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Best way to store/play heaps of media?

Coldkilla

Diamond Member
Oct 7, 2004
3,945
0
71
I have hundreds of uncompressed movies backed up, and ton's of recorded DVR content that I don't want to throw away just yet. All of these files take up more than 3TB of data, spanning across 4 hard drives. I have an additional 3 storage drives for backups, just in case the main drives fail.

In the future, I would like to somehow streamline the process and allow for additional hard drives. I have two internals and two externals, and its just getting hard plugging and unplugging 5 external hard drives constantly for backups, adding new external drives, and so on. Is there a way I can make this process smoother?

On another note, one major thing I've noticed is that the external drives are essentially in "sleep mode" every time I initially try to a play a file from one of those drives in XBMC. Usually the first file I attempt to play fails to start because the drive isn't warmed up yet. Is there a way to have the drives so that doesn't happen? Are there drawbacks? (Lifetime of the drive, etc)?
 

Zxian

Senior member
May 26, 2011
579
0
0
It's a little bit pricy of an investment, but a Drobo FS would give you a fairly simple, expandable storage solution for your primary storage. It also has the convenience of being network attached storage. For your file streaming needs, it should be able to provide sufficient performance for XBMC (I run my XBMC at home off my server).

As for the external backups, I'd suggest getting some quality USB3.0 enclosures and a USB3.0 hub.
 

Binky

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
4,046
4
81
You can buy a NAS, or build a storage server. A server can use many flavors of NAS software (e.g. freenas), full linux, or WHS. This can be built with just about any slow hardware you have laying around, or you can buy something small(er) and less power hungry like the HP N40L, which I own and love. The N40L can hold 4 storage drives with up to 16TB total space. Even with full sized backups of every file, you'd still have 8TB of usable space - most likely a lot more - that's worst case using simplistic data duplication.

So many options. There are decent discussions of media servers over on the AVS forums including discussions of the pros and cons of various OS choices. I went with WHS2011 because of the familiar interface, plus its a full windows system that allows the use of many other software packages that you might not even think you need right now (sickbeard, sabnzbd, etc).
 
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velillen

Platinum Member
Jul 12, 2006
2,120
1
81
I use an Unraid server for my media/backups. Depending on which license you get you can have up to 20 drives. I currently have 1 Parity drive, 1 Cache drive (so files arent immediately written to the array but rather during the night...helpful if you watch realize you messed up a rip and need to delete it), plus various sized drives. Thats one of the nice things is you can use whatever sized drives you want and mix and match. only requirement is the parity has to be as big or bigger than the largest data drive. It is also linux based so there are tons of addons, sickbeard, sabnzbd, couchpotaote, ect. Though they might be a bit harder to setup if your used ot windows style setups (it was hard for me)

Hardware wise (outside of the discs + license fee for unraid) id say it was around 250 bucks for mine. Like 40 for the cpu, 70ish for mobo, 80 for the case, 40 for psu, and like 10 bucks for ram. Could be done for less for sure (case for sure....mobo also). Im not including the probably 50 bucks i spent on super quiet fans either lol since thats personal choice.

But definitely look around at places like AVS...theres tons of options from prebuilt to doing it yourself
 

Dirigible

Diamond Member
Apr 26, 2006
5,950
7
81
I've got unraid as well. Like the poster above, parity drive, cache drive, then enough data drives for 12 tb currently.

Had an old computer with amd 5050e CPU I wasn't using, turned that into my unraid machine. Slow cheap hdd provide the storage. Works great for serving up my media.

Looked into freenas but unraid seemed a lot easier. I'm a lawyer, not a computer guy, so easy was a key consideration and worth the license cost to me.
 

flocko

Junior Member
Aug 30, 2012
18
0
0
I gotta vote WHS 2011 and Flex Raid

I use a 5 - 2tb set up (data) with a 320 gig hdd for the os and a single 3 tb hdd for the parity drive .

Flex in conjunction with WHS 2011 is so feature rich and easy to use and as far as servers are concerned , easy to set up as well .

1) Flex will allow the use of green ( cheaper) drives with out un needed ware. You can use drives of different sizes to .
2) You can add drives to the pool that already have data on them with out loss
3) Single drive spin up. Flex only uses the drive that the data is requested from. All other drives remain idle. Flex stores the data sequentially

This is just a small amount of the advantages .

As Binky stated , there is a ton of info over at AVS and Assassin has a nice guide on this combination that is amazing as well as the forum help he has devoted to all of us .

You should really check it out
 
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Ryan_M

Junior Member
Sep 8, 2012
7
0
0
I built a comp as a server to feed the rest of the house - two HTPC's and a comp in the garage. I use old hardware (as has been mentioned), some old C2D setup and have 16TB on it. It runs some old copy of XP. Works like a champ. I guess anything beyond that is gravy but I haven't noticed anything that needs fixing.
 

wdb1966

Diamond Member
Jul 2, 2001
5,381
2
81
WHS is nice, as long as you're using Windows products.

Mixing different client OS's can get dicey though, it doesn't play well with some Mac OSX configurations, whereas FreeNAS does but takes a bit effort to get familiar with it at first.

Can't comment on unRAID, never tried it.
 

lotus503

Diamond Member
Feb 12, 2005
6,502
1
76
I have hundreds of uncompressed movies backed up, and ton's of recorded DVR content that I don't want to throw away just yet. All of these files take up more than 3TB of data, spanning across 4 hard drives. I have an additional 3 storage drives for backups, just in case the main drives fail.

In the future, I would like to somehow streamline the process and allow for additional hard drives. I have two internals and two externals, and its just getting hard plugging and unplugging 5 external hard drives constantly for backups, adding new external drives, and so on. Is there a way I can make this process smoother?

On another note, one major thing I've noticed is that the external drives are essentially in "sleep mode" every time I initially try to a play a file from one of those drives in XBMC. Usually the first file I attempt to play fails to start because the drive isn't warmed up yet. Is there a way to have the drives so that doesn't happen? Are there drawbacks? (Lifetime of the drive, etc)?
for a long time I used a bunch of SansDigital Esata Boxes in jbod with flexraid. then I switched to what you see in my sig.
 

HydroSqueegee

Golden Member
Oct 27, 2005
1,709
2
71
i use WHS 2011 with stablebit drive pool. works great for me. even had the OS drive go out and the pool with all the data was intact after the fresh load on a new drive.
streams all my movies and shows just fine to my htpc.
 

thestrangebrew1

Diamond Member
Dec 7, 2011
3,010
166
106
Not to derail the OP post, but I've got 3 1tb samsung hdds on my whs11 box and they're not in a pool, just seperate drives. I've currently got content on 2 of the drives at this time but I'm considering either FlexRaid or Stablebit to pool my drives. Do I need to do anything prior to installing the pool software with my files? Also, I use Plex MS for streaming, and I have to point Plex to whatever folders I stream from. How does this affect the paths? It's not a big deal, just wondering if I'll have to remap them.
 

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