Best way to store a large media library?

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Ninjahblu Offline
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Post: #1
I plan on building an XBMC rig in the near future and just wanted to see how people manage their media.

I was considering using an Acer Aspire revo for playback and storing my music and movies on an external hard drive, but purchasing anything over 2gb doesn't seem cost effective.

So far I've heard of people using networked drives, servers, and other options.

So in your experiences what works best for you? I'd like to be able to store a large library of HD quality movies and TV shows in particular, but I'm not sure of the best means for storage and playback. Would 2gb be enough, or are there more effective and/or efficient ways I should consider?

Mods, I'm sorry in advance if you feel this is better suited in the Hardware discussion area.
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DecK Offline
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Post: #2
2GB isn't going to do much for you....
On the other hand, 2TB would be a good start. ;-)

Personally, I went with the NAS option. My Thecus N4100Pro is a four bay BYOD and ir cost about $400. Once I added 4 1TB drives in a Raid5 array ($100 a pop), I had 3TB of redundant storage for $800.
Have a look at www.smallnetbuilder.com if you want to learn more about NAS options. They have a ton of info.

Another good option is FreeNas, if you are of a mind to build a home brew solution.
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jmarshall Offline
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Post: #3
unRAID is a good option for media if you don't mind building something yourself. Similar to RAID 5 but without the equal-sized disk requirement, and it has better recovery if 2 disks die at once (all disks other than parity are readable outside the array). Another benefit is you only ever read from the data drives - so only one data drive needs to be spun up at a time, and it's just as fast as a normal non-RAID drive in terms of read speed.

Cheers,
Jonathan

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jpc-s4 Offline
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Post: #4
My solution for over 6 TB of DVD and CD content was the Acer EasyStore H340 running Windows Home Server. I picked it up for $300 (included a 1 TB HD), and added three 2TB HDs.

It's been solid for the past three months; have it networked to my Zotac Ion HTPC with no issues.
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snoxbox Offline
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jmarshall Wrote:unRAID is a good option for media if you don't mind building something yourself. Similar to RAID 5 but without the equal-sized disk requirement, and it has better recovery if 2 disks die at once (all disks other than parity are readable outside the array). Another benefit is you only ever read from the data drives - so only one data drive needs to be spun up at a time, and it's just as fast as a normal non-RAID drive in terms of read speed.

Cheers,
Jonathan

unRaid is good. I was going to go with that, but it has 1 major disadvantage; it needs a dedicated machine.

I found FlexRAID. Same premise as unRaid, works in the same way, except that it sits on top of whatever OS you're running, I have it running on my torrenting, blu-ray ripping machine.

Another difference is that it doesn't do real time parity sync; it does it on a schedule or manually. For me, this is a feature, because it means I can en external drive for the parity, leaving my 8 sata ports free for data storage.
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jmarshall Offline
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Post: #6
Agreed, it definitely pays to have a dedicated box if you want to use unRAID. It is possible, but fiddly, to install unRAID on an existing slackware setup though. Alternatively, it's pretty easy to get torrent/nzb or whatever running on an unRAID box, but again, it's definitely something for those who want to set it up themselves - if you want an out of the box system, then something like windows home server (which is also an unraid type system) or some other type of pre-built NAS might be more appropriate.

Cheers,
Jonathan

Always read the XBMC online-manual, FAQ and search the forum before posting.
Do not e-mail XBMC-Team members directly asking for support. Read/follow the forum rules.
For troubleshooting and bug reporting please make sure you read this first.


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zag Offline
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Post: #7
jpc-s4 Wrote:My solution for over 6 TB of DVD and CD content was the Acer EasyStore H340 running Windows Home Server. I picked it up for $300 (included a 1 TB HD), and added three 2TB HDs.

It's been solid for the past three months; have it networked to my Zotac Ion HTPC with no issues.


This is a great option, very cost effective compared to a dedicated noisy machine. Looks good as well.
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dan991199 Offline
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Post: #8
jpc-s4 Wrote:My solution for over 6 TB of DVD and CD content was the Acer EasyStore H340 running Windows Home Server. I picked it up for $300 (included a 1 TB HD), and added three 2TB HDs.

It's been solid for the past three months; have it networked to my Zotac Ion HTPC with no issues.

i had an h340 for about a year, i just sold mine. it was an awesome little box but i just needed something with a little more cpu power as i have lots of other stuff running on my nas., i was also running out of storage space, i had all four bays full, and a 4 bay eSATA enclosure filled as well.

the H340 is a great machine for storing media.
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saratoga Offline
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Post: #9
$100 Atom board + old PC tower. Add disks as you go.
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TeknoJnky Offline
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Post: #10
I have a readynas nv+ and now a pro business that I am re-consolidating my library around.
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eg4190 Offline
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Post: #11
I would definitely recommend building your own server over buying a pre-packaged one. Anything sold as a "server" seems to carry a $300-$400 price premium, and they only come with 4 drive bays for some reason. The key thing here is to make sure you're using cool, quiet, low-powered parts, because your server won't be handling many heavy processing tasks, and you don't want to drive up your electric bill and have guests ask why your vacuum cleaner is always on in your closet.

One thing to consider is that you don't necessarily *need* all of your hard drives to appear as one physical drive, particularly if you aren't concerned with fault tolerance. My feeling is, it would be pretty easy (if a huge hassle) to replace my media if any one of my hard drives died, so I just installed Ubuntu on a cheap machine with four 1.5 TB drives, sorted out my existing movies and TV shows, and pointed my nzb/torrent scripts to the least populated drive. When that one fills up I'll move onto the next one.

XBMC makes it very easy to merge multiple sources into one TV and movie library, so there's not much reason to pool the data just for convenience. XBMC doesn't care if you tell it that movies are in the Movies1 and Movies2 network shares. But if error tolerance is worth the premium to you then there are a lot of other solutions.
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TugboatBill Offline
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Post: #12
The first thing you should do is determine how much space you'll need initially and over time. Part of that decision is what type of video quality you want.

A ripped bluray (movie only) takes 15-30GB. a ripped SD DVD (movie only) takes 2-8GB. That's for full quality, no compression. If you compress you lose video quality. How much quality you lose depends on how much you compress. Some don't see a difference and others do. It depends on your needs.

How long you keep ripped videos, how many you plan on ripping, if/how much you compress, etc have a big impact on how much space you'll need. If you're new to XBMC then plan on using more space that you initially planned as you'll very likely get addicted. Nod

Then you can decide on what technology is best for your storage needs.
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ubuntuf4n Offline
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Post: #13
buy two 2tb hdds and put them in a JBOD-Storage-Case. Thats it.
You can simply connect them via USB. Cheap solution.
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Ninjahblu Offline
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Post: #14
Thanks for the suggestions everyone! The RAID options are nice, but seems to be the least cost effective. My other newbish question is how much HD playback would be affected if it were to be networked wirelessly. Is a cabled connection a must?

The JBOD solution sounds exactly like something I was looking for.

TugboatBill Wrote:The first thing you should do is determine how much space you'll need initially and over time. Part of that decision is what type of video quality you want.

A ripped bluray (movie only) takes 15-30GB. a ripped SD DVD (movie only) takes 2-8GB. That's for full quality, no compression.

Tugboat, I think your response is spot on. I already know I want to use XBMC, so focusing on the basic hardware before the actual storage is good advice.
(This post was last modified: 2010-03-19 21:56 by Ninjahblu.)
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LeVeL Offline
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Post: #15
sheva plug or one of its derivatives looks promising and cheap enough.

Its a the size of a wall wart and uses little power.

a server specific version is found here.

http://www.globalscaletechnologies.com/p...-plus.aspx
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