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BPInside

34 posts

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#147426 18-Jun-2014 21:34
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New to the forums, so please be gentle!

I'm putting together a home server and was wondering what everyone's opinions were on operating systems for a home server.  I was thinking of just using Windows 7, but unsure of the benefits / disadvantages of other OS.

Specs if they matter 
I3 processor
8GB ram
12TB in Raid6

The server will be used as a file server / media server / anything else it needs to be but not as a desktop.

 

Thanks

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Gozer
168 posts

Master Geek


  #1068902 18-Jun-2014 21:49
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Welcome to the forums,

The biggest consideration from what you have listed is the media server part, how your streaming, what software you might be using to stream / transcode.

Ultimately this is a good candidate for a *nix OS but if your not used to using any of the flavours then this may not be the best test bed to learn on.

Inphinity
2575 posts

Uber Geek


  #1068904 18-Jun-2014 21:54
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I would run Plex for the media server, on CentOS or similar, but if you want a Windows GUI, well, Win8.1 probably

 
 
 
 


BPInside

34 posts

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  #1068905 18-Jun-2014 21:55
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Thanks for the reply, I will be using XBMC with some rogue rasberry Pi's on the TV's, so not much transcoding is taking place, will have SQL server or similar running to provide information to these units.

 

Will also use this machine for backups of the desktops and possibly cloud backups from my other devices...

BPInside

34 posts

Geek


  #1068907 18-Jun-2014 21:57
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I would like to stick with some form of windows as thats what I'm used to, not to say its the best... Do you rate Plex over XBMC? I haven't really used Windows 8.1 yet, would that be better than 7 for this purpose?

BPInside

34 posts

Geek


  #1068908 18-Jun-2014 21:57
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Will have a look into this CentOS


driller2000
805 posts

Ultimate Geek


  #1068909 18-Jun-2014 22:00
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gidday,

i went with unraid for my media server (nas)

it is not a true raid setup (no sh&t!)  but does provide a degree of data loss protection through the use of a parity drive

but for non critical data e.g. media it meets my requirements - it does however provide maximum usable storage ie. I currently have 27 TB total capacity - with 24TB available for storage

you could test it for free if you had a spare rig lying around  (see link below)

22 months on and it is going great - no issues:

 

  • stable
  • no data loss incl from power cuts resulting in dirty shutdowns (have since put in on an apc ups which has been brilliant too)
  • easy to manage
  • have progressively added more drives when required - which was as painless as - shut down/cable up the new hdd/power on/add drive to array/done
  • it spins down drives when not in use and
  • is fast enough to serve 3 xmbc clients 1080p the same 30G rip at the same time over cat 5 wired network

VERY happy


there are other options too e.g. freenas etc


have fun and good luck with your decision


http://lime-technology.com/



ps: just saw some other comments

 

     

  1. i also use xbmc clients which unraid plays with very nicely by virtue of the use of "shares" in unraid
  2. have also installed plex on it as a test - but I personally preferred the look / feel / functionality / customisation of xbmc
  3. for back ups i use syncback free to run scheduled back ups to it from the main desktop (usually daily)

 



 

 

BPInside

34 posts

Geek


  #1068912 18-Jun-2014 22:06
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Cheers yeah I had looked into FreeNas but it seemed to be more orientated to being solely used as a file server for which I was after slightly more functionality.

Interesting that you only have one parity disk with that much space but shows you that its working as intended!

I think I got a bit stuck looking into hardware raid solutions and ended up with a fairly good hardware raid controller.. which im hoping doesn't bite me in the butt later on, there is quite a bit of debate on various forums regarding using raid for home use... I don't want to lose my data but I would't shoot myself if I did.

 

I do have a UPS as well, they are pretty cheap these days good protection really.

 
 
 
 


Gozer
168 posts

Master Geek


  #1068915 18-Jun-2014 22:09
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Despite all the moaning about windows 8 and its UI it is unquestionably a better operating system than windows 7, and 8.1 is even better.
If your using XMBC then it plays very nicely with Ubuntu and there is a lot of support and tutorial for both.
I found plex to be a much easier system to work with than XBMC, more polished and user friendly.

BPInside

34 posts

Geek


  #1068919 18-Jun-2014 22:27
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I prefer the look and feel of XBMC as well but its prob because I have customized it so much that it works as needed... more of a one stop shop.

billgates
4228 posts

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  #1068947 18-Jun-2014 23:44
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If you have access to DreamSpark or MSDN or you can afford to buy Windows Server 2012 Essentials R2 then its the best home server OS in the market. It does automatic backups of local machines and restores including bare metal. You access your machines or media remotely and includes super easy setup of VPN access. It's designed for media sharing, remote access, VPN, backup's. I run this OS inside a VM.

Its not cheap though to purchase. Otherwise use Windows 8.1 and load Plex on it.




Do whatever you want to do man.

  

davidcole
4947 posts

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  #1068987 19-Jun-2014 07:40
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I use windows 7 as a "server" with plex and vmware workstation.  Drives are not raided, but use drivebender to create a 12TB pool that is duplicated.  Backups are done via crashplan (single computer), machines use crashplan to the server for data backups and a Windows home server vm for the other windows machines image backups.  

I think I could probably do very similar with windows server 2012, but I'm comfortable with windows 7.  I tend to try and not use it as my desktop os (have another VM for that), and it's headless.




Previously known as psycik

OpenHAB: Gigabyte AMD A8 BrixOpenHAB with Aeotech ZWave Controller, Raspberry PI, Wemos D1 Mini, Zwave, Xiaomi Humidity and Temperature sensors and Bluetooth LE Sensors
Media:Chromecast v2, ATV4, Roku3, HDHomeRun Dual
Windows 10
Host (Plex Server/Crashplan): 2x2TB, 2x3TB, 1x4TB using DriveBender, Samsung 850 evo 512 GB SSD, Hyper-V Server with 1xW10, 1xW2k8, 2xUbuntu 16.04 LTS, Crashplan, NextPVR channel for Plex,NextPVR Metadata Agent and Scanner for Plex


timmmay
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  #1068988 19-Jun-2014 07:42
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I have a R Pi for my media server. I run RabspMC, it connects to shares on my windows machine. I also run MySQL which stores the library. It works well.

I'd probably agree with Gozer, Windows 8.1, as that gives you the most compatibility and flexibility. You can use storage spaces in windows 8.1 and such to do software RAID, and online backup services all have well tested windows clients. Have a read of this thread about the software RAID type stuff.

geekiegeek
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  #1069006 19-Jun-2014 08:06
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I use server 2012 with 6TB RAID 5 for storage. Its a pretty grunty box with an i7 and 32GB RAM plus an SSD for the OS partition.

As I use an ultrabook for my main device I offload any processor intensive workloads to the server, media transcoding and stuff like that. I also use Hyper-v to run a couple of VMs, one with internet connection sharing and a VPN acting as a gateway for my apple TV to access the US whilst the other is used for linux iso downloads.

I like the flexibility of being able to run whatever software I like on the server and having the ability to run up VMs for trying out stuff for work is also a bonus for me. It means I'm making the most of the hardware instead of it just sitting there and streaming content to my Media Portal set-up.




Delete Social Media

 


My thoughts are my own and are in no way representative of my employer.


BPInside

34 posts

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  #1069008 19-Jun-2014 08:17
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Thanks for the responses, its good to hear what other peopel are doing.  I had thought about Windows Server 2012 as its designed for that purpose.

billgates
4228 posts

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  #1069025 19-Jun-2014 09:13
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Even if you can get hold of Windows Server 2012 R2, you can now add the essentials roles to it which makes it behave exactly like Windows Server 2012 Essentials R2. Only bit of difference is EULA and licensing. You can run Hyper-V on Server 2012 R2 install and have as many VM's as you want inside it but on Server 2012 Essentials R2, as per the EULA you cannot install any VM's on Hyper-V. Server 2012 Essentials R2 also comes with 25 User CAL's.




Do whatever you want to do man.

  

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