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New Linux Media Server

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
I've looked at the all the different solutions, Napp-it, win2k8, freenas, etc. I ended up going the simple linux route. Here's why.

Reqs:
1. TimeMachine support and I wanted to do it via iSCSI
2. Simple samba support for file serving
3. Since I have under 2TB of data, mdadm RAID 1 is desirable
4. WakeOnLAN/ACPI suspend as I don't need 24x7
5. Scripting support
6. DR Replication

I chose CentOS 6.2 as it works with everything I require and has a very good support community. I ended up with 2 servers, the primary in the main house and the secondary in the guest house for DR/backup purposes(all connected via cat 6 gbe). Both servers are identical hardware, AMD 250u, 4 GB mem, 40 GB boot SSD, (2) samsung 1TB.

My main goal was TimeMachine as I needed to have an easy, scalable solution. I created a 500GB volume and it's been working great. The only issue I encountered here was I needed to be able to replicate this volume from primary to secondary or vice versa. I ended up using DRBD for this and it works wonderfully. Whenever I power on the secondary machine (via WakeOnLAN), DRBD automatically connects to the primary and only syncs the changed blocks from the primary. If the primary server is unavailable or is destroyed, I simply promote the secondary to primary and the iSCSI target is available and all my TimeMachine backups and samba shares are available. Really works well.

I used EXT4 for the file system which is simple, fast and easy. Samba was also a piece of cake to setup. Since I only currently require (2) 1 TB drives, it was really easy to create a simple Raid 1 setup. Rsync also works really well.

WakeOnLAN support is awesome (main reason why I didn't use freenas). Whenever I need the server(s) on, I send the magic packet(s) and voila, there they are. Whenever I want to suspend the server(s), I wrote a simple little script that I run and the servers go into suspend mode. Again, really works well for me.

Scripting was important for me as I have mentioned. I use it for the suspend action as well as for my rsync actions, which I use to sync the file systems between primary and secondary. I chose rsync over the DRBD option because rsync is really simple to implement and it works really well. I have backup scripts written, so when I ssh into the primary, I execute 1 script and it rsync's everything to the secondary. I could use cron here, but I don't require that automation yet. I also use the scripting to automatically sync my iTunes and Pictures from my macbook (yes, I know double redundancy here) so that every time I downloaded music from iTunes and/or sync'ed pics from my iPhone(s), I was guaranteed to get the changes over to the server(s). Again works really well.

All in all, this solution works great for me as I have a couple of htpc's that stream simultaneously without problem. Regarding htpc's, this solution also enabled me to free up some hard drives on my htpc's as I went to one small 30 GB ssd per htpc which allows me fast boot times and a single storage location for xbmc. Transfer rates are ~100 mb/sec and system idles at ~40 watts.
post #2 of 2
Quote:
Originally Posted by capt_zman View Post

WakeOnLAN support is awesome (main reason why I didn't use freenas). Whenever I need the server(s) on, I send the magic packet(s) and voila, there they are. Whenever I want to suspend the server(s), I wrote a simple little script that I run and the servers go into suspend mode. Again, really works well for me.

You can do all that on any OS - even FreeNAS.

WOL is done at the hardware level and all those OSs you mentioned support automated shutdown / suspending via basic shell scripts (even Windows supports this and shell scripting on Windows is abysmal).
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