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Heavy media transcoding/HTPC and web hosting server build

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As the title says, I'm looking to build a Plex host + web server host (for my startup business); would these specs be enough for a moderate/low traffic initially web server and a 5/6 simultaneous 1080p plex streamer?

CPU: i5 2500k (from my old build - lying around)
CPU Cooler: Coolermaster Gemini II M4 low profile
Ram: 16gb G.Skill Snipers (from my old build - lying around)
Mobo: ASUS-P8Z77-M
PSU: EVGA 80+ 500w PSU
Case: Silverstone mATX htpc case
Storage: 128gb Samsung SSD (OS, installations)
5x seagate baracuda 7200rpm 3TB (RAID 0/5 - i havent really decided yet)
PCIE SATA controller: 4x port PCIE SATA adaptor
PCIE LAN controller: Intel Dual Port Gigabit NIC

OS: still a toss up between windows server and a linux distro...

Anyway, been a while since i have used this forum but any input would be greatly appreciated! especially feedback
biggrin.gif


Edit: forgot to mention I would be connecting a 3TB NAS to the motherboards onboard LAN (to save moving 3tb of data)
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· Registered
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valkyyrie View Post

As the title says, I'm looking to build a Plex host + web server host (for my startup business); would these specs be enough for a moderate/low traffic initially web server and a 5/6 simultaneous 1080p plex streamer?

CPU: i5 2500k (from my old build - lying around)
CPU Cooler: Coolermaster Gemini II M4 low profile
Ram: 16gb G.Skill Snipers (from my old build - lying around)
Mobo: ASUS-P8Z77-M
PSU: EVGA 80+ 500w PSU
Case: Silverstone mATX htpc case
Storage: 128gb Samsung SSD (OS, installations)
5x seagate baracuda 7200rpm 3TB (RAID 0/5 - i havent really decided yet)
PCIE SATA controller: 4x port PCIE SATA adaptor
PCIE LAN controller: Intel Dual Port Gigabit NIC

OS: still a toss up between windows server and a linux distro...

Anyway, been a while since i have used this forum but any input would be greatly appreciated! especially feedback
biggrin.gif


Edit: forgot to mention I would be connecting a 3TB NAS to the motherboards onboard LAN (to save moving 3tb of data)
If those 5-6 streams will all need to be transcoded, no that CPU is not enough. That CPU could maybe handle 3-4 simultaneous transcodes at a time at best.
 

· god loves ugly
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4,295 Posts
You'll need more CPU threads to do that many 1080p transcodes at a time. I wouldn't RAID-0 that many drives, the improvement to sequential speeds isn't worth the likelihood of one drive failing and suffering complete data loss. Look into other RAID levels that offer multi-drive failure with the capacity of most of your disks (minus a couple for parity).

EDIT:
I'm always partial to Linux, myself. I'm a Linux SysAd and it's what I'm comfortable with. You can get essentially the same results with either in most regards (minus some things, eg: live kernel upgrades), but I find Linux preferable as I find it more stable and easier to keep up to date without significant downtime.
 

· Politically incorrect
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9,226 Posts
A few comments:

CPU: your CPU is good enough dozens of native resolution streams. Transcoding is heavy on the CPU and your 2500K can't transcode more than 3-4 streams.

CPU, Motherboard & RAM: if you have them already then you should use it. If you are buying these parts you should instead look into ECC RAM. ECC RAM affords an extra layer of security that can prevent your RAID array from becoming corrupted because of bad bits. There are lots of guides that explain what ECC actually does so I won't go into detail but I will say that if you are rebuilding your RAID array and there is even one corrupt bit the entire array can become corrupted as the controller will refuse to rebuild the array and claim it's all bad. This is why servers do and should use ECC.

I originally was intending to use a Xeon with a SuperMicro board and 8GB RDIMM but due to incompatibilities between the CPU, board and RAM I sent it all back and switched to AMD as AMD's IMC is not as picky as Intel's. If you take a look at my Plex server you will see what I mean.

RAID 0/5: RAID 0 with so many drives without backups is a very bad idea, if even the slightest thing happens you will lose everything. RAID 5 allows the read speed of RAID 0 but with redundancy and one drive backup. If you can add another drive and do RAID 6 as you will have 4x3TB for data with two drives redundancy.

Streaming actually isn't very hard disk intensive and one hard disk can easily handle a lot of people accessing media (I have tried ten streams and it went perfectly). The reason why we use RAID 5, 6 or 7 (three drive parity) is for safety and ease of use. Personally

I use SnapRAID but whichever form or RAID you use is up to you. The beauty of SnapRAID is that you can take the drives out of the array without affecting the array as the drives are unaffected and still function as individual drives. So I can take the drives out of my server, put them in my main PC and they will just continue to work. Also I can add drives as I go along, which is what I'm doing. I have just added a third drive to my data array and will add another in a few months.

That is impossible in a traditional RAID array. SnapRAID has a lot of pros but one massive con: read speeds are limited to a single drive, which is why data centres don't use it. There is no way Google, Facebook, cloud services or streaming services (e.g. Netflix) are going to use SnapRAID.

My dream is to have a 24 bay 4U chassis with the OS on an SSD, 18 data drives and 5 parity drives. However a more realistic dream is a 15 bay 4U chassis with an SSD OS drive, 11 data drives and 4 parity drives. That will give me close to 30TB of data space if I stick with 3TB drives, which is enough for a very long time to come.

PCI-E SATA controller: make sure it's quality as some are pretty bad. I have no opinion on the matter as I haven't tried one myself.

Extra LAN NIC: Unless you are teaming or using the server as a router there is no need to use an extra NIC as it won't really make your network faster or better. If you truly need faster than Gigabit speeds you are better off getting a 10GBe NIC and capable router but whether your site will get that much traffic to warrant the costs is the question as generally speaking a single Gigabit connection can handle lots of connections, even when streaming.

If you have a Gigabit router or switch then connecting the NAS directly to the is also irrelevant as you can just connect it to the switch/router and make it accessible to the entire network making it easier for you to set up.

PSU: 500W is good enough.

OS: Linux! Any Linux distro over Windows. I would rather use Puppy Linux (outdated) over Windows as it affords the stability that Windows can't because Windows is a general use/gaming OS unless you are going to use Win Server And Server is pretty expensive for home use. I have found that running Windows as my server OS was easy to use because I know it but it started having problems within a few weeks so I've found myself reinstalling Windows every few months, which is really annoying. Two days ago I switched to Linux Mint 18.1 XFCE with Plex and my torrenting in their own dedicated VM's so as to separate them from the underlying OS and ensure high uptime.

I love virtualisation now as I created the Plex VM in Windows and then just continued using it once I moved over to Linux. I could have used LXD, Kubernetes or even Docker but I know how to use VBox and it's very easy to set up. How you set up yours is up to you but I like to work with snapshots as it affords a lot of security and ease of mind. If anything happens I can wipe the snapshot and recreate it as the original VM will just continue to run.

Alternatively you could use FreeNAS and build your array using ZFS. However you can also build your ZFS array in Linux too so it depends on which OS you prefer.

Here is the thread on my move to Linux:

http://www.overclock.net/t/1628722/finally-moving-to-linux/0_20

Another great thread on home servers:

http://www.overclock.net/t/986327/ok-so-who-needs-a-30tb-server/0_20
 

· Registered
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When making such an important decison for your business, you should not just assure that it's enough, but that there is space to improve, cause changing the host services afterwards, can have negative impact on your business in the future. I went through something like that beause when I first setted off on the market, i had no idea how to properly research a hosting service. I'll give you all a tip that I learned later in the proccess, search for a site that makes comparisons between the different host services out there, like 28Msec which is the one that I used and I was super happy with the outcome of it all.
 

· Tokyo the defiler
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946 Posts
that setup seems fine TBH. I have an i5 2400 running on my server, pretty much the same. 6x 4TB server drives Raid6.
I can transcode what you need.., shiiiii..t, I can even transcode a few 4k streams (hardwired recommended).

I do have a gtx 970 assisting hardware transcoding, so there's that. I run it in a 3u plinkusa chassis (short depth, 8x 3.5in hotswappable). I was really impressed with their short 1u mitx chassis for my pfsense -> Cisco 3750 -> Cisco 3650CG POE / Access Point MESH
 
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