Originally Posted by dkev
I have well over 600 DVD's. I would like to back them up to HDD to be used on my home theater. This is going to be a massive investment in time as well as money. So I am looking for the best way to achieve this. My initial idea was to get a Patriot home theater and a 2 drive HDD USB enclosure which will house 3TB's. Then I would simply create ISO's of my dvd's. When I had my house built I had the foresight to have a wired network installed. But even then trying to stream upwards of 7GB through the network is not doable. So do you think this is the best option? Divx isn't an option because of the loss of quality. Obviously I only want to do this once so I want to get it right the first time.
I've built two setups doing what you're trying. One is for about 700 DVD's. And the other for about 300 DVD's. I do not use RAID. I do not compress the DVD's. And I stream them perfectly fine over my gigabit ethernet. The data rate of DVD is actually quite low. Regardless, I simply housed the HDD's in their own case with a separate drive for the OS. It functions as a file server. I simply add more DVD's as I get them, and I have them in .ISO format. I mount them over the network with daemontools lite. Works like a charm. I do have full redundancy too, minus the cost of hardware RAID and the crud of using software RAID. I use simple backup methods that many enterprise server folk use, and it's free. I'll explain.Backup Software:
DVD Decrypter (free)
DVDFab is what I use to rip my DVD collections. I rip them directly to ISO form, and I only rip the main movie, not the extras and all that. So when I mount my ISO, it's literally just the film with the embedded audio and subtitles. I keep only the languages relevant to me (and original languages if not in my own language with subtitles). This reduces the foot print of each disk quite a bit when you count it in the hundreds of DVD's. Plus, I just don't like loading screens and extras. I just want a pure movie and nothing more. But you can rip with DVDFab in many ways, from the full disc, to just the movie, to whatever you please. It's not free. But it's not expensive, and you get free updates as they come out with new versions. Well worth it. A one time purchase that you will love.
DVD Decrypter is freeware. I use it solely for DVD's that are scratched or damaged in some way, or in a situation where DVDFab can't seem to do it properly for whatever reason. DVD Decrypter will rip right through it. I then go back and reprocess the film through DVDFab to make it into an ISO as normal. I've had to use a few times on some odd DVD's. Otherwise, I tend to only use DVDFab. Again, it's free.Operating System:
I use Windows 7 64bit. You can use any OS you like. I prefer Windows 7 because it's easy, looks nice, runs great on nearly any old machine and has plenty of support for my TV tuner card, various DVD software that I like to use (Zoom Player, VCL, etc), and things like Media Center (I like it actually) as well as XBMC.
Use any OS you like. I simply added this to show that Windows 7 works great for a HTPC's server. I do this because I like to always be able to go back and make the machine do more than serve at a moment's notice.
I mount my ISO's with Daemon tools lite. You can use other things too, like PowerISO and many others. I like free stuff, so I use Daemon tools. Works fine, small foot print.
I playback my DVD's with Zoom Player and/or VLC. I use XBMC when I want to show off the DVD collection since you can have it synch the DVD's with IMDB by name and have the album art and all that (it's awesome).Hard Drives, and Redundancy:
I do not
use RAID. At first, I did RAID5. Then I went RAID6. Then I want RAID1 with pairs of drives. In the end, none of it is worth it. It's actually better to simply backup the data on other hard drives without using RAID. It's similar to RAID1, but without the RAID part. The reason is simple: in RAID1, every time you read/write, both
disks do the same thing so receive equal wear/tear. If you simply backup the data to another drive, it's only accessed and works when it receives the backup. It gets less wear/tear over time, compared to the working drive that it mirrors. Enterprise servers often use this kind of method. Software syncs locations to other locations. So it only has to do a backup or write new data when there's new data to be backed up. In the end, again, the backup drive simply does less work and so lasts longer. You end up with the same redundancy power of RAID1, full redundancy. But you get more protection since one drive is used way less. If one fails, the other is an exact copy.
I use Fbackup
. It's free. Sync a drive to a drive, or a folder to a drive. It works over networks. Or locally. Whatever you please.
As for Hard Drives, I started out with 1TB WD Green drives. Now that the 2TB drives are out, I've been using Fbackup to synch two of my 1TB drives to a single 2TB drive. So two separate drives get 1:1 mirror backups, with the foot print of only 3 drives, instead of 4 (as would be the case in RAID1). But it's full 1:1 mirroring. No hardware. No RAID. Just simple synching of files between multiple drives with Fbackup.
I use this method also because as the 1TB drives become too small and take up slots, I can migrate data to new 2TB drives as I get them without worrying about RAID arrays, rebuilding, etc. I simply plop in the new drive, synch it with a mirror, and then take out the old data drives that it mirrored. No problems. And it doesn't take me days to rebuild a huge RAID6 array. I rebuild/mirror in minutes to hours depending on how many discs are on there.
I average about 170 DVD's, uncompressed, ripped as just the main film with all the audio/subtitles per 1TB drive. So if you use 2TB drives, mirrored using Fbackup as I described as I have, you get about 340 DVD's on two disks (two 2TB drives, both mirrored). So 4 drives, 2TB each, will basically hold 680 DVD's in this manner. That's only 4 hard drives. No RAID. But full 1:1 mirroring. 4 drives is easy to maintain. It takes up less space. Less power consumption. Less noise. Less heat. That also means you have a lot of space to add more drives to various cases as you need. That's a lot of DVD's if you think about it. This is also very affordable, considering it's full 1:1 mirroring, not just some RAID5/6 method where you can still easily lose the whole batch. I lose a drive a lose nothing. I have to lose both the drive and it's backup at the same time. Odds are that this is not going to happen, ever, in my life time, short of my house burning down or a flood or something where I don't care about DVD's anymore anyways (if I'm alive, right? lol).
Another note: in RAID1, if you delete something, you delete it on both. It doesn't protect against your mistakes or corruption. As it writes the same to both, reads from both, and deletes to both at the same time, every time. This is why I stopped with RAID1. Instead, if I just synch the drive with another. I can screw up my disk, delete something by accident, corrupt it with something, or whatever, and the other drive is unaffected as it only is accessed/copied to when there's something new to add to it (it doesn't take away, or write the same file over and over when it synchs).The Server Hardware:
I use a Corsair 400w PSU. A simple, but great, gigabyte MA785GM-US2H micro ATX motherboard (it has an HD4200 GPU, PCIe, AM3 and DDR2 so it's perfect for HTPC playback, powerful for server use, and expandable while being small). I use a Regor 2.9ghz 65W Dualcore in it. With the system running with a few apps (my FTP server, my webcam software as I also use this as a surveillance server, and some hardware monitoring apps) and serving, it sits there consuming only 54watts (I have a meter that measures it at the outlet). This is less than a lightbulb. I care about that, because my server is on 24/7 so that I can access my FTP from anywhere, see my cams, and of course, stream my DVD collection (and other data) on command.
It operates headless (no monitor). But I still have one there just in case I want to tinker with it directly.
Expense? Very small. The machine with a case runs for about $300 (to $400 if you decide to get a very nice case). The drives were on special for $139 (2TB WD greens) during the black friday thing. Otherwise, they're $199 now, and Seagate has a low power 2TB drive for $179 I think now too. Hitachi has 2TB drives for $169, but they're 7200rpm (more noise, more heat, the extra speed is pointless for DVD playback and serving, since you're limited by the network connection anyways; so I use low power, low heat, low noise drives when possible--hence greens). You can build it all for a 700 DVD collection for around a thousand bucks, with full 1:1 mirror redundancy without fooling with RAID, drivers, rebuilds, etc. You can expand. You can rebuild. It's so much less of a headache than using RAID. And protects as well as RAID1 level redundancy in terms of keeping you at 99% uptime (1% goes to power is out, so ... nothing works anyways).
Final note: put it on a UPS (backup battery power surge protector; I like a 400w one as it lasts long enough for the system to shut down everything and power off safely should the power go out for more than a few minutes). A good one is like $120 or so.
-- So in the end, I have a machine that serves it to my other machines, with full 1:1 mirror redundancy, better than RAID1 redundancy even, but this machine can also actually just plug right into a receiver/TV via HDMI and be the player as well as the server if I want/need to. And should I ever want to do something else with the machine, I can, as it's capable of anything essentially.
And by the way, this is the case I use for it... I love it's silencing properties, fans, and rather plain/discrete look and how the drives mount: Element S
Very best, Edited by MalVeauX - 12/12/09 at 7:57pm