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New Server Question From An Amateur

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
LONG QUESTION

So I'm planning on building a file/media server in the next month, and have very little clue as to what OS to use. I have a access to Windows Server 2003, 2008, and 2008 RT from my school. I'm not opposed to using a different OS, but I know close to nothing about Linux, so I'd have to figure that out. I will start small, and end having something close to 30TB of data, I'll be adding about 3TB every few weeks to eventually get to the 30TB (I'm backing up all my DVDs, Blurays, and family home videos.) I'd like to have some sort of redundancy, I assume RAID is my best bet.

So I have a few questions...

1. Do I need to be buying the same HDDs so I can set up a RAID set up?
2. Is there a better OS for me than a Windows Server OS?
2a. Any good resources to learn this other OS?
3. What else do I need to think about?

Thanks!
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System #Uno
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post #2 of 12
Hi dds115.

I take it you can get those OS through the Dream-spark project?

Win2k3 and 2k8 are good, and even better that they are free. However I have used ubuntu server and found it to be really good. If you are running relatively low hardware specs then I suggest that you go with Ubuntu as it taxes the system resource less, if you know what I mean.

Using the same HDs and capacities will increase performance, according to my extensive Googling.

Try getting a book on Servers maybe. Click here to see a list of server admin. books from Amazon (UK) (If you want .com just change it manually in the URL.)

You will need to think about the number of computers connected to the server, they type of media and also the COST of HDs. I'm sure you will know that prices are through the roof right now due to the Chinese unwilling to supply resources to manufacturers, and the fact that Western Digital and Seagate's plants are underwater in Thailand due to the flooding frown.gif

If you have any questions post away, I have subbed this thread and would be happy mto help a fellow OCN member again.
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post #3 of 12
Do you see yourself going into a field where you would directly use Windows Server day-to-day? If so, use 2k8R2. The hands on experience even for building a file server will be good, as you will inevitably probably try out different roles on the server at some point.

However, if you go that route for RAID you will definitely need a hardware RAID controller. These are expensive for decent ones, and at 30TB you'll want a damn good one. $300 would be the normal starting price here, though less on eBay.

If you want to learn a bit about Linux, or you don't think your career will involve Windows Server - try Debian (and I highly recommend straight Debian as opposed to Ubuntu). Linux MD RAID (IE Linux software RAID) is fantastic - and free, you just need to add additional controllers to the motherboard to give enough SATA ports. You could go the cheap route with a $10 add-on card, but for better performance get a mid-range card - say $60 ish and performance shouldn't suffer at all. RAID 5 or 6 would work well for this size of an array, though I'd recommend RAID 6. Be warned, RAID construction and re-construction if (when) a drive needs replacing will take a long freakin' time with software RAID.

The other upside to Linux MD RAID is if you want to move the drives to another machine for whatever reason, if it runs Linux it will recognize the array immediately without you needing to do anything but mount it. Great learning experience, though. It's what got me started with Linux.
    
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post #4 of 12
I am doing the same thing as you right now, and I am an absolute Windows fanatic. I am the Manager/Network Administrator at work, and I use Server 2008 R2 on every single machine we run (close to 100 of them) and I run Windows 7 on all of our home computers. However, after looking into using Windows Home Server or Server 2008 for our new Media Server, I opted against Windows.

After looking into Alternatives, I found Amahi (http://www.amahi.org) and am actually going to be using that. It looks fantastic and is free. It runs on top of Fedora, so my lack of Linux experience might complicate this a bit, but I have a feeling it is going to turn out pretty well.
post #5 of 12
Amahi has a good wiki with lots of other specific forums, so I'm sure if you really need help there will be plenty of places available for you to get it.
Alternatively, just post here again and we'll see what we can do.
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Battlefield 2 review.
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Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
WD 2 TB  LiteON DVD/CD R-W Drive AMD Standard cooler Windows 7 Ultimate 
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post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Great everyone, thanks for your suggestions. Going to the library today to see what kind of resources they have. Appreciate everyone's help, I'm sure I'll have more questions soon! thumb.gif
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128GB SSD O/S, 2TB @ 7200, 1TB Raid 1 @ 7200 LG BluRay Burner Windows 7 64bit, Red Hat, Ubuntu (2) 23" eMachine 1080p 
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post #7 of 12
No problem. Fire away smile.gif

PS Libraries in Scotland contain virtually NO computing programming etc. books. Is is different in the States?
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Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
WD 2 TB  LiteON DVD/CD R-W Drive AMD Standard cooler Windows 7 Ultimate 
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Battlefield 2 review.
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Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
WD 2 TB  LiteON DVD/CD R-W Drive AMD Standard cooler Windows 7 Ultimate 
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post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by joshd View Post

No problem. Fire away smile.gif
PS Libraries in Scotland contain virtually NO computing programming etc. books. Is is different in the States?

Libraries in the States carry quite a few computer programming books from what I have experienced.

QUESTION: With hard drive prices being so high right now, I saw a good deal on a 3TB WD Green and purchased two of them. Do I need to be buying the same hard drives each time so I can set up RAID, or can I use different brands of hard drives with an OS such as unRAID? Thanks!
System #Uno
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Phenom II X6 1090T Black @4.0 Gigabyte GA-890FXA-UD5 PNY GTX 570 4x2GB Corsair 1600mhz 
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128GB SSD O/S, 2TB @ 7200, 1TB Raid 1 @ 7200 LG BluRay Burner Windows 7 64bit, Red Hat, Ubuntu (2) 23" eMachine 1080p 
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System #Uno
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128GB SSD O/S, 2TB @ 7200, 1TB Raid 1 @ 7200 LG BluRay Burner Windows 7 64bit, Red Hat, Ubuntu (2) 23" eMachine 1080p 
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post #9 of 12
I'm currently loving Windows Home Server 2011. Great integration with Windows Media Center in my house across 2 HTPC's and 3 laptops. The Remote Web Interface is perfect for remote media sharing. Also has a great Windows Phone 7 Connector too.
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CHILZ - Lan Rig
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CADILLAC - HTPC
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Intel i5-4570s Asus H97M-Plus AMD R9 280 G.Skill RipjawsX 16 GB (2x8) 
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250 GB Samsung 840 240 GB Kingston 3 TB USB 3.0 Drive Custom Loop 
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Windows 10 Preview BenQ GL2450 Filco MajesTouch2 Ninja PC P&C Silencer Mk III 600 W 
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Fractal Design Core 1000 Mionix Castor Monoprice XXL JL Amps + Custom Morel Bookshelf speakers 
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Scythe Kama-Panel 3 
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post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by axipher View Post

I'm currently loving Windows Home Server 2011. Great integration with Windows Media Center in my house across 2 HTPC's and 3 laptops. The Remote Web Interface is perfect for remote media sharing. Also has a great Windows Phone 7 Connector too.

That sounds very much like what I need. Is the only RAID solution hardware RAID? Or what is your redundancy (if any)?
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128GB SSD O/S, 2TB @ 7200, 1TB Raid 1 @ 7200 LG BluRay Burner Windows 7 64bit, Red Hat, Ubuntu (2) 23" eMachine 1080p 
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System #Uno
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Phenom II X6 1090T Black @4.0 Gigabyte GA-890FXA-UD5 PNY GTX 570 4x2GB Corsair 1600mhz 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
128GB SSD O/S, 2TB @ 7200, 1TB Raid 1 @ 7200 LG BluRay Burner Windows 7 64bit, Red Hat, Ubuntu (2) 23" eMachine 1080p 
PowerCase
Thermaltake TR2 RX 850W Corsair 800D 
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