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Small home server - Need suggestions/guidance

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Lochekey

Senior Pink Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2015
Let me start by saying that I am completely new to setting up a server so please go easy on me. I have been doing a bunch of reading to get more comfortable with getting this going but am not yet ready to try it on my own. If you have any suggested reading let me know as I am looking to learn.

So to the meat and potatoes. I am looking to use the server for three main purposes.

I would like to use it as a central storage for pictures and other important documents and have some sort of redundancy for data retention of these items.

Secondly, I would like to be able to load my movie collection on here for streaming to my different devices, mainly an Xbox 360.

Third I would like to have a drive dedicated to backup images of my different benching OS's.


Now that we know what it is for we can look at hardware. I'm gonna be taking some shots in the dark here so please let me know where I am way off base.


Cpu/motherboard -

I figure I am gonna be looking at a low powered embedded solution here. Something like a 2ghz dual or quad core. I also figure it it's gonna need a at least a pcie x4 for a raid card. I am also figuring a gigabit NIC is in order here.

Ram -

I am assuming I don't need anything too special here so something like 4GB of 1600mhz c9


PSU-

I figure something in the 400-500 watt range is in order with a good efficiency rating to help with the electric bill.

Case-

Size of the case is not particularly important but it will need to be big enough to handle at least a few drives and have decent air flow too help keep it quite.

Hard drives-

I'm figuring something like 2 1tb hdd in raid 1 for my photos and documents. Another 3tb drive for my videos/music. Plus one more 2tb drive for my OS images.


Operating system-

I know a lot of people run Linux and I am not against looking into that but I have no prior experience with it. I have seen a couple places recommend Amahi, link below, and am currently considering this as it looks kinda user friendly.

http://www.amahi.org

So finally the all important budget.

I am shooting for between $2-300 dollars for the hardware not including drives. I'll be picking up hdd as I can catch them on sale. If this price point is unrealistic let me know.
I am not against buying used hardware as long as they offer a good value still. I have some odds and end hardware like ram and some oem cases that might help stretch the budget.

I guess this is enough rambling from me for now. I am sure I have missed some important details so fire away with the questions and I will do my best to answer them.

Thanks
Lochekey
 

Janus67

Benching Team Leader
Joined
May 29, 2005
Hey there, I think you have a decent idea of what you can do for that budget.

Now to get into some specifics and the route I went first (and will be replacing with a stronger build that is part of my homelab server, but that's a different thread/discussion).

I did something very similar to yours, in a system I built of:

- Gigabyte 990fx-UD3 (or something like that)
- AMD Sempron CPU. I wish I would have gotten a little bit better of a CPU to help with encoding bigger movies with Plex
- 4GB of RAM
- IBM M1015 RAID/HBA running IT Firmware for a software RAID (JBOD mode)
- 6x4TB HGST NAS 7200rpm drives in a RAID6 configuration (giving about 16TB of usable space with 2 drives for failover/parity)

I have the above running in a simple case running OpenMediaVault (omv) with no real issues, minus the small performance things I pointed out above. I found it easy to setup (has a web interface) with a decent forum to help with questions. The above system (minus the drives) cost me about $200.

For what it's worth I'm moving the system to a 2-cpu 4c/8t ESXi box that I'm virtualizing FreeNAS, but doing so requires more hardware than the system I have above (or at least especially much more memory [about 8GB+1GB per TB of space])
 
OP
Lochekey

Lochekey

Senior Pink Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2015
Hey Janus thanks for the reply.

I've been searching for some low cost mobo/cpu combos and was wondering what you think of of using an older i3.

I figure an i3-2105 will have enough power behind it and at 30 bucks it is hard to pass up.

http://www.overclockers.com/forums/showthread.php/769353-Celeron-G1820-and-i3-2105

Finding a low cost mobo to match this might be tricky but I did find a decent priced asrock, model H61M-VG4. Call it 50 bucks. I'm just worried if I'm in for quality problems with this board.

http://www.amazon.com/ASRock-Motherboard-Micro-DDR3-Intel/dp/B00DGDINA2/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1454560449&sr=8-7&keywords=lga+1155+motherboard

So combined the pair would only set my budget back about 80 bucks.
 

funsoul

Senior Member
Joined
May 3, 2004
Location
NJ, USA
Some stray thoughts that might be useful below. I use my home server for everything you're looking to do plus. Since our family is a windows family, I'm a huge WHS fanboy. On the hardware side of things...a server doesn't take a lot of oomph so would go with a cheap dual or quad core but make sure to load it up with ram (if multiple people are going to be hitting it at the same time). 16GB of whatever cheap ram is fine. The whs build in my sig is still running strong after 5+ years (maybe 7 or 8?..I don't even remember anymore) and can't even remember the last time I even needed to touch it. You'll run it headless (after initial setup, you get rid of the monitor and access the server via remote desktop from any pc on the network).

Also...whatever you do for hardrives...DO NOT USE 'green' drives. Crappy for server stuff, tend to die off like mad and are generally useless for this kind of stuff. Go with 2-3 big (2TB are good) drives to start with so you can do full redundancy.

I went with windows home server for the o/s since it's super easy, integrates with other windows devices really nicely, backs up all connected machines every night, etc. Just added in Stablebit Drivepool (I run full redundancy) and mymovies, install whs connector and mymovies on each pc, set up the tv tuners on each device, set up media center (i like the mychannellogos add-in) and done.

If you want live tv, check out tvfool.com to see what channels you should be able to get OTA (over the air), grab a decent antenna (~$40) with the mounting kit and ground spike plus a good run of cable. Then, either run it into an hdhomerun (which connects to your router or network), hdhomerunprime (if you want to be able to stream cable channels) or straight into the htpc (via a videocard or adaptor with the needed connection). If you're running windows on the htpc, set up the hdhomerun tuners then set up windows media center. In addition to other stuff...it'll work like a full dvr, has tv guide, etc, etc.

Let us know any questions, ideas, thoughts, etc...I know a few of us have 'been there, done that' so you won't have to necessarily experience a number of our mistakes hehe
 
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Lochekey

Lochekey

Senior Pink Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2015
Hey, sorry I haven't responded in a few days, I got distracted benching and did not get back to this.

I have been digging through some of my hardware and I have an i3 530 and a DP55WG motherboard lying around that I am thinking about dedicating to this project.

As far as the amount of ram I am not against using 16GB but will I really see any benefit from that much. I was planning on using a 2 x 2gig sticks that I have lying around. If this is gonna be a bottleneck I will invest in more ram.

- - - Updated - - -

I have been researching power supplies this morning and came across this 360w 80gold rated seasonic unit, any thoughts.

http://m.newegg.com/Product/index?itemNumber=N82E16817151117
 

funsoul

Senior Member
Joined
May 3, 2004
Location
NJ, USA
Hiya Lochekey!

That cpu and mobo should be absolutely fine for this build. How many simultaneous users do you imagine hitting the server? Unless it's 4-6, don't think you REALLY need 16GB but 8 (4x2GB) could prove helpful. You don't need any fast, tight, etc sticks....what do you already have laying around over there? 2x2 is fine to start with but let me know...am sure I could throw you some old, slow, loose, non-benching sticks for cheap. 360watt psu is fine as the cpu is a sipper and drives need even less.
 
OP
Lochekey

Lochekey

Senior Pink Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2015
I expect to normally only see 2 users hitting the server at the same time. As for the ram I have some old corsair vengeance sticks I pulled outta a computer I was upgrading. It is a 2x2gb kit rated 1600 c9.

If you have a some ram your willing to sell I would definitely be interested though.

I did just get off the phone with my brother and he has a case he was gonna chuck, a haf xb evo, so I'm gonna grab that to use as my case.

I'm interested in thoughts on a heatsink as well. I can use a stock Intel one but I was kinda thinking of grabbing a hyper 212evo and trying to run it fanless.
 

wagex

Chapstick Eating Premium Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2011
i recently downgraded my home server to an i3-2120 with 8gb of ram from dual 6 core opterons and 32gb of ram to save power runs great i run 3 vm's and have horsepower to spare os is on a 250gb 850 evo and storage is 3x2tb hitachi drives in r5 on a 6950se controller with bbu
its main duty's are streaming files over network and network file storage, one vm runs a couple iis web servers, one handles downloads of tv shows and movies via sonarr and couch potato, and the third runs my game servers.
 
OP
Lochekey

Lochekey

Senior Pink Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2015
Hey guys trying to button up my purchases for the last few pieces for this build.

I am currently debating what to use for the OS drive.

Wagex, I see that you mentioned using an Ssd. Do you see a performance gain from this or was it used from a reliability stand point.

I was looking at 120-250 GB Samsung's but for about the same price I can pick up a 1-2 tb WD red drive.

I an thinking of keeping the OS on a drive that won't be accessed a lot by my families usage so I don't really need a 1tb+ drive for the OS. If I do go with a 1tb+ hdd vs a SSD I would probably use the extra space for non important files that will rarely be accessed.



So after my long winded rambling I guess my question boils down to,

Should I have a dedicated drive for the server OS, and if so should I go with a 120-240GB ssd or 1-2tb add.
 

Janus67

Benching Team Leader
Joined
May 29, 2005
Dedicated drive absolutely, ssd is excellent for that for very quick boots etc.
 
OP
Lochekey

Lochekey

Senior Pink Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2015
Dedicated drive absolutely, ssd is excellent for that for very quick boots etc.

Ok so I will plan on a dedicated drive. As for the Ssd I hope to not be restarting the server much so boot time will not matter really. If it will affect how responsive the server is in general though I'm all for it.
 

wagex

Chapstick Eating Premium Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2011
Hey guys trying to button up my purchases for the last few pieces for this build.

I am currently debating what to use for the OS drive.

Wagex, I see that you mentioned using an Ssd. Do you see a performance gain from this or was it used from a reliability stand point.

I was looking at 120-250 GB Samsung's but for about the same price I can pick up a 1-2 tb WD red drive.

I an thinking of keeping the OS on a drive that won't be accessed a lot by my families usage so I don't really need a 1tb+ drive for the OS. If I do go with a 1tb+ hdd vs a SSD I would probably use the extra space for non important files that will rarely be accessed.



So after my long winded rambling I guess my question boils down to,

Should I have a dedicated drive for the server OS, and if so should I go with a 120-240GB ssd or 1-2tb add.

i run several vm's on mine and it greatly improves their performance over a mech drive, and it greatly improves boot times since booting the host OS +3-4 vm's takes alot of i/o.

the only disk that anyone on the network has access to is my raid 5 disk literally all it has is shared folders for the network.
 

morshed

New Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2016
Let me start by saying that I am completely new to setting up a server so please go easy on me. I have been doing a bunch of reading to get more comfortable with getting this going but am not yet ready to try it on my own. If you have any suggested reading let me know as I am looking to learn.

So to the meat and potatoes. I am looking to use the server for three main purposes.
I would like to use it as a central storage for pictures and other important documents and have some sort of redundancy for data retention of these items.
Secondly, I would like to be able to load my movie collection on here for streaming to my different devices, mainly an Xbox 360.

Third I would like to have a drive dedicated to backup images of my different benching OS's.

Hey
It looks like a nearly standart purpose home server
You can take a look to the FreeNAS server. It have most of the functions you need to I believe.
If you didn't familiar with Linux it can be the easiest way.

You also can install Linux, configure RAID and install Plex, Samba, etc. yourself but it can be a challenge of course.
 
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