One big home server or several small ones?

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Octavio Masomenos, Feb 4, 2019.

  1. Octavio Masomenos

    Octavio Masomenos New Member

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    Background: I have a media server that's been offline for a while. It has several disks between 1TB-3TB (JBOD) and room to add more. I built it to simply store all my CD, DVD and BrD rips. I played the files on an HTPC so transcoding wasn't an issue - but I retired the HTPC some time ago and I now use Roku for pretty much everything. I tried setting up Plex (more than once) but had a ton of problems with it so I gave up and I've just been playing my physical media discs on my Blu-ray player when I felt like watching them.

    Recently, I started playing around with OpenMediaVault on a Raspberry Pi 3 and I'm intrigued/enthused about all the possibilities. I setup Emby Media Server on it and plugged in a 2TB external drive that's loaded with a bunch of my favorite movies and TV shows. In my tests so far, everything seems to play really well on my Roku (Ultra) using the Emby client. I setup port forwarding and tried watching some stuff outside the house on my iPhone (6). 480P content plays great. 720P stops and has to be restarted once in a while but it's functional enough. 1080P doesn't seem to work at all.

    My next step is to get my old server back on line. I don't remember its specs but I built it for low-power consumption so I don't know if it will transcode any better than the Pi3 - but I suspect I'll probably have to upgrade it -- especially as I start to rip some UltraHD Blu-ray discs. Anyway, I'm definitely going to install OMV and SnapRaid along with Auto Ripping Machine so I can finally get the rest of my media ripped. (I'm about 50% done with DVDs/BDs and maybe 25% done with CDs.)

    I may stop there and just use that server for media files. But I'm really interested in all the other functionality that I can implement with OMV... I definitely want to setup (using Docker containers for pretty much everything):
    • NextCloud (and stop paying Dropbox $120/year for 1 TB of cloud storage).
    • I think I'd like to move my Home Assistant server from an old Raspberry Pi 2 to this server
    • My wife is interested in a Calibre ebook server
    • Some sort of a photo server (Lychee? Other?)
    • Radarr and Sonarr look pretty intriguing and I'd also want to setup transmission and a reverse proxy/VPN
    • A personal git server for some development projects I'm working on -- including...
    • A couple of websites I'd like to try to self-host using a reverse proxy.
    • I want to implement Duplicati to backup everything to some cloud storage. (Except for the several terabytes of media files, of course, which I can always re-rip if SnapRaid fails to save my bacon.)
    I'm currently doing some of that on the Raspberry Pi 3 and I'm pretty happy with the results. So... here's where I'd really appreciate some input...
    Should I try to do all that on a single, powerful server? Or should I limit my server to media storage (and maybe Radarr/Sonarr) and use Raspberry Pis (I have 4 x Pi 2, 1 x Pi 3, and a couple of original Pi 1s) as single-function servers? What would the pros/cons be each way? What would you do?
     
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  2. TeleFragger

    TeleFragger Member

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    I, no where near, have what your setting up but .....

    I currently run a local server (server 2019) as a file server to house all of my family pics/movies/dvr'd movies/software/personal data, etc...

    I do not use a HW raid but I use stablebit drive pool and love it. for me, just add drives, add them to the pool and let it balance. Don't care what size drives it has in it either. if the machine dies, just move drives into a new machine and can access the files from a hidden folder. consider it a file level raid if you wish. if you have 10 drives, you can have 10 copies of certain folders... so configurable...

    now I run a plex machine - i7-6xxx for transcoding, but also have an apple 4k tv box in living room and Roku ultra in master bedroom.
    I used to dvr my own stuff via hdhomerun prime box with cable card and nextpvr. loved it but I got away from the extremely ridiculous costs of xfinity tv services and now just use them for internet.

    here is my old setup...
    RiggsLan.jpg





    that is just my tv streaming part. works in house and outside... plex pass owner too... plex works great for me.
    I have plex map a drive back to the server 2019 where all the videos are connected. was a 1gb connection but I'm redoing it all as I went 10gb.
    do I need to 10gb for that, no but hey ive got it so why not LOL...


    now I do run esxi 6.7 as a lab and playing around more.
    also have a separate box for freenas - been playing with but haven't been happy with it yet trying to get 10gb speeds but no
    nextcloud - looking to play around with that myself
    homeseer home automation machine...

    I'm contemplating setting up stuff as vms to reduce the machines I have but then again I get limited to drives storage, thus why I like having the physical boxes.
     
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  3. IamSpartacus

    IamSpartacus Well-Known Member

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    I can tell you from my personal experience of having migrated from a home 4-node vSAN cluster down to a single All-in-One server (running Unraid) that I'm very happy with my decision. It's made my life so much easier in terms of just general maintenance and configuration.

    I'm running a lot of the services you mentioned in docker containers currently (see pic here) and about 6 VMs (4 Windows, 1 Linux, 1 MacOS).

    One thing I didn't see you mention is the specs of your server. I'm running mine on a Xeon E5-2680v3.
     
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  4. K D

    K D Well-Known Member

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    I concur with @IamSpartacus above. With several commitments severely curtailing my playtime, I moved all services to an unraid server. Have all of my services running in docker or vms under Unraid. It's almost zero maintenance.
     
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  5. Rand__

    Rand__ Well-Known Member

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    I would say that depends on how much you fiddle with your setup. If you want to setup once and then just run then single box is fine.
    If you like to tweak, find new options/functions, load updates and or have a unforgiving user base (family) then having multiple boxes might keep the potential stress level low;)
     
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  6. PigLover

    PigLover Moderator

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    I'm mostly in the "one big server" camp myself these days too (two really, but the second one is just a local backup).

    Whether its UnRaid, OMV, Raw Linux or otherwise - big server with a good file management/serving platform + docker for other services. This seems to be the current favored approach.
     
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  7. turgin

    turgin Member

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    Put me in the single server camp as well. I've had a 3 node vsphere cluster running Starwind for SAN storage and doing maintenance was a massive headache. I'm down to one "prod" esx server and running FreeNAS virtualized for NAS duties. I do have one lab server where I can move everything to if I need to work on the main server. Its also my onsite backup target.
     
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  8. Haitch

    Haitch Member

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    Same here with single server. Actually have 2+, but one is production and the other for testing and DR in case the primary blows up.
     
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  9. Rand__

    Rand__ Well-Known Member

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    Lol - So one + a Test/DR/Backup system. So lets say "not a distributed environment" but not a single server for all of it either :)

    @IamSpartacus , @K D - also test boxes or truly single servers?

    Me personally I am still at distributed tbh since I fiddle too much ;)
     
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  10. i386

    i386 Well-Known Member

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    I would say it depends.

    I have two servers, one application/webserver and one media/file server.
    The application servers runs my "must have" application and 24/7. No downtimes acceptable ;D
    My media server is accessed at max 8hours and idles most of the time.
     
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  11. Evan

    Evan Well-Known Member

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    1 server for actual requirements and another sever(s) for playing and lab that you can shutdown when not in use and destroy at will.
     
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  12. IamSpartacus

    IamSpartacus Well-Known Member

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    Truly one server for all actual services on my network. My main everyday workstation PC has a Threadripper 1950x in it so I use that as my test VM environment.
     
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  13. BackupProphet

    BackupProphet Well-Known Member

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    I have one FreeBSD and one Linux server.
    FreeBSD has excellent ZFS support and performance, while Linux has much much better virtualization.
    With this I can get best of both worlds when using NFS. Yes NFS outperforms ZoL with 4-5x better write performance, thanks to the Optane drive.
     
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  14. niekbergboer

    niekbergboer Active Member

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    I have three, all fairly low power, that form a Proxmox VE HA cluster. I love being able to migrate VMs around (live), and being able to reboot physical machines without having to take down any services. One of the nodes is a bit larger, since it hold the less-than-essential-but-large movie collection.
     
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  15. PigLover

    PigLover Moderator

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    I still have plenty of other machines around that I can "fiddle" with. I've just moved all my playing around off of the home server.

    Kinda like separating prod from dev, and dev from lab.
     
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  16. IamSpartacus

    IamSpartacus Well-Known Member

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    Exactly :cool:.
     
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  17. K D

    K D Well-Known Member

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    One for all the home media services. Waay too much gear for all the other stuff :D
     
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  18. Aestr

    Aestr Well-Known Member

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    I run 2 at home specifically for the demanding users @Rand__ mentioned:). I like that it reduces the pressure to get a server back up and running when I'm tinkering.

    That being said I also have 7 in local colo so saying I have 2 isn't totally honest either.
     
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  19. IamSpartacus

    IamSpartacus Well-Known Member

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    You have your the "data" you're serving to these users completely redundant? I have 60TB on my main server and making that redundant on a second local server is just not feasible. Since my storage will always be a single point of failure there isn't much point in me worrying about having separate redundant computer nodes.

    That being said, I do have my 60TB server backing up to a second 60TB server offsite every night. If my main server has to be down for any extender period of time I can have most sought after services (ie. Plex/Emby) up and running in a very short period of time.
     
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  20. Aestr

    Aestr Well-Known Member

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    ~80TB capacity mirrored locally and a copy in colo. It's certainly not cheap, but it isn't that bad either with the drive prices we've seen over the last year.
     
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