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NAS or build a desktop for media server

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sdifox

No Lifer
Sep 30, 2005
83,242
8,575
126
I am running server 2012 r2 datacenter on my PE R710 in the sig. Plex is sitting in a vm as well as pfSense and about 15 dev vms. content is sitting on a bunch of external hdds.
 

simas

Senior member
Oct 16, 2005
335
54
91
well. I wen through that journey as well - started with "I want a server that does everything" too, built Windows 2012 Essentials DC , set up DLNA (using PMS -> UMS ), set up virtualization, cloud backup etc. argued with people about how limited NAS is and how stupid pricing is once you get out of the basic solutions . after a while, what you realize is that one server is that one basket with all eggs, should anything go wrong (bad host OS path, hardware problem, or anything at all) and you are f$cked since you put everything into the same area. also you have a hog in terms of resource and power consumption when sometimes all you want is a small subset of functionality , why keep a supermicro double Xeon, loads of RAM, redundant PSU, monster powered up if I want something 8W device could do for me?

do I still run a server ? yes, I have split the domain controller functions from virtualization lab+playground, moved domain controller to a Qotom device of just enough hardware and power up virtualization beast when I want to lab something or test out RC for various (primarily Microsoft) software. use to also run pfsense for years, went Mikrotik and similarly not looking back. fixed function devices have a very strong value offering if used correctly. Same with NAS, in their niche space - they are awesome. people complaining about them is like people complaining about hammer being bad screwdriver, well it is not intended to used that way - if you want a screwdriver , get a screwdriver. if you want something to expose/server data on your network , get a NAS. By the way, Shield TV now hosts Plex Server (not only client) so that little box could be your transcode for anything/everything. I agree on not wanting to run such things on the NAS.
 
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Kartajan

Golden Member
Feb 26, 2001
1,264
38
91
...if you want a screwdriver , get a screwdriver...
Precisely. I could have Docker containers of everything under the sun running on some Uber- Server, but then all that gets interrupted by (insert annoying event like Windows Update here). I really like the setup that I built for it's ease of maintenance, and segmentation of key functionality. Not to mention that commercial NAS devices tend to be really good at being a storage appliance.

(I have 2 Plex servers running- one is my IQ-01, and the other is one of my Shields; but both are using the same NAS for the raw data storage)
 

sdifox

No Lifer
Sep 30, 2005
83,242
8,575
126
I am not too worried about single point of failure at home. So what if the whole server goes down? I just move the two Ethernet cables for pfsense to a router and voila internet is back. VMs will be down til the server comes back but that is to be expected. Only thing that matters is the data and backup is what is going to save you.
 

Kartajan

Golden Member
Feb 26, 2001
1,264
38
91
The Rule of Three
3
Backup copies of anything you want to keep.
2 different storage media.
1 offsite storage site.
 

DeadlyDays

Junior Member
Nov 18, 2016
1
0
1
I had your issue. My decision was a FreeNAS server, I got a i3-6100(which is cheap, very good single core speed(which freenas loves), and supports ECC ram(which you HAVE to have to run FreeNAS)), 32GB of ECC RAM(8GB is minimum), and a supermicro mobo(you pretty much need to have Intel NIC for things to work right). Threw that all on a UPS for maximum reliability.
I was at 126 days uptime 3 days ago when I had to restart it(Version 9.10 FreeNAS). I use it as both as file storage/distribution for a 10TB Space(lots of 3TB red pro drives), and a torrent box via transmission Plugin for FreeNAS.

The interface for FreeNAS at 9.10 is not very nice, but FreeNAS 10 looks very lovely. If you use freenas, understand you are going to be using it as a headless NAS server and pretty much nothing else. You can throw a lot of media/downloading features onto it but not much else. But for that you get EXCELLENT performance, and excellent data coherence(the file system is basically built around preventing data degradation). I max out the hardware read speeds of the "raid" array on data transfers, if I had faster drives I'd get better transfer rates. pretty much the best, and most expensive/setup intensive way to get NAS. I have also run the PLEX plugin with success, was looking at switching that with a different media distribution package though for ondemand transcoding.

Depends how serious you want file storage to be. You could plausibly attach an external enclosure to your router if your router supports file distribution(mine all do). Or throw old parts together and run Ubuntu server/client and setup SMB shares. You might not get the consistent data speeds on either or the reliability(uptime).

I bought a shield for a client for my projector, but roku's, tablets, windows pc's all access the shares no problem. Getting the permission structure setup exactly how I wanted was the hardest part tbh(and getting transmission setup to download to the folders I wanted)
 

MaxDepth

Diamond Member
Jun 12, 2001
8,758
43
91
With Mezzmo, do you have to pay for codecs? I know with the Pi they sell them separately on their home site.
 

MaxDepth

Diamond Member
Jun 12, 2001
8,758
43
91

smitbret

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2006
3,388
23
81
With Mezzmo, do you have to pay for codecs? I know with the Pi they sell them separately on their home site.
Mezzmo is like Plex. It runs on the server side, organizes and maintains the library and then serves the media up to your playback devices via DLNA, web browser or plugin. It transcodes incompatible media files (the codec stuff) automatically so that if you end up trying to playback a media file on a device that doesn't support the codec it was encoded with, Mezzmo transcodes it on the fly to something that will work.

The Pi works on the other end of the system as the playback device. Mezzmo would send the file to the Pi as an MPEG-4 file that the Pi supports by default. I like to avoid transcoding where possible, though, so it was worth it to spend the $4 for the VC-1 and MPEG-2 codecs on my Pis that run Kodi.
 

adamantine.me

Member
Oct 30, 2015
152
4
36
www.adamantine.me
Build a NAS and run NAS4Free or FreeNAS. You don't need an SSD or aftermarket cooler, you can install the OS onto a USB drive that has 8GB or more (it does this in such a way to minimize read/writes so your USB). Setup Plex inside a jail and never have a headache again. This is how I did it, and I made a few posts about the whole process if anyone is interested.
 

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