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ericgcollyer

Media Server Storage

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I'm currently building a new system to be used as a media server. The issue I am running into is that I don't know what kind of solution I want to use for the storage on the machine. I currently have about 3TB worth of media, and will likely greatly expand that amount of media as soon as I can. I would like to try to future proof the machine as much as possible and am trying to get somewhere between 8-12 TB of usable space. Like I mentioned, I don't really know what kind of solution to use. I have a few ideas, but I would like to see if there is anyone here who had experience with building large storage arrays. Any advice?

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If you're slightly tech savvy, you can build a file server or NAS from parts. If you're not or want hassle free, you can purchase pre-built NAS boxes that only require you to add in hard drives.

 

Self-Built route:

You get more customization in hardware and software. Usually costs cheaper for parts, minus the actual case. Doesn't include management software (unless you install one).

 

Pre-Built route:

Hassle-free. Just plug in hard drives. Small package and usually hot swappable. Normally comes with management software. Limited expandability.

 

==========================================

 

RAID Options (High-Level View):

 

RAID-1/Mirror: Requires 2 HDDs. Normal speeds. You can lose 1 HDD. 50% usable storage. EX. 2x 1TB HDDs = 931 GB usable. 

RAID-5: Minimum 3 HDDs. Faster than RAID-1 (fast reads / slow writes). You can lose a max of 1 HDD. Usable = N - 1 HDD. EX. 3x 1TB HDDs = 1.8TB usable.

RAID-6: Minimum 4 HDDs. Slower than RAID-5 (slow writes). You can lose a max of 2 HDD. Usable = N - 2 HDDs. EX. 4x 1TB HDDs = 1.8TB usable.

RAID-10: Minimum 4 HDDs. Faster than RAID-5 (fast reads/writes). You can lose a max of 2 HDD. 50% usable storage. EX 4x 1TB HDDs = 1.8TB usable.

 

Pros:

Easy to setup

Provides redundancy

Easy to add more storage

Works on Windows/Linux (Mac? IDK)

 

Cons:

Can be expensive with hardware RAID controller cards

 

 

==========================================

 

ZFS Options (High-Level View):

 

Mirror (RAID-1): Same as above.

RAIDZ-1 (RAID-5): Same as above.

RAIDZ-2 (RAID-6): Same as above.

Stripped-Mirror (RAID-10): Same as above.

RAIDZ-3: Minimum 4 HDDs. Slowererer writes. You can lose a max of 3 HDD. Usable = N - 3 HDDs. EX. 4x 1TB HDDs = 931 GB usable.

 

Pros:

Easy to setup

Provides redundancy

Works on Linux/Mac

Better data integrity, storage pools, administration, and etc.

More details 1 & 2.

 

Cons:

Higher requirements (Lots of RAM and 64-bit OS)

Restrictions in shrinking/expanding storage

Adding more storage to a zpool requires sets of HDDs ($$$)

 

 

==========================================

 

My Setup:

Hardware Specs: Check signature

OS: Ubuntu Server 64-Bit

Storage Solution: ZFS
 

I have two zpools on my file server:

 

 

pool: backup <-- 1.33TB of Win 7 reported usable                              
    mirror-0 <-- 2x 1.5TB                           
        ata-ST1500DL003
        ata-ST31500341AS
 
pool: storage <-- 10.5TB of Win 7 reported usable
    raidz1-0 <-- 3x 3TB
        ata-ST3000DM001-9YN166
        ata-ST3000DM001-9YN166
        ata-ST3000DM001-9YN166
    raidz1-1 <-- 3x 3TB
        scsi-SATA_TOSHIBA_DT01ACA
        scsi-SATA_TOSHIBA_DT01ACA
        scsi-SATA_TOSHIBA_DT01ACA

 

 

 

Installed some scripts that handled automated zpool scrubs and snapshots for daily/weekly/monthly (auto delete after a certain period). I have Plex Media Server for streaming and a few other utility software.

Edited by AZNguyen

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