment is all rugged, well made, metal, etc.  vs. something cheap and plasticky.  But then we're talking 10x the price, so that might be a little too much to justify.

But I may very well go for that $300 Norco unit.  People seem to be pretty happy with that.  I also don't really want to do this with a normal tower case.  i want to build a mid-size rack.  Not one of those 7-footer ones, but like a mid-height thing around 4' or so.    I want to be semi-enterprise quality with this stuff, even though it's for home use.  I'm like that.

Stoic Joker

  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,296
    • View Profile
    • www.StoicJoker.com
    • Donate to Member
Re: Building a home server. Please help, DC!
« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2011, 02:44:14 PM »
I was just eyeing the PowerVault MD1000 as my storage box.

Sorry if I sound like a broken record... I'm all for the off-lease commercial stuff. The company I mentioned in the other thread Stallard Technologies, Inc. handles those and they are indeed $3,000+ (refurbished). However...

I spoke to my contact there the last week (While ordering a PowerEdge 2800), and told him about DC. If you call the number on their site, ask for Geoff (pronounced Jeff), and tell him you're from here he'll work with you. No discounts were discussed, but if you need a configuration not listed in their site (small number of large drives with room to grow), he's the man to see; knowledgeable, honest, & fun to chat with.

Note: I also found out (last week) that they have a referral program, but that has no bearing on my decision to endorse them. I like the company because they have excellent service & quality product.

superboyac

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 6,070
  • Is your software in my list?
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Building a home server. Please help, DC!
« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2011, 03:03:41 PM »
I was just eyeing the PowerVault MD1000 as my storage box.

Sorry if I sound like a broken record... I'm all for the off-lease commercial stuff. The company I mentioned in the other thread Stallard Technologies, Inc. handles those and they are indeed $3,000+ (refurbished). However...

I spoke to my contact there the last week (While ordering a PowerEdge 2800), and told him about DC. If you call the number on their site, ask for Geoff (pronounced Jeff), and tell him you're from here he'll work with you. No discounts were discussed, but if you need a configuration not listed in their site (small number of large drives with room to grow), he's the man to see; knowledgeable, honest, & fun to chat with.

Note: I also found out (last week) that they have a referral program, but that has no bearing on my decision to endorse them. I like the company because they have excellent service & quality product.
Thanks Stoic!  that's the kind of help I truly value.  I will definitely give him a call.

kyrathaba

  • N.A.N.Y. Organizer
  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 3,120
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Building a home server. Please help, DC!
« Reply #20 on: January 16, 2011, 04:51:31 PM »
There's a recent MakeUseOf.com article on do-it-yourself home server using Amahi.

superboyac

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 6,070
  • Is your software in my list?
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Building a home server. Please help, DC!
« Reply #21 on: May 23, 2011, 12:34:08 PM »
I haven't called Stallard yet, i will later today maybe.  I have a feeling their prices just can't compete with the cheap stuff like Norco.

I'm trying to figure out all the different Norco models, and what their differences are.  hell if I can tell.
RPC-4220
This is a popular one on newegg and seems to be what most people get.

RPC-4224
I'm tempted to get this since it seems like an updated version of the one above.  But I have no idea.
^^Both of these, on Norco's website, fall under the "server rackmount" category.

The ones below fall under the "Storage Systems" category.  i don't really understand what the difference is:
DS-24DR
DS-24E
DS-24D
DS-24ER
All of these are just like those popular RPC-4220 models, but they are in different categories and have a few variations.  I don't know what the differences are and why they are considered different than the others.

JavaJones

  • Review 2.0 Designer
  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 2,717
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Building a home server. Please help, DC!
« Reply #22 on: May 23, 2011, 01:15:50 PM »
The RPC-4220 and 4224 are both full system enclosures with lots of drive bays. You get the chassis, motherboard, CPU, RAM, hard drives, and stick it all in the same box and rack mount it. This is a full single-unit solution for your needs.

The DS-xx models are all storage *only*. They're external enclosures with no room for a motherboard but lots of room for drives, designed to provide significant external storage to existing systems. So if you go this route you have to buy another unit for the host system.

The external enclosures work through a SAS expander and connection with an SFF-8088 (ideally) multi-lane connection. This means you need a compatible controller card/port in your host system. With use of the expander, these large external enclosures can show up as "Just a Box/Bunch Of Disks/Drives" (JBOD), in other words they present to your system as independent drives, which you can then choose to configure however you want (including setting up various RAID configurations). Unlike other some enclosures (particularly consumer-level) that would use e.g. a USB, Firewire, or eSATA port (none of which are multi-lane) where the drives would need to be in a RAID configuration controlled by hardware *in* the box that houses the drives so it can be addressed through the single non-multi-lane port.

- Oshyan

40hz

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 11,768
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Building a home server. Please help, DC!
« Reply #23 on: May 23, 2011, 02:47:43 PM »
+1 X 100 with JavaJones on the above post.

If you're going to be configuring more than 4 drives in your storage array, you definitely want to either be on a 'business grade' server chassis - or have some of your drives in an external enclosure. And if you're thinking of using RAID (especially RAID-5) on your data drives, you most bodaciously DO NOT want to use a desktop/consumer class controller card.

The mobo RAID controllers (or those cheap weird-brand Asian imports) are OK for mirroring (RAID-1) your boot disk. But I wouldn't want to use them for much more than that. Especially when you can score a decent used "pro" card on e-bay or other places if you shop around. Most times they're between $100-$150 (with battery). Not a bad deal when you consider they run around $600 new - and some junk RAID card will set you back about $75-$80.

If you do go with a consumer card, burn a joss stick in front of the Data Buddha and keep your fingers crossed. Shanti!  :huh:

7492603-bangkok-thailand--april-03-thai-buddhist-monks-fix-a-computer-in-a-temple-in-charansanitwong-in-bang.jpg
Buddhist monk repairing a computer in his monastery in Thailand. How cool is that!

Note: I've seen mirrored drives both get corrupted very nicely by cheap RAID cards. So maybe I'd restrict "RAID on the cheap" to RAID-1 and only if I were using a mobo-based controller. But I'd have to be feeling pretty good about myself on the day I chanced it.

Putting your big data drives in an external enclosure also goes a long way towards reducing heat build up in your server case. And taking some strain off your server's power supply. It can also (usually) just be moved over to something else if your main server dies. So you'll still have access to your data and archives in a pinch. You'll also get some additional protection by having your drives in two separate enclosures in the unlikely event your power supply or AC circuit experiences a catastrophic failure which fries everything downstream.

Just my 2ยข  :Thmbsup:

P.S. Don't use RAID-5. If you have a good backup strategy and can afford occasional downtime to perform hardware maintenance or replacements, RAID-5 is more trouble than it's worth IMO.

« Last Edit: May 23, 2011, 02:59:24 PM by 40hz »

superboyac

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 6,070
  • Is your software in my list?
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: Building a home server. Please help, DC!
« Reply #24 on: May 23, 2011, 03:17:03 PM »
Thanks JJ and 40hz, very helpful as usual.

40, you've warned me several times about the consumer RAID controllers, so I'm going to avoid those.  I actually don't intend to use RAID at all, even with 10-15 drives installed.  I'd rather have a software or OS way of combining directories and drives (volume spanning is the term, I believe?).  I just don't think I have the stomach to deal with RAID, so I'll be really trying hard not to need it.

Since the DS units from Norco are just for storage, perhaps the best thing I can do is buy the server box (I don't know what to call it, but it's the part that has the mobo, cards, and all that stuff) and buy a DS unit for just the storage.

For the server, this is going to be hard for me to shop for, so I'm asking for help on it.  What specs do I want or need?  I can spend a decent amount, but I don't want to spend way more than I have to.  Like, if a shitty server costs $500 and a decent one costs $2000, I'll get the expensive one.  But if a shitty one costs $1000, and the decent one costs $7000, I'll probably stick with the cheap one.  If I can build it myself and avoid some brand name prices and restrictions, I'd like that also.