Saturday 31 March 2012

Start Up

The basic hardware for the project is an ASUS P5E-VM motherboard with an Intel Core2 Quad processor Q6600 and 6GB RAM.

The CPU is rated 2.4GHz but overclocked to 3.0GHz.

This system was the basis of a Hackintosh project for a couple of years but now repurposed to MediaServer8.

The Quad core processor should lend itself well to Hyper-V and the onboard X3500 video with HDMI output will serve for playback without the need for an  additional PCIe graphics card.

There are 6x SATA channels on board and a single IDE channel.

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)

Thursday 29 March 2012

Why Server 8?

A couple of years ago, I'd tried out Windows Home Server (WHS) and used it in a similar configuration to that proposed (single multi-function box to manage data storage and playback).

I liked it at the time and the main reason I moved away from it (to unRaid) was because it could not be easily configured to store OSX Time Machine backups. (UnRaid offers this capability through full AFP support).

The release of Windows 8 consumer preview caught my attention with the addition of the Storage Spaces feature. Reading on this led me to Server 8 Beta and the additional features such as ReFS etc.

The main reasons for considering server at this time are;
  • Robust OS for maximum uptime
  • Storage Spaces Support
  • Hyper-V architecture facilitating compartimisation (and stability of core system)
  • Windows versions of all apps and drivers for hardware I intend using are available
  • Extensive system reporting facilities

It's likely that even if this all works, cost will become a factor when Server 8 is eventually released. Will I be willing to fork out €600 or more?

Maybe an updated version of WHS will be announced but in any case, it's a consideration for the future.

Wednesday 28 March 2012


An Early HT Iteration
So, we need to start somewhere and I guess the beginning is as good a place as any: 2000 was a significant year. 

Recently married, my wife and I were moving from a city suburb to our more remote hometown where we had purchased a 1930s house and were embarking on an extensive remodeling. 

We had always been big movie fans but there was no cinema in town and the closest was a 20km drive. With a child on the way we knew our movie-going days would be limited so the idea of a home cinema was born.

One Box To Rule Them All

What's this all about then?

With the release of Windows Server 8 Beta, I'm interested in testing the viability of consolidating a number of currently discrete domestic systems onto the platform for the purposes of establishing a stable, unified whole-house media storage and playback system.

I intend to use this blog to document ideas, procedures, problems and solutions along the way. If nothing else, it will allow me collate all those links and articles I come across along the way. Maybe it will help someone somewhere. If it does, let me know by commenting!