Question Server type PC advice

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by kolofan, Dec 24, 2016.

  1. kolofan

    kolofan
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    Hi all
    I have a somewhat fractured setup at home and I want to streamline it a bit. I'm really struggling to make up my mind so I'm looking for any tips or comments to help me on my way!

    I have a trusty i5 2600k workhorse that I use to rip and encode my media library plus send it to my devices via plex and kodi (mainly plex nowadays). I have a tuner card in there which I use with wmc and kodi occasionally for streaming rather than as a pvr. It also has a 560ti graphics card that I use for occasional sofa gaming via steam streaming. Nothing remotely too heavy or new, actually mostly emulating old console games.

    I have a small ssd for Windows 7 pro and a 1tb drive for everyday bits and pieces. My media library is currently spread over 2 x 4tb drives and 1 x 2tb drives. To back this up I have a synology ds210j with a 4tb and 2tb drive. The last drive is backed up on an external USB drive. The synology is very rarely turned on and on really just a caddy not a nas now. All back ups are done with copy and paste, no raid etc. Very low tech.

    All of this lives in my basement and is usually woken up via WOL for streaming or ripping or gaming. I don't have a monitor plugged in as I just use teamviewer to remote in when needed. I use my tablet or cheap hp laptop for everyday computing needs. I stream to a couple of chromecasts and kodi clients.

    Everything works but I want a setup that's a bit more elegant and that will allow me to easily add more storage when needed. I am now thinking of using a big case and a sata controller for extra ports so I can move everything into one box and setup to back up automatically. I could also sell the synology for a few quid. I guess I am nervous about moving the PC into a new case and killing it. I am also a bit worried about having all my eggs in one basket in case my PC blows up or some other unlikely disaster. Mainly I want to find a good long term setup that covers all bases and is easy to run.

    I would really appreciate any thoughts on my setup and what might be the best way to go. I want to keep the costs down and recently picked up a massive lian Li case on the cheap that I think might do the job. But having said that my library is very precious and I would invest some money if needed to keep things safe and in working order.

    Merry Christmas!
     
  2. EndlessWaves

    EndlessWaves
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    It sounds like you're pretty happy with the setup overall, you just want to automate your backup system and consolidate the three boxes in the basement down to one.

    Forget any sort of 'backup' that's in the same box as the main drives, it's not worth the effort.

    Off-site backup is the best option. It needn't be a commercial cloud service, if you've got accommodating relatives then a box at their house using something like crashplan would be a good solution.

    If you want to keep it in-house, as it were, then perhaps a newer 2-4 bay NAS kept in another room. The NAS gets the new, high capacity drives and the older, smaller and more numerous drives get moved to the bigger case. A lot of backup software will work over the network these days.
     
  3. next010

    next010
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    There is a raid like system called Drivepool you can install on the PC and it will help simplify some of that.

    It basically dynamically combines all drives into one storage pool and you can tell it to allocate how many drives act as redundancy in case one fails so stuff a case full of HDD's (with plenty of cooling) and your set. If you need to replace a drive you can eject one from the pool and it will rebuild it or simply add another drive and it will auto expand.

    Under no circumstances use anything other than SATA HDD's with Drivepool, never use USB or other, it says it can work but it really cant and will lead to data loss.

    It works kinda like Drobo's do however those are super expensive but very reliable. If willing to pay the high price, look at the direct attached line like the 5C and you just plug that into PC, the Drobo is fully self contained so nothing happens on the Windows OS side it jus sees a super large HDD.

    (slight word of warning, maybe it will be fine and maybe not but Windows 7 does not support USB3 which Drobo uses, third party win7 USB3 drivers are not very reliable in my experience and I would really consider it's time to move on to Win10 which does support USB3 out of the box, the free upgrade still works so long as you make the Win10 USB bootable installer then input your Win7 key)

    One more last option is iSCSI which is something Synology & other brand NAS can do, this makes the storage array of the NAS appear as an internal HDD on the PC in Windows, it's not too difficult to set up but obviously needs a wired ethernet link between the NAS and PC. It offers a performance advantage over regular network shares and can still utilize the RAID functions of the NAS.

    Synology have their own dynamic add storage option (Synology Hybrid Array) however you'd need to buy one of the 4 bay models to really get any use of it, the 2 bay arent much use.

    Edit: Forgot one other option and one I use personally, the simplest path, just buy commercial external USB HDD's like the Western Digital My Book, they can be set to work in RAID mirror mode and just add as many as you need for storage. They auto power on/off with the PC unlike many external DIY caddies, make no noise and you can replace the HDD's in the WD caddie, comes with PC tool to configure the array.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2016

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