Advice on New Server Build
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Author:  HagensHorde [ Tue Aug 02, 2011 11:55 am ]
Post subject:  Advice on New Server Build

I am planning to build a server for a home/small business (research) environment. I have done a fair amount of research, at least enough to confuse myself, I have done only a little computer building, nothing from scratch.
Currently we have two PCs, one gaming unit and one stable work unit, two laptops, an IMac and WD TV Live.

Approximate Purchase Date: August-September

Budget Range: $2000-$3000

System Usage from Most to Least Important: It is a three way tie for first place.

1) I need rock solid redundant storage for family photos (2tb), research photos (at present 4tb and growing, I expect it will grow to over 10tb), and general file back-ups (1tb approx. now).
2) A file server for media files, music and movies (BD). We use our individual PCs (IMac in Kitchen) for music, WD TV Live for movies.
3) Remote access to upload and download research files while away from home.

I would like to see 5 years out of this unit; I expect to be wrapping up my PhD then. I would also like to be able to set up torrents on the server and get them off the individual computers. It would be nice if there was an easy way for relatives to access family photos and download to their computers. If reasonable I would like to be able to do small scale website host experimentation (no real traffic, so I can see how it renders under different OS, browsers and screen res.), actual hosting on a third party server. Lastly, maybe one day I would play with setting up TV recording.
If it is easy to make this play mkv, avi etc etc and I could sell my WD TV Live then that is fine.

Parts Not Required: None, but I do have an i7 2600k and two 120GB SSDs

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg

Country of Origin: Canada

Parts Preferences: Intel

Overclocking: Don’t see why

Monitor Resolution: TV is 1080p

Form Factor: Tower, but rack is fine too.

Additional Comments: I am favouring Windows Home Server, but I am open to suggestions, remember I am a noob, so easy to learn is best. I am also leaning to Xeons as they seem to be the best choice for a server, but should I go higher end single or lower end dual? I am also unsure how to get the right amount of storage, that is, how do I add lots of hdds, I know RAID controllers, but what do you do when the PCIs are full? On that note can I have more than one raid array. For example, can I have my movies on a HDD (no raid needed here), my family photos on RAID 5 and my research on a different RAID 5 all in the same server? Suggestions needed on whole system though.

Author:  dbone1026 [ Tue Aug 02, 2011 1:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Advice on New Server Build

First off, welcome to the forums :mss:

When it comes to Windows Home Server there is a bit of a debate, sticking with WHS v1 or moving over to WHS 2011. In order to get data protection with WHS 2011 you will need to set up a RAID array. There are "add ins" for WHS 2011 that can mirror the duplication process of WHS v1, but these are still beta and something I would not recommend anyone use unless in a test environment.

With WHS v1 you can set up duplication which is essentially RAID 1, and utilize JBOD. With this you can enable duplicate on some or all of your shares (so you can have duplication disabled for Videos but enabled for Photos, etc...)

I have been using WHS v1 for 3 years now, and for 2 years with a DIY build (16 hard drives, you can see Shawshank in my signature). It is used for data storage, media streaming (mostly blu ray rips), remote access, etc... and has served me well. I see no reason why WHS v1 won't be a legitimate solution for years to come.

Other alternatives would be unRAID, possible WHS + FlexRAID, etc...

Hopefully this at least gives you some ideas, and other hear will chime in with what works for them.

FYI - I just built a desktop PC using the core i7-2600k and Gigabyte ATX mobo, all from NewEgg. Love that build, and it would make an excellent server build as well.

Author:  Comp1962 [ Tue Aug 02, 2011 6:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Advice on New Server Build

Hey HagensHorde welcome to the forums \:D/

The one thing you have going for you right now is you know what you want from your server. I currently run both WHS v1 and WHS2011 Servers. I use my servers for a wide variety of purposes with the goal to simplify and enhance my daily life. I share files with co-workers, backup computers both at home and at work with them. I am not a big fan of putting my pictures online so I use my server for that purpose and share the photos with friends and family. dbone1026 got me hooked on putting my movie collection on my server which was the best thing I have ever done. Then of course I concentrated my efforts to stream my movies and music online so now my family can view my content at will and have some great friends who help me test media streaming to help guide me along the way.

There are some outstanding DIY Builds various forum members have written about that should help give you some ideas. Whats interesting about what they have written is the thought process, what they were trying to achieve and the problems they encountered along the way. You can read about these builds in the link below:


Because you already know you will be using a lot of drives I believe chosing the right enclosure to start off with is the most important factor. Once you chose that then you can concentrate on the hardware needed to support the drives both with the controller cards, motherboard all the while balancing out the necessary performance needed to run the server and of course to power the server. This is not always an easy task as it required quite abit of thought on your part.

Of course the Operating System is important too and if your not certain which OS is right for you I would suggest that if you have a computer available to play with to download the trial versions and play with them. This will give you some experience with whats available and allow you to be able to determine what actually works best for you. You could also build a small unit, later to be repurposed for like an HTPC that would allow you the opertunity to test things out and allow you to get opinions from those who you will be sharing the server with.

Author:  HagensHorde [ Wed Aug 03, 2011 8:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Advice on New Server Build

I like your idea of building a small one to trial some things first. I almost bought a $200 WHS (v1) just to get an idea of what it could do, but I hadn't considered the free OS trials though, Cheers. The more I look at the possibilities I have to agree that the best place for me to start is the case. Thanks for the tips.

Author:  Comp1962 [ Wed Aug 03, 2011 4:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Advice on New Server Build

Your welcome and I wish you well in this project your about to undertake. I do encourage you to read the DIY Build forum to see what other forum members have built, its all good stuff. \:D/

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