Windows - XBMC N00b NAS Build

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tonka28 Offline
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Post: #16
Thanks for that info mate - I've googled the static IP for the Xbox and will attempt after the working day is done.

The list of files that can be played is pretty up to date - it just seems that after my NAS is up - I'll just have to set some queues to convert all my media to the appropriate formats (yay -.-).

Please, someone in direct terms, explain to me the advantage of setting up raid. I know 'round about what it is, but I'm at a loss as to figure out why I would do it.
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NeS_BCN Offline
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Video  RE: XBMC N00b NAS Build
Post: #17
Regarding hardware, I'd recommend going for higher capacity drives and making sure the motherboard has many SATA ports (5 or more is nice). To make things easier to manage, I'd also recommend you install the system on an (old) spare drive (could be even IDE or USB), so that the data partitions will be separate from the system partition. This makes future system updates or total reinstallations much less painful. 20GB should be ok, but you can easily fit a lean system in 8GB, provided you are careful.

Regarding software, there's not much to add to what has been said. If you will be using torrent, I'd say couchpotato is great for movies and ktorrent can be very smart with tv-shows once you master the art of RSS.

Regarding RAID: it's a way to organize several drives into one single array, with varying degrees of performance improvements and redundancy (depends on the RAID level). My experience is that it is very robust but not without risks. I was using mdadm in linux with a RAID5 array, it survived beautifully several hard resets and system reinstalls. But it has several problems associated with it: All drives must be the same size (or the smallest one), if one drive fails your data will survive, but if another one fails (before a replacement is set in place) then you lose everything. Also, RAIDs have a tendency to rebuild from time to time, and with today's drive capacity it's easy to reach the error rate in SATA specifications (one error every ~12TB).

This is why there's a number of alternatives (Unraid seems to be quite popular in this forum), each has their pros and cons and it's worth researching a bit before taking the plunge. I personally chose Greyhole after several years with RAID5. Basically it's a program you can install in any linux, it will take whatever drives you specify (storage pool with mixed capacities, filesystems, etc) and make one or several shares you can use from your server AND network. You can specify redundancy per share (from one to maximum), meaning the number of copies for each file in case one drive dies. Drives can be added, removed and even re-added as necessary.
Best of all: it's open source and free!
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jackh Offline
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Post: #18
(2012-04-26 05:02)tonka28 Wrote:  jackh & NeS_BCN - I've got an old machine that I was going to turn into the NAS...

After jackh's suggestion - I'll be running Linux Mint 12 with LXDE as a headless machine with SSH enabled

Thanks! What an honor! Angel

Now, seriously, for home server purposes the G530 will do just fine, almost an overkill. In fact I built my HTPC with that very processor based on one of eskro's suggested builds, and was running my Asterisk VM on this box for a while at the same time that I'd watch movies on XBMC. No problems at all!!
HOWEVER, wanna know how I chose the E6550 as my new server processor? Answer: buying used. Yes, I went online looking for old computers (I'm sure there's a Kijiji or Craigslist for your city) and started looking for a bargain with a CPU capable of virtualization. $120 later (yes, $120 !) I had a "new" machine. Reformatted, installed Mint 12 LXDE, added my old 1TB media drive, added apps and service, a little fine tuning, done.

IMPORTANT: I also agree with having separate system and media hard drives. In case of something blowing up (G'd forbid) just take the good drive out and rebuild the rest.
For VNC: disable the "remote desktop" feature that comes included with Mint. Just install x11vnc and use that. Waaaaaaaaay better and faster.
For sharing folders: if you are connecting from another linux machine, use NFS: performance/speed will go up to the roof. Then for everything that does not support NFS, fallback to Samba, will work fine but transfer speeds will never be great.

About powerline ethernet: I've got no experience so I can't tell. Others seem to not have had a good one. In any case, I find it expensive for the limited benefit provided. But it depends on each case what the best (or least worst) option you can use...

Last word: calling my home server a "server" is just a functional name. It's still a basic workstation OS, but hey, it's Linux... Wink
(This post was last modified: 2012-04-26 15:57 by jackh.)
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tonka28 Offline
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Post: #19
NeS_BCN, I'm telling you mate, still trying to find that reputation + button! Smile

jackh; thanks for your info mate. I'm pretty happy with the hardware I've jotted down and the M/B can support 4x S-ATA drives, so I'm pretty happy with 8TB off the bat! I'm pretty keen on running the CF to PCI card idea with a 16GB card for the OS. Thoughts? Huh

(2012-04-26 15:54)jackh Wrote:  For sharing folders: if you are connecting from another linux machine, use NFS: performance/speed will go up to the roof.

Tell me mate; when you say this - keeping in mind that the end of the line for my home media network is going to be an Apple TV 2, jailbroken running XBMC - is there a way I can share files with XBMC through NFS? Huh

I'm going to have a big crack at it on the weekend - load Mint (Lisa) on my existing machine (old hardware) to test on the network and share through my Xbox as I haven't yet gotten an Apple TV.

I'll post my findings (and probably another amazing diagram/map Tongue) after the drop.
(This post was last modified: 2012-04-26 17:31 by tonka28.)
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NeS_BCN Offline
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Post: #20
If you already have the pci to cf card *and* the cf card *and* the system allows to boot from it, I'd say it's fine. Otherwise you can't go wrong with a usb pendrive, they are really cheap nowadays.

If you decide to use ethernet cables, cat 5e is good and cat 6 is better. MOAR CATS LOL!
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tonka28 Offline
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Post: #21
Btw - as a side bar, just letting you fine people know about my frustrations over the past few days - my main machine (for the moment) %tonka% running Ubuntu was giving me the shits so I decided to rollback to Windows 7 Ultimate x64... I had NO idea how much work that was going to be.

I've got my MBR set to boot from my 60GB SSD drive (super fast and super pricey), during the installation, I didn't think twice when it asked me about GRUB being installed in the MBR, I thought "Ubuntu all the things!!!" I now regret everything I once thought.

I'm currently in hour 4 of the 24 hour process of using Darik's Boot and Nuke on the SSD so that I can attempt to run a Windows install on it again. Hopefully GRUB would've totally fu*ked off! It's caused mass amounts of swearing, inventive insulting and the occasional hissy fit where I give up and just log onto Xbox Live and kill some international 14 year olds in COD.

Hopefully this DoD Nuke process will work in removing GRUB from the MBR and giving me the ability to run Windows 7 again - failing that, I'll either jump to Mint (Lisa) or Ubuntu (11.10) on my main machine and live with 'terminal' being my besite forever!
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Bstrdsmkr Offline
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Post: #22
XBMC supports file sharing through ALMOST any protocol, even http *shudder*
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NeS_BCN Offline
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Post: #23
I think you're going at it the wrong way. I suggest you use windows install cd then select system rescue (or whichever name it's called). Or download and use Super GRUB disk for all your GRUB related matters.
Definitely not boot&nuke ;-)
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Bstrdsmkr Offline
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Post: #24
(2012-04-26 05:29)tonka28 Wrote:  Thanks for that info mate - I've googled the static IP for the Xbox and will attempt after the working day is done.

The list of files that can be played is pretty up to date - it just seems that after my NAS is up - I'll just have to set some queues to convert all my media to the appropriate formats (yay -.-).

Please, someone in direct terms, explain to me the advantage of setting up raid. I know 'round about what it is, but I'm at a loss as to figure out why I would do it.

There are two reasons to setup RAID:

1. Speed. RAID can "stripe" data across multiple drives so that multiple pieces of data can be read and written simultaneously.
2. Redundancy. Raid can also mirror data across multiple drives, so if one drive dies, the data can be recovered from the mirror location.

Caveats follow:
1. If more drives die than the RAID setup allows for, all the data is lost, not just the data stored on those drives (because some of the data was striped on the dead drives)
2. Hardware based RAID setups require a RAID controller (commonly built into mobo's now). If this controller dies, it can only be replaced with the same model. The effect of this is that if your array lasts a long time and they've stopped making that controller, you're playing the ebay game or losing all your data
3. All the drives in a RAID array need to be the same size, and usually the same connection type (it's not common for RAID controllers to support SATA and IDE for example)
4. At least half the capacity of the total of the drives in the array will be used for mirroring and therefore unavailable for storage. For example, if you have an array with 2x 500gb drives, you will only be able to store 500gb of data

All of these problems are addressed by the various software based RAID solutions, such as unRAID, flexRAID, and from what I gather from comments above Greyhole. I've had the most experience with unRAID and only read up on flexRAID since I haven't needed to build one since it came out. I have no experience with Greyhole.

unRAID is designed to be the OS on a server with multiple drives connected, and runs from a USB stick so all connected drives are used for storage. It is linux based so any service that can be ran on a linux server can be ran on an unRAID server. Here's how it addresses the above problems:

1. unRAID doesn't mirror data. The simplified explanation is it keeps track of what data is in the same physical location on each drive in the array. If a drive goes down, the data can be repaired because it can "fill in the blanks" and determine what "should" be in that spot on the disk
2. unRAID can use and combination of number, size, and type of drive. If any piece dies, just replace it
3. The only size restriction in unRAID is that the drive which stores the repair information MUST be the biggest drive in the array
4. All the capacity of the drives in your array are available for storage, the only exception being an optional cache drive (a super fast drive which receives all the incoming information, then moves it to the array in the background), and the "parity" drive which stores the repair information

flexRAID's advantage over unRAID is that it's a program, not an OS. It can be ran on Windows, OSX, or Linux
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tonka28 Offline
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Post: #25
(2012-04-27 00:24)Bstrdsmkr Wrote:  I've had the most experience with unRAID... unRAID is designed to be the OS on a server with multiple drives connected, and runs from a USB stick so all connected drives are used for storage.

Is there a video on how to install unRAID as an OS? I've had a look at Youtube and the only ones I can find run for about 9-13 mins and are 98% bloat about why they like it, not how to put it on and even more frustrating, there's a cool video transition during the installation steps so I don't actually see the setup procedure.

I think I'm going to be running 1x 1TB disk and 3x 640GB disks all up. So I'd like a solution that doesn't mean that 1/2 of my storage is lost in mirroring.

Will it run on as a headless machine running kTorrent and couchpotato/sickbeard - can I give it a static IP etc.
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tonka28 Offline
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Post: #26
(2012-04-26 21:55)NeS_BCN Wrote:  I think you're going at it the wrong way. I suggest you use windows install cd then select system rescue (or whichever name it's called). Or download and use Super GRUB disk for all your GRUB related matters.
Definitely not boot&nuke ;-)

Well that's awesome information and I've since found an amazing method of clearing the MBR and removing GRUB, that would've taken <30 seconds... To bad I can't cancel the Nuke and I'm guessing I've still got hours remaining on that bad girl.

I've since found a few videos that state all I have to do is run an install disc of whatever OS I want (Windows 7 Ultimate x64 in this case) and run repair, cmd prompt, 'fixboot,' 'fixmbr' and restart and we should be good - I'll give it a crack after COB (3 long, long hours away!).
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tonka28 Offline
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Post: #27
Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin

To say I'm pumped would be a lie right now!!!

I decided to throw away everything that I've said and load unRAID as my NAS O/S - after I figured out what the hell the logon and password was after I booted from a USB stick, it booted with an IP address, which I accessed from %Austreus% through Chrome and BAM!! WebGUI - pretty. Also accessing the drive through Windows Explorer, BAM! Super fast with no permission issues!

All I have to do now is get my NAS machine, HDD's and probably upgrade my switch to gigabit TP-LINK 5 PORT SG1005D - I can get it for $34AUD.

I'm pumped guys! All I need now is for someone to teach me HOW to use unRAID to do parity etc.

Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin
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bumperjeep Offline
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Post: #28
Ubuntu server/desktop for the win. Look up Webmin! Rtorent is better than deluge. Hard to install but I have a script.
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Bstrdsmkr Offline
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Post: #29
You're going to live here: http://lime-technology.com/wiki/index.ph...ith_unRAID for a few days.

This should get things working and a few of the most common "extras:" http://lime-technology.com/wiki/index.ph...n_Tutorial

Then for the Coup de Grace, find a friend with a similar need and setup Crashplan: http://www.lime-technology.com/wiki/inde...=CrashPlan
Now you have an automatic offsite backup.
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tonka28 Offline
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Post: #30
Okay guys - when using unRAID in my new, purpose built NAS, I get an IP - go to that IP in my browser and it won't let me start the array because my 140GB drive is wrong? What the hell?

At this point, I'm taking adivce for FreeNAS as well - otherwise, I'm going to default to Windows Server 2008 R2 and try and set up PUBLIC shares that I can be accessed without credentials.

Help is needed in the form of a very, very simple walk-through of how YOU got your setup running or a video on how to setup and configure - I'm running it off a 4GB thumb drive fyi.
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