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188 posts

Master Geek

#119349 29-May-2013 08:59
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I am looking for some advice from anyone who has had experience setting up a media file server (a place to store my videos etc) 

I currently have a stock standard PC, running software raid with two 3TB and two 2TB drives, Total of 5TB of RAID 1 storage.

I run XBMC as my main HTPC, this is installed on a 120GB SSD in the PC mentioned above so all my media is stored locally on the XBMC machine.

I am wanting to create a file/media server with redundancy storage.

I have heard that unRaid is really good but yesterday I read that it is not yet capable of 3TB and 4TB drives, seen I have 3TB drives I need a solution that will work with them.

I have also seen software called FlexRaid, and that runs on an OS such as Linux or windows... I have no idea about the performance or reliability of FlexRaid.

Could someone suggest any solutions for me? 

I havent got a big budget. I will most likely use old hardware,
CPU = Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Quad CPU    Q9550  @ 2.83GHz

Any suggestions or tips would be great...

Should I be buying new hardware, i.e. new Motherboard and CPU?

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1556 posts

Uber Geek

  #827533 29-May-2013 09:11
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I have just been through all that and finally went with Windows Home Server 2011.   You cant add 3TB drives through the Dashboard and keep the 3TB. It will format them into 2TB and 1TB partitions.  However works fine doing it through computer management. WHS 2011 will not backup that though as the limit is 2TB.  for backup, I have them on an external hard drive.
  After trying readynas rn104 and having heaps of frustration I myself prefer the WHS 2011. Works flawless for me (so far)

Edit to say I have Raid 1 on the Home server

HTPC Intel Pentium G3258 cpu, Gigabyte H97n-wifi motherboard, , 8GB DDR3 ram, onboard  graphics. Hauppuage HVR 5500 tuner,  Silverstone LC16M case, Windows 10 pro 64 bit using Nextpvr and Kodi


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641 posts

Ultimate Geek

ID Verified

  #827543 29-May-2013 09:26
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I use unraid, and have just upgraded my 3 x 1TB to 3 x 2tb (still on the free license)
Once I buy the licence (69 us), I'll put the 3 x 1TB back in, giving me 7tb total.

I run Plex server on the linux box, and everything seems to work well.  ( an offical plex version is available as a plugin for unraid)

I don't transcode for the ipad too much (my android tab just plays directly) so get away with a weaker processor.
I have a celeron 3ghz with 1.5gb ram, and the OS runs of a usb stick, meaning you don't lose a sata port.

on the wiki, it says that version 5 (which is in RC, and what I run) supports >3tb, as long as your drive controller supports drives >2.2tb


188 posts

Master Geek

  #827556 29-May-2013 09:55
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Ok, thanks for the quick replies...

I was under the impression that I should be trying to use NFS Shares with XBMC..... or does it not matter anymore? Suppose to be faster etc....?

5818 posts

Uber Geek


  #827559 29-May-2013 09:57
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I started with WHS 2011 using drivebender to consolidate 5 drives into one 9 TB chunk. With certain folders duplicated.

Later on I moved to W7 with drivebender, but that was because I added 32gb ram to my machine to use it as a vm host.

Previously known as psycik

OpenHAB: Gigabyte AMD A8 BrixOpenHAB with Aeotech ZWave Controller, Raspberry PI, Wemos D1 Mini, Zwave, Xiaomi Humidity and Temperature sensors
Media:Chromecast v2, ATV4 4k, ATV4, HDHomeRun Dual
Windows 10
Host Plex Server 3x3TB, 4x4TB using DriveBender, Samsung 850 evo 512 GB SSD, Hyper-V Server with 1xW10, 2xUbuntu 20.04 LTS, Backblaze Backups,

1332 posts

Uber Geek
Inactive user

  #827585 29-May-2013 10:58
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RAID1 is not ideal for media redundancy. You halve the available space for no real reason.

unRAID offers parity solutions meaning any drive can fail (you can configure unRAID to e-mail you if this occurs) and no data will be lost if you swap in a new drive. A popular option is keeping a 'hot swap' in the box in the (unlikely) case that a drive ever fails.

If you're really paranoid about data security I would recommend using FreeNAS. This solution offers the ZFS file system which is probably the best available today. It offers basic file system level encryption and optionally the ability for multiple disks to simultaneously fail safely. Probably its best feature, however, is that it has been built from the ground up to ensure data integrity.

FreeNAS also has a bunch of plugins you can check out for the media libraries and so forth.

932 posts

Ultimate Geek

  #827906 29-May-2013 18:05
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EDIT - Reuse of old HW is one of unRAID's strengths I reckon - suggest you try the free unRAID license with your current spare hw and whatever hdd's you have lying around spare and see what you think

If you like it it is pretty easy to upgrade the license and swap whatever data drives in and out that you want to (as long as you follow the guides etc)

cheers and have fun :)


have been running my Unraid server for 10 months now and it has not missed a beat.

I created a post at the time which may be of use:

Started with 6 x HDD's off the MB

Added 2 more HDD's using this:

So now running 8 x 3TB Drives = 21TB of Storage + 3TB Parity (Case has 9 x 3.5 slots)

Next stage will be to use 3 x SATA cards to add 5(6) more HDD's - incl 4 via a 4into3 cage in the 3x5.25 slots - which should keep me going for a while : )

Used primarily as a media server for important but not irreplaceable files (media mainly) - as I realise it's not a true backup

Connected via 8 port giga switch to various clients around the house and it is excellent

Quiet, quick enough for full bluray rips to be streamed at the same time to multiple xbmc clients (cabled cat5), spins HDD's down when not in use, minor delay on spin-up - so no drama, easily expandable storage, easy to UG software.

Yeah could not be happier : )

So +1 for Unraid.

Would happily get a second one when this case runs out of space.

2841 posts

Uber Geek

  #827939 29-May-2013 19:04
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I'm also looking at something similar, to store and serve media files. Probably 6 months away from actually doing anything about it - at the scoping stage now. My criteria are:
- cost
- efficient use of drives
- loads of storage space, far more than I conceivably need now, to allow for the future
- simple to use, low maintenance etc.

At the moment I have settled on a NAS solution which incorporates a DLNA server etc as probably the best and least hassle. Two model NASes are on my shortlist: the QNAP TS-412 (4-bay) and, if I can justify/afford the expense, the Thecus N7700 pro. Allowing one drive for parity and fitting 3TB drives which seem to be the price/capacity sweet spot, they respectively give 9TB and 18TB usable. I have about 5TB of files (films, music and video) now, so that should be plenty.

In your case, you could do this and re-use your drives, provided they aren't Green drives which hardware RAID solutions don't really like. Mixing capacities isn't terrific for efficiency, but doing this with your 2x3TB and 2x2TB in RAID5 would give you 7TB of storage, compared to 5 in current configuration. Striping rather than mirroring should also speed things up.

Personally, I'm planning on going with the WD Red drives.

3643 posts

Uber Geek


  #827947 29-May-2013 19:21
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Greyhole for storage pooling running on Amahi\Ubuntu has been running well for me for a while now. Takes a little bit of reading but overall pretty easy.

I've successfully moved my greyhole array from an old computer to a new one, gone through a couple of Amahi upgrades (including changing from the fedora core version to Ubuntu) and added\swapped a number of drives.

I originally looked at just going the NAS route, but pretty happy with more of the home server approach.

"I was born not knowing and have had only a little time to change that here and there."         | Electric Kiwi | Sharesies
              - Richard Feynman

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