Rebuilding a media server.

Right, this could be long winded or it could be short and simple, lets find out together.
Just recently Ubuntu has become increasingly unstable with crashes and system program problem errors and many other system errors, heck even the error reporting system kept crashing and freezing so I finally gave up and went for peppermint 4 which on the whole I’m happy with barring a few niggles which I’ll ask about later, maybe, if I can’t sort them myself.
Now to the reason for this post.
The computer is mainly used for web browsing, music and a little light cad work but has until recently also been my media server, although with only 80G it was in need of upgrading anyway,
I was thinking of installing a 3TB HDD and continuing to use it as a Media server but now I’m thinking I might just buy a NAS device instead.
Q, how well would this work with a LINUX box.
If it would be a hassle to set up would a big HDD and setting up MDLNA again be any easier?

That seems to have pretty much the same features as my Buffalo Linkstation Live NAS … so should be fine with Linux.

The only thing that doesn’t work on mine (besides the backup software, that their are Linux equivalent of anyway) is the NAS’s ability to power itself into standby when there is NO PC running … bugt I leave it running permanently anyway as it doesn’t use much power and I’m of the opinion that power cycling any electronic device will wear them out faster than leaving them running.

That said … the Linkstation and probably tat too contains the firmware on the HDD, so if/when the HDD fails it’s liable to be nearlyimpossible to just bung another HDD in it.

Also as a single drive NAS, when the HDD fails you will loose everything … if I were you I’d spend the extra on a separate NAS enclosure with dual bays … such as:

then get a single HDD fr now … then you can add another later and run them in RAID1 (mirroring), so if one drive fails, you just replace it and have lost nothing (the chance of both drives failing at the same time is extremely low.

ALSO … did you spot at the bottom of your ebay link it states it’s got a US power adapter … so you’d have to get a UK one.

I used an old tower PC to build my own NAS and attached an external drive like the one on your link to to backup all the 4 drives installed in it and it’s bullitproof, I store all my movies, photos, music and anything of value, I use Freenas 8 which is based on Free BSD but Openmediavault which is a Linux based version looks very good now, it’s probably not as good as a purpose built NAS enclosure but it’s never failed me and it’s a great way to make use of an old PC

have a look at this

Good luck


If it only has a single drive you won’t be saying it’s bulletproof when that drive fails :wink:

And a PC will use a lot more power than a standalone NAS enclosure.

But if you already have the an old PC…

If it only has a single drive you won't be saying it's bulletproof when that drive fails ;)

I agree but that was why I suggested the enclosure as a backup. also if it’s a tower other drives can be added in a raid array

And a PC will use a lot more power than a standalone NAS enclosure

Can’t argue with that :slight_smile:

Anyway i just put it forward as a suggestion


It’s certainly a suggestion/option that’s worth mentioning … if you have the kit lying around :slight_smile:

But remember, not all motherboards support RAID without an add-on card … though there are workarounds for this.

I just think at less than £50 a dual bay NAS enclose would be hard to beat … an old PC would be liable to use that in extra power quite quickly

I just think at less than £50 a dual bay NAS enclose would be hard to beat .. an old PC would be liable to use that in extra power quite quickly

Well I don’t know enough about that to argue (damn) so I’ll bow to your superior knowledge :slight_smile:


I am with Emegra on this.
I have a Celeron 400 (originally came with win98 and sat in the loft gathering dust for 4 years)
which I have been using as a headless server since mid 2008.
Now running Ubuntu server edition 10.04 Lts

File Server (samba)
Music streaming (mediatomb)
Proxy (squid)
DNS + DHCP (dnsmasq)
Torrents (Transmission daemon) for scheduled downloading
Local only web server for testing (apache)

Still waiting to give up its ghost.
That cpu has a TDP of 23.7 W so not that far off the NAS but infinitely more usable,
that if you want to do more with it than what the manufactures intended.

Granted a PC gives more options … But if you’re after a simple NAS and not a server…

And specially on an old PC without RAID … yes there are software options, but that’s another layer of complexity waiting to go wrong.

Both have their pluses an minuses … that’'s the route I’d choose … but each to their own.

The NAS enclosure is also a turn-key solution, requires no (ok, little) setting up, and in the long run will probably be cheaper (at that price).

Question … if you wanted disk redundancy … how would you set it up ?

There doesn’t have to be all that much complexity I just do a scheduled daily backup of all all my drives to an external 1TB usb HDD using the built in rsync application and hard copy the really important stuff once a month and store offsite.

As i said a purpose built NAS enclosure would probably be a better option but it’s much more fun building your own and a good way to learn


Question .. if you wanted disk redundancy .. how would you set it up ?

In my case (very much like Emegra) I have 3 disks in the server.
First disk is for the OS, second disk Main data disk, third disk backup.
I use a simple rsinc routine to backup any IMPORTANT data to disk three. Simples. :wink:

Sure … I’m not disagreeing with you … and repurposing old PC’s is a great idea.

I figured

a) the OP was after a turnkkey solution
b) unless the mobo has RAID, rsync and/or manual (or scheduled) backups are NOT the same as true mirroring … they still leave more scope for data loss
c) having the OS on another HDD (or the mirrored drives) is less reliable than an embedded OS, and another point of failure


d) re-syncing a replacement for a failed drive will likely be automatic in the NAS enclosure.