Amazing

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genghiskhen
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Amazing

Postby genghiskhen » May 16th, 2011, 8:57 pm

I have been building HTPCs for a couple years now using Windows and MediaPortal. I finally decided to centralize my media and this guide was invaluable. I have been using UNIX for years, but I had never built a LINUX box or acted as administrator. Your guide got me started.

I ran into a bug formatting a 2TB drive that took me over an hour to research and resolve. When I partitioned my drive the cylinders did not line up and the warning said this would greatly affect my disk performance. I finally found instructions on how to manually create an offset and this fixed the problem. Of course those instructions are at home. This would be a nice thing to add to your guide. I can provide the instructions if that helps.

Thank you so much! I clicked on your advertising links.

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Ian
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Re: Amazing

Postby Ian » May 16th, 2011, 9:18 pm

Hi genghiskhen and welcome to the forum :thumbup:

Yeah, I've read about the issues some people have with Advanced Format Drives but never having hit the issue myself (despite having a whole bunch of 2TB drives in my server) I didn't feel comfortable adding a how-to that I'd not tried out myself. Everything on the site is tried and tested by yours truly so I can vouch for its accuracy (and I do update it as and when required). If you happen to have a link for a guide that you've followed, and had success with, then please feel free to post it here. :thumbup:

So, care to share your setup? What are you using for clients, the HTPCs? What software have you installed on your server? Apart from the drive formatting problem did you hit any other issues?

What made you decide to finally centralise everything?

Sorry for all the questions sir, but I enjoy reading about other people's setup and sharing ideas with folks. And if you're a unix veteran then maybe you can teach us all a thing or two ;)

Ian.

genghiskhen
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Re: Amazing

Postby genghiskhen » May 18th, 2011, 11:33 pm

I have two HTPCs: one in the family room (Windows 7 x64) and one in the bedroom (Windows XP). Both run MediaPortal. I have them configured to run with a $30 universal remote and a USB-UIRT. I have a huge collection of movies and television episodes. The Windows 7 HTPC has a dual tuner TV card but I have never been able to configure MediaPortal to use the Electronic Programming Guide (EPG). Research shows it works better in Europe, but I am on the west coast of the US. Windows Media Center works great for recording, so I use that.

Most of the video files used to reside on the family room HTPC and I streamed them to the bedroom. Then I started having problems connecting on the network. The bedroom HTPC had internet access but occasionally could not connect to the Windows 7 machine. After days of pulling my hair out I found that rebooting the Windows 7 machine fixed the problem, but that was a pain in the ass especially because I was probably already in bed.

I recently built a freeNAS machine to automate backups. Besides my 2 HTPCs I also have 2 desktops, a laptop, and a netbook. I have also been using Ubuntu at work for Software Quality Assurance testing. I thought it would be a good idea to build an Ubuntu machine to practice administering for myself. That is how I found your guide. I decided to convert the freeNAS machine to an Ubuntu Server.

I used an Antec Nine Hundred case as you suggested (it is my second). My motherboard only has 4 SATA ports and 1 IDE. I have my DVD drive and boot drive on the IDE channels and my storage on the SATA ports. I have 7TB of storage plus a 250GB boot drive. I am using 3 of the 2TB green drives and one 1TB drive I already had. I will upgrade the 1TB when I need the space. I have webmin configured on both my desktop and my laptop. All 6 of my PCs backup to the server once a week. I am also using flexRAID for redundancy. I moved all my video to the server and I now stream to both HTPCs over a 1GB network.

I am considering changing the XP machine to Ubuntu and running XBMC. I will try it in a virtual machine first to see what I think of it. I have also been reading your section on Myth TV. I am concerned about getting the remote control configured without Girder. That is something I will have to learn.

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Re: Amazing

Postby genghiskhen » May 18th, 2011, 11:37 pm

The only problem I ran into besides the formatting was figuring out how to use flexRAID. Their site seemed to be down for two days and I pretty much had to figure out how it worked using Wikipedia and guessing. Your guide was so spot on I didn’t have any other issues at all.

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Re: Amazing

Postby genghiskhen » May 19th, 2011, 2:00 am

Here is the link to the instructions I followed for formatting an advanced format drive: http://www.formortals.com/how-to-create ... and-linux/

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Ian
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Re: Amazing

Postby Ian » May 20th, 2011, 11:04 pm

Sounds like you’ve got quite a setup there! :clap:

Good idea about sticking the OS drive on the IDE channel. It was only after I’d built mine did I think that I should have gone IDE for the OS to “free up” a SATA port for a storage drive. But my drive with the OS on is a 2TB drive with 30GB (IIRC) partitioned off for the OS so I’m not really losing much storage space. Maybe when I build my next one I’ll do it like you have! :twisted:

How are you finding FlexRAID? I was using 1.4 which expired whilst the Openegg website was down. Had a bit of a panic at the time but it’s all fine now. I upgraded to 2.0 (before 1.4 was re-instated) which is much nicer. Not yet documented a how-to but it was a LOT simpler than 1.4. Looking forward to how that progresses. :thumbup:

Ian.

PS. Thanks for the link about the Advanced Format drives :thumbup:

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Re: Amazing

Postby genghiskhen » May 23rd, 2011, 6:21 pm

I am not sure about flexRAID yet. I have it configured to sync at 3:00 AM every morning and email me status. It syncs fine, but since I haven't had to rebuild a disk I can't say how effective it is. I actually have some concerns. I am not sure how useful it will be if any drive has been modified since it synced. I was going to research this more but I haven't gotten around to it. Hopefully my concerns are due to lack of understanding.

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Ian
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Re: Amazing

Postby Ian » May 23rd, 2011, 7:54 pm

I tried out FlexRAID on a few test shares before I took the plunge and decided to use it on my data for real. I've tried deleting a DRU and getting FlexRAID to rebuilt it so can confirm it works fine (at least on the 500GB or so folders I "bricked" on purpose). You really need to convince yourself it's what you want before you start relying on it. The same with any RAID system.

The way it works is if you lose a drive and there is some unsynced data on it then all data on the drive except the unsynched data is recoverable.

If you're frequently changing your data then FlexRAID Live might be more suitable for you rather than FlexRAID Snapshot?

Ian.

EDIT: I should add that there's nothing stopping you running a sync more frequently. Hourly perhaps? If nothing has changed then it completes very quickly.

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Re: Amazing

Postby genghiskhen » May 27th, 2011, 7:22 pm

That makes sense. My data is semi-static. It is all videos, pictures, and music with the exception of my automated backups. I need to schedule flexRAID to sync after I backup instead of before and maybe change it to run twice a day. It usually takes less than 5 minutes to sync and it often takes less than 3.

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Ian
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Re: Amazing

Postby Ian » May 27th, 2011, 8:43 pm

The backups of the family's desktop computers and laptops are stored in a folder that is not part of my RAID Array. The thinking behind this strategy is simply that the data is already replicated, being on both the server and the client computers. So, I'd have to experience a drive failure on the server AND one of the computers at the same time to actually lose any data. It's possible but not all that likely.
Of course, I may one day regret my decision :roll:


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