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Old 06-02-2010, 06:37 AM   #1
prixone
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Linux for Home Media and Storage Server ?


hi,

i have a spare computer and 4 hds and was planning to make this computer a storage server with a media place aswell... i do have some linux knowledge but never used it for this and am not sure how good it will be ...

This is the computer setup i have:
c2d E7600 3,06Ghz
Mem 8gb G.Skill
Gigabyte EP41-UD3L

The network is full GigE using CentOS...

initially the media files are in an HD with ntfs format which i want to keep as is... but i was wondering what options i had to make a media folder over network where i could browse and watch from any computer in my network ? is it samba my only options or is there a more media like solution for this ?

There will aswell other features i was planning to use on it which made me think of linux, for example, svn server, websever with mysql to testing my applications, connection manager, all these i am sure on how to make and setup... but i am not very familiar with samba hence i am not sure if it is the best options for file sharing aswell as media sharing and/or my only option... i also heard that ntfs might be trouble some for linux in some cases.

I would appreciate advices and suggestions about what softwares i should be using for this
 
Old 06-02-2010, 07:07 AM   #2
irmin
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Hi,

the actual solution depends on many things: the number of clients, how much security is needed, etc. But since you're going to set up "a home media server", I assume around 5-10 clients and no need for authentication. You can make your media files available available by many methods: Samba (especially when many windows clients are expected), NFS (there are windows NFS clients) or a streaming solution by setting up a RTSP server (media files can be played directly with many popular windows and non-windows media players). Also the solution depends on whether you want the clients to be able to upload files or not.

As far as I know the linux ntfs driver for writing files is very slow, so I would recommend to migrate the hard discs from ntfs to some "native" linux file system.
 
Old 06-02-2010, 07:49 AM   #3
prixone
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Well like i said it will be home for me only but i am usually at a different computer the maximun mightbe 2 concurrent connections viewing or acessing the media files, about the file sharing it will be used for a few things such as backup, downloads, sync data, like a centralized source of data ... so instead of having lots of dvds i would be storing my stuff in there and would just browser and install or save or view from whatever computer i am.

I was not thinking so far as having a live stream or on demand stream ... since usually i check what i want to watch and just open on window media player ... is there any problem using a native linux partition as for reading, writting to it ? i'm asking this because i read somewhere that lots of NAS that does not fully support ntfs were in most cases bad options as for media files and big lenght files ... ofc i am not expert at it but it kinds worry me to make all the changes and regreat later or lose the files and have to convert over 1tb of data to ntfs again ...

There is also something that i was hoping for ... usually transfering files using the explorer it takes a lot time as the connection seems to be limited and will never use not even 1/10 of what my network offers ... while if i transfer the data using an ftp for example it will hit about of 7/10 if not 10/10 of my network... but ofc there is no point in setting up a filesharing server if i still need to use ftp so i was wondering ways to uncap this limit of transfer aswell.

Thanks for the reply and information i will be looking forward for more guidance and feel free to ask me anything you might be wondering..
 
Old 06-02-2010, 08:29 AM   #4
samnjugu
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I have a similar setup to whatever you are asking about, a centos file, web, email server among other services. I use native linux partitions on the centos box. It has a 1tb drive shared with samba which I can connect to from anywhere in the network using any OS works even with win7, I usually stream from other computers on the network or my XBOX with XBMC on it. I also have a web media player that accesses music on the drive & streams it over the net. You can achieve this even with NTFS formatted drives but there will be a slight speed impact, so if you are regularly transferring large files to the drive the process will take longer than normal.
 
Old 06-02-2010, 08:54 AM   #5
irmin
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When offering a FS over network you should always choose a native file system for performance and data integrity reasons. The ntfs filesystem is not officially documented by M$, so for integrity reasons I recommend to convert the file system. Ntfs can be read and written by the ntfs-3g driver, but with poor performance. I do not see any issues when using another filesystem other than ntfs. The native filesystem should depend on the maximum filesize (If media files are less than 16 GB, you can use ext3 or reiserfs). A good choice will be XFS for linux based NAS (ZFS or UFS2 for BSD-based systems). The maximum file size for XFS is 8 EB. Big files should only be a problem if you use FAT32 as your FS. If you are unsure, try to create a dummy partition first and check it out.

When transferring files via Windows Explorer, you use a linux-based samba server? If so, poor performance can be due to an old version of the smb-protocol, use CIFS now, or due to an old windows version.
 
Old 06-02-2010, 09:02 AM   #6
prixone
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Thanks for the information...

irmin that was using windows xp to windows xp no linux here YET... but since there are so many things i want to implement i want to use linux in this near future but i did not like to have a harsh change in the fact of handling my data which is why i am here collecting advices ehehe ...


so in other words using the natives partitions would be a problem for Blue-ray movies and such that goes over 16gb ?

Last edited by prixone; 06-02-2010 at 09:05 AM.
 
Old 06-02-2010, 09:19 AM   #7
irmin
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If file sizes are greater than 16 GB with some configurations ext3 will not be able to handle the length properly. In this case you should use XFS or reiserFS (if you want), because they have much higher limits. The ext3 limit can be pushed up to 2 TB by changing some FS parameters. But I would recommend to change the FS when the server is running smoothly and there are no other issues (NTFS should be suitable for testing purposes).
 
Old 06-02-2010, 09:23 AM   #8
prixone
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thanks irmin, i guess i will start with just setting up the computer with a 250GB HD and setup like 4 diff linux with different file system setups and test to see how it goes on each but thanks a lot about the file system information it helped a lot i might ended up using ext3 i belive... but lets see how the tests go.
 
Old 06-07-2010, 08:21 PM   #9
prixone
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irmin,

i have started testing using the ntfs and it does seems A LOT slower when reading and writting at the same time like almost 20 times slower then using windows... reading the data for videos at least seems ok havent tried sending large files and getting but will soon to messure the speeds..

Currently i am trying a sata2 hd connected directed on the motherboard no other hardwares crontrolling it but in the end i have a raid hardware that i will set it on...

I cannot erase any HDS i have here at the momment(will be able to by i guess tomorrow or the day after when new HDS arrive and i can convert from ntfs to ext3) but do you recommend me any tweaks to samba for a better perfomance or should i just install a NFS on my Client and create the driver (never used NFS like this before on a home network) ?

Last edited by prixone; 06-07-2010 at 08:22 PM.
 
Old 06-12-2010, 03:06 AM   #10
irmin
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Sorry for the late answer,

if you plan to use ext3 on your hds, keep in mind, that the default block size is 1kb, so you can only have files up to 16 GB. If you set it to 2kb the maximum size will be 256 GB (use the option "-b 2048" when calling mkfs.ext3).

One option for samba I can recommend is the "oplocks"-option. It will allow clients to cache files locally more aggressively.

Also I recommend to do a local read/write test on the hd, just to make sure, that the data rates are ok there.

Especially for large files NFS is faster than smb/cifs: http://www.hob.de/downloads/NFS_CIFS.pdf
In this test for a 5GB file the transfer rate for NFS was about 40% higher than for SMB/CIFS. Personally I would recommend to use NFS for your home network, but first check the windows NFS clients out. Microsoft offers one in their SFU:
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/d...DisplayLang=en
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/l.../bb496506.aspx

Also there are more NFS clients for windows available on the internet (mostly NFSv3, few support NFSv4).
 
  


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