Windows - XBMC N00b NAS Build

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tonka28 Offline
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Rainbow  XBMC N00b NAS Build
Post: #1
Hi XBMC Forum,

I'm starting this thread because I want to build a NAS and connect it to a Jailbroken Apple TV 2 (or wait for the jailbreak for ATV 3) then onto my HDTV through HDMI and then to my amplifier through Optical Audio.

The Issues;
I've been struggling with the OS for the NAS (which I'm upgrading an old PC to do the job). I've seen a lot of documentation regarding FreeNas, Ubuntu Server and unRAID. The issue is that on my desktop (Ubuntu 11.10) running Oracle VirtualBox, I've been finding it REALLY difficult to load FreeNas to a point where it obtains an IP address for it's webGUI, I've run the box with the network adaptor as NAT, Bridged etc. but still with no luck. I don't really want to screw around with Ubuntu Server either as the only reason I'm on Ubuntu Desktop at the moment is because I had a lovers tiff with Windows 7 after it told me it wasn't activated for the 40th time.

I've not yet been able to sit down with enough time to sort through unRAID to make it work either.

The Question;
As I'm a Windows Systems Engineer by day, I know Windows Server 2008 R2 extremely well, however, my only hurdle is not having an ATV2 with XBMC to test the file sharing aspect via SMB i.e. will XBMC be able to access shares hosted by a Kerberos hungry Windows Server 2008 R2 box. If anyone's had experience with this before and can tell me if using Windows Server 2008 R2 as the OS for the NAS device works well - I'll be a happy boy.

**I also want to be able to RDP to the NAS to monitor and run a torrent (utorrent) client straight from the box - thus the need for a supported OS with GUI.

Further Questions;
Attached is a very (mspaint rough) diagram of what I want my network to look like when I'm done; my question is, has anyone used the 'power line networking' system offered by D-Link? You know the one, that turns AC/DC power lines in your home into a hidden CAT-5 network. If you have, is it going to be better than my diagram with wireless?

Any help/advice you fine people can give me would be super appreciated.

**I'll be running either the Apple TV remote or a dedicated XBMC remote from my iPad/iPod for all the devices (if it works seamlessly, there will be a total of 4 TV's with ATV units in the network).

Cheers!

[Image: networkmapi.png]

NOTE: The switch is 1000Mbps and the wireless is 300Mbps (theoretical) with bridge mode enabled and DHCP DISABLED. All *internal* IP addresses are static
(This post was last modified: 2012-04-24 04:24 by tonka28.)
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tonka28 Offline
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Post: #2
25th April 2012 - To make things even more complicated, my lovely lady wife has just brought home an Xbox 4GB. Meaning that I can't be running XBMC on every device. Of course, being a freakishly good gamer that she is, she wants the Xbox in the theatre room (130" screen). Adding to the confusion, I don't know if I can set an Xbox a static IP, not to mention that it'll only run Windows Media Centre, greatly reducing my ability to watch .mkv, .dvi etc. files. Any hints?

26th April 2012 AM - Please see below updated real time network map including the new Xbox.

[Image: networkmap.png]

26th April 2012 PM - Just looking on youtube and google about getting LXDE installed on my Mint (Lisa) NAS server, seems pretty easy - going to boot up my NAS box a little later to see what the go is with that. As I've said in this thread before, it's an old box and I'm not sure what specs the machine has.

27th April 2012 - Okay, due to all the stuffing around that I've had to do for my own computer %tonka% and this video; Demo of Home XBMC installation I've decided that I'm going to run a Windows 7 Professional install on a 16GB USB Flash Disk on my 'NAS' for the time being. I want to get this G*d damn thing running!

30th April 2012 - Decided that after receiving prompt, genuinely helpful information from various users in this forum, when all is said and done, everything is up and running 100% I'll write an in-depth Tutorial walk-through on what I've done, systems I've chosen to use, hardware I've purchased and configurations that I've used. Hopefully, I'll be able to fill in the blanks for the next poor mug that wants to build a NAS, connect an Apple TV to XBMC and watch through-out their home via 802.11n and save them some time and headaches.

3rd May 2012 - It's been a long, long process, but now I can tell you that I'm up and running with proper network shares and everything! In the end, I decided to run OpenMediaVault (OMV) on the NAS, it's a great choice! I'll be working on the build guide now, taking you from buying the hardware for the NAS, putting the NAS together, M/B and RAM install 'n' all, all the way to watching a movie through XBMC in your jailbroken iPad 3 (I know that the jailbreak isn't available yet, but I'm assuming after I've finished writing it, it will be!) Again, I want to thank you all for your help and advice. Let me give this back as a way to say thanks.
(This post was last modified: 2012-05-03 01:20 by tonka28.)
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NeS_BCN Offline
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Brick  RE: XBMC N00b NAS Build
Post: #3
N00b in your case is certainly over-exaggerated ;-)

I didn't exactly find out what the question is, I guess you want advice on your setup.

I will comment on the OS for the NAS and other aspects of the network.

1. FreeNAS is limited by the fact that it doesn't have a GUI (only webui). Also it is very limited on everything except for NAS duties, and it is slow as hell on virtualbox. Unraid I can't comment because I don't have experience with it, however i can guess it's also very focused on NAS functionalities only, similar to FreeNAS.
I think that Ubuntu Server (or even plain Ubuntu) is more suited for your needs, both present and future. If you install LXDE desktop environment (or Lubuntu) you will have a lightweight GUI which can run all sorts of applications without being a burden. I would recommend looking into Greyhole as a SMB-Storage utility combo, it acts as drive extender in WHS and is built around Samba, giving you user- specified redundancy per share, with none of the problems associated with RAID. XBMC will have no trouble accessing the files.
This server can also be used as central database server and all other sorts of cool server stuff.
(btw Deluge is so much much better than utorrent)

2. Network: in my experience nothing comes even close to a good ethernet cable when you want to watch HD videos without any hassle. Wifi will eventually drop (if it's even able to maintain the throughput necessary for 720p and 1080p) and PLC boxes will eventually need to be reset every once in a while.

This is a rough summary, if you want to expand on some of the topics I'll be happy to oblige ;-)
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jackh Offline
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Post: #4
(2012-04-24 04:04)tonka28 Wrote:  **I also want to be able to RDP to the NAS to monitor and run a torrent (utorrent) client straight from the box - thus the need for a supported OS with GUI.

All in all, your needs look strikingly similar to my setup Big Grin

This is what I have: my home-server/NAS/computing-lifeline is a relatively old machine running Linux Mint LXDE. For the past 4 years it was a Pentium 4 but I just upgraded to a E6550, I'll get to why the upgrade in a minute.

As I said, running LM LXDE, very, very light, uses very little resources. You know Ubuntu and so do I, after years with Xubuntu on the old machine I switched to LXDE and Mint which is based on Ubuntu but I find it a much better and refined product.
The machine is headless (no monitor) so I just ssh and/or VNC into it (using x11vnc, google it, easy install, works awesome). Of course, it holds my big HDD with media, backups, etc.
Then I'm running a bunch of services there: FTP, SSH, Dynamic DNS client, Samba, NFS, Ktorrent (just like utorrent but native Linux, and includes RSS plugin), sabnzbd, couchpotato, sickbeard....and if all of that was not enough, it's the guest for a virtualbox machine with an Asterisk PBX (the VM itself is CentOS on a pre-packaged distro).
Running that Asterisk VM with VirtualBox was the reason for the hardware upgrade, as I needed the CPU to handle virtualization, which the old P4 couldn't.

With all that going on, I'm at less than 5% CPU usage normally... And it's a full desktop too of course!! I can browse, control Ktorrent, anything.

Bottom line, looks like all your required services would fit in my server...Wink
(This post was last modified: 2012-04-24 19:24 by jackh.)
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jackh Offline
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Post: #5
About wireless: Cables are always better than wireless, no matter how much fancy crap the wireless router box said.
In other words: avoid wireless as much as possible. Run cat5 cables through vent ducts, walls, however you can, even invest some money into running cables if you have to, but avoid wireless. In case it's not clear: avoid wireless! Big Grin

I'm a network engineer by day, so please just believe me...
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NeS_BCN Offline
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Post: #6
My setup is also very similar, with all the apps such as ktorrent, couchpotato, x11vnc...

(2012-04-24 19:33)jackh Wrote:  About wireless: Cables are always better than wireless, no matter how much fancy crap the wireless router box said.
In other words: avoid wireless as much as possible.

Truer words have never been spoken (or written, as is the case) Wink

A lot of wisdom has been imparted in this thread...Angel
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jackh Offline
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Post: #7
Thanks NeS !
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xbmcg Offline
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Post: #8
Well - there is not much better than cat5 GBit Ethernet (except fiber channel of course). So stick as much as possible to Cat5e GBit LAN.

FreeNAS is great - but it has to run on dedicated hardware. Specially ZFS rocks - if used wisely. For HTPC however it is overkill, all nice features like snapshots, remote mirroring, RAID6 (raidz2) etc. Fast recovery, high redundancy, great caching options...

Another option for a high-end nas could be to use hardware controllers like rocketRAID (12 x SATA2 or SATA3)... It runs on windows 7 pro very well, very performant (RAID1 config is always best for performance / security, you can mix with striping for higher troughput e.g in RAID10). I have both running for different purposes. You can have up to 12 SATA drives * 3TB = 36 TB of data or up to 18 TB mirrored if you want a serious NAS.

I have also tried open indiana (successor community project of open solaris) with ZFS - so then you've got a GNOME GUI / Time Machine handling of snapshots, a package manager for all stuff available on unix. Well - if you want a headless NAS - it is overkill, but else you will have a reliable server for anything (LAMP, Torent, dns / dhcp / firewall / CIFS - not just SAMBA!, Domain controller, LDAP, Mail Server...). With OI or FreeNAS you need just plain SATA controllers, no hardware RAID, zfs does all necessary calculations by the CPU / RAM. There are setup's with dual-core atoms or Intel Mobile CPUs, that run great - get as much as possible RAM is a good idea for zfs based systems.
(This post was last modified: 2012-04-25 21:00 by xbmcg.)
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tonka28 Offline
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Post: #9
(2012-04-24 19:20)jackh Wrote:  ... This is what I have: my home-server/NAS/computing-lifeline is a relatively old machine running Linux Mint LXDE...

... Then I'm running a bunch of services there: FTP, SSH, Dynamic DNS client, Samba, NFS, Ktorrent, sabnzbd, couchpotato, sickbeard...

... Bottom line, looks like all your required services would fit in my server...Wink...

First of all - I'd like to thank everyone that has posted here; your advice is appreciated like you wouldn't believe.

Now, 'jackh' I'd like to refer to a couple of your statements (above)

- Your NAS box is being run by an Linux Mint OS? This would work for me as I've had a Mint VM box for about 3-4 months so I agree when you say it's similar to Ubuntu.
- Okay, a terminology lesson would be great! I know all this line until sabnzbd, couchpotato and sickbeard. To me that sounds like 66% of my wife's description of me!

You also mention that stick to wired over wireless any day - because at the moment my wife and I are renting, I obviously can't jump into walls running CAT-5 (although I don't understand why that's not a standard procedure now days) so what do you think of the PowerLine system of networking (http://www.dlink.com.au/category/product...es/?cid=10)? By running these adapters, in theory, every powerpoint in the house then becomes a pseudo Ethernet port?

If my setup looks like it would run in your environment, looks like I'll be sucking my knowledge from you!
(This post was last modified: 2012-04-26 01:41 by tonka28.)
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Bstrdsmkr Offline
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Post: #10
One quick note, avoid those power-line ethernet adapters like the plague. You'll do good to get a 30mb throughput, and most area's power grid doesn't filter them out. I can see two neighbor's powerline networks from work. I would easily use wireless before powerline (in fact I do).

sabnzbd, couchpotato and sickbeard -- These are download programs, similar to rtorrent, but for newsgroups. Couchpotato keeps and a list of movies you want to see and downloads them from newsgroups automatically when they're available. sickbeard is the same thing, but for TV shows.

My advice is choose your flavor of linux and build a full linux server. flexRAID will do a good job of handling the NAS, and you'll have the option of all the other services, like rtorrent, couchpotato, sickbeard, orb, and etc. You'll probably find yourself moving services off your Windows boxes and onto your linux box (I did =) )
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tonka28 Offline
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Post: #11
(2012-04-26 01:42)Bstrdsmkr Wrote:  One quick note, avoid those power-line ethernet adapters like the plague. You'll do good to get a 30mb throughput, and most area's power grid doesn't filter them out. I can see two neighbor's powerline networks from work. I would easily use wireless before powerline (in fact I do).

sabnzbd, couchpotato and sickbeard -- These are download programs, similar to rtorrent, but for newsgroups. Couchpotato keeps and a list of movies you want to see and downloads them from newsgroups automatically when they're available. sickbeard is the same thing, but for TV shows.

My advice is choose your flavor of linux and build a full linux server. flexRAID will do a good job of handling the NAS, and you'll have the option of all the other services, like rtorrent, couchpotato, sickbeard, orb, and etc. You'll probably find yourself moving services off your Windows boxes and onto your linux box (I did =) )

+1 all your words!

That was super helpful. I'm really stoked to realise that there's .torrent wish list applications!!!

I think that I might simply install a variant of Mint on my headless server and run that for a while and deal with my new Xbox problem (post #2) as it comes.
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Bstrdsmkr Offline
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Post: #12
(2012-04-24 04:15)tonka28 Wrote:  25th April 2012 - To make things even more complicated, my lovely lady wife has just brought home an Xbox 4GB. Meaning that I can't be running XBMC on every device. Of course, being a freakishly good gamer that she is, she wants the Xbox in the theatre room (130" screen). Adding to the confusion, I don't know if I can set an Xbox a static IP, not to mention that it'll only run Windows Media Centre, greatly reducing my ability to watch .mkv, .dvi etc. files. Any hints?

You're in luck. Xbox will play media from SMB shares, as long as it can play the file format
You CAN set a static ip on the xbox
You can also setup a cron job to transcode your non-xbox compatible media periodically too if you're so inclined
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tonka28 Offline
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Post: #13
(2012-04-26 02:35)Bstrdsmkr Wrote:  ... as long as it can play the file format ...
... You CAN set a static ip on the xbox ...

- Is there any list on the interwebs that I can see that shows the file types Xbox will play?

- What is this dark magic you speak of? Do you know of a 'How-To:' guide?
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tonka28 Offline
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Post: #14
jackh & NeS_BCN - I've got an old machine that I was going to turn into the NAS; however it's an old M/B and it's IDE not S-ATA; all my drives (2x640GB) are S-ATA. So I'm thinking about building a new machine to dedicate the NAS to. My initial config is;
  • Intel Celeron G530 2.40GHz
  • 4GB DDR3
  • 3x640GB 7200RPM HDD
  • 24x DVD+-RW
  • Intel H61M M/B
  • Gigabit LAN
  • 500W PSU
  • Standard (non-flashy) Micro-Form Factor Case

After jackh's suggestion - I'll be running Linux Mint 12 with LXDE as a headless machine with SSH enabled. Then I'll be putting Couchpotato, SickBeard and kTorrent in place to handle my new content and the weekly/fortnightly clean up and file of new media.
(This post was last modified: 2012-04-26 06:29 by tonka28.)
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Bstrdsmkr Offline
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Post: #15
Most of the guides are for the older dashboard, like this one: http://portforward.com/networking/staticip-xbox360.htm
The process is pretty much the same, just have to find the System and Networking tabs

Pretty sure this should be up to date: http://support.xbox.com/en-US/xbox-360/s...vds-movies

With flexRAID you can add whatever drives you want to the array and swap new drives in or add more without losing data. It's pretty nice
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