Friday, 30 March 2012


Here's what I'm attempting to achieve with this project;

Centralised Storage for media files

I currently use UnRaid for this and it works great and will continue to use my unRaid box for archive storage. However, there are some things UnRaid just won't do or does not do well (eg audio playout, virtulization).

This is going to be implemented via Storage Spaces using a parity configuration (slow write but normal read performance and best use of disk space with resilience enabled)

TimeMachine Backup Server

With a new macs and MacBooks about, I really want to centralize and automate timemachine. Windows machines don't support this natively (UnRaid does!) but I intend running FreeNas in a Hyper-V instance writing to perhaps a simple (single disk) storage space.

FreeNas supports timemachine backups so it should work in a VM just as well. I'll likely store timemachine files on a a single disk as parity protection would not be required (since it's in itself a backup and if that disk fails, I can replace it and backup all the macs again)

Work File Storage

My wife and I work from home sometimes and have a significant collection of work related files. Performance is important here so slow writes to parity-protected spaces won't do.

I'll be setting up a mirrored storage space for this. Or perhaps a simple or striped space using Windows backup to duplicate to the parity protected volumes overnight.

I'll be maintaining UnRaid on a system in a different building as a further backup as this is data that we can't afford to lose. 


I've been known to use Sickbeard & Couchpotato with Sabnzbd for grabbing those shows and movies I've missed for one reason or another. I have this set up in UnRaid at present and it works great. Will be transferring these apps onto MediaServer8, possibly in a VM.

Media Playback

I LOVE Plex for media management and playback. Currently, Plex server runs on my UnRaid box and the client software is installed on an iMac that's connected to the TV in the lounge and projector in the theatre.

Plex server will be installed on MediaServer8 to manage all the media and the client will also be installed to facilitate playback in the lounge and home theatre. This will allow me achieve one of the main objectives; retiring the iMac and reducing the number of machines I need to keep running 24/7.

Whole House Audio

I'm using Logitech Media Server (formally squeezecenter)  on the UnRaid box to serve up an iTunes library to a variety of squeezeboxes throughout the house. I've also designed and tested a more extensive playback system using squeezeslave and some digital amps connected to my speaker cabling.

This system relies on multi-channel audio cards and a bit of fancy configuration work. This currently needs to reside in a separate machine (an old Dell 386 Win2K PC!) as UnRaid does not support audio output. Another box to consolidate.

Live TV Distribution / PVR

I don't have this at present and I'm not sure how I'm going to do it. I have a SkyHD box that's connected to the lounge TV over HDMI. In the past, I've used SageTV but found it cumbersome and unfriendly to those not residing in the US. In any case, it's now defunct, having been purchased by Google.

So, that's it. A modest list or requirements. I'm sure I'll think of other features and functions as I go along.

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