What OS to use for a server hosting all my movies?

What OS to use for a server hosting all my movies?

  • Windows Server 2003R2

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Windows Server 2008R2

    Votes: 7 13.5%
  • Windows Home Server

    Votes: 31 59.6%
  • Windows 7 Ultimate 32 or 64 bit

    Votes: 7 13.5%
  • Other (please specify)

    Votes: 7 13.5%

  • Total voters
    52

RavinDJ

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Apr 9, 2002
Messages
4,356
What OS to use for a server hosting all my movies? I have 2 HTPCs running Win7 Ultimate and they will each access movies (DVD and BluRay), Music (MP3s), and Photos on a server that has four (4) 1.5TB drives.

Each of the PCs is running Win7 Ultimate, but I'm wondering what's the best OS for the server that will not have a monitor hookup (i.e. only a power cable and GigaBit Cat6 network cable) - I think the correct term is "headless"

Any input will be greatly appreciated! Thanks!!! I'm soooo excited about this Summer 2010 project for mysefl :p

[edit]
I forgot to insert hardware specs:

Dell PowerEdge T410
Processor, E5502, 1.86/4.8, 4MB Intel Dual Socket Nehalem, D0 [SINGLE CPU, but I'm considering adding the 2nd CPU, since it has the socket for it]
4GB (2 x 2GB) PC3-8500 Dual In-line Memory Module, 2G 1066, 2RX8X72, 8, 240, UBE
4 x 1.5TB WD
1 x 1.0TB WD
1 x 750GB WD

I'd love for the server to be able to do other things as well, but I didn't think that far yet - (i.e. domain controller for active directory so that I could have a domain at home, web server, email server, ftp server, database server, etc.)
[/edit]
 
Last edited:

sabregen

Fully [H]
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
19,502
decide what the servers main function should be. run all other individual functions as VMs in VMware player, virtualbox, or something else Type2 and free. specs are ridiculously over powered for just file serving. your choice of the main role will determine your installed OS. If it's file serving, and ease of backups, and you dont need real domain services... WHS. If you want a domain controller, and domain services, server 2k8. if you just want basic file serving and a desktop OS, windows 7
 
Last edited:

sabregen

Fully [H]
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
19,502
all of the OPs choices are Windows based. there's nothing wrong with suggesting Linux, but I get the impression the OP may not be experienced enough, or interested in running it. I could be wrong.
 

RavinDJ

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Apr 9, 2002
Messages
4,356
OP here: yeah, I'd like to stay away from Linux... maybe at some point in the future, but not for this project. Thanks for the input, though!
 

silent-circuit

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Sep 18, 2005
Messages
16,136
Just considering the headless requirement. Linux has a lot more flexible options for dealing with a machine without a monitor. As I understand WHS is good for that too, though, and it can do most of what you're looking for, possibly all (not sure about running a domain from WHS...). Also makes setting up large disk arrays easier.
 

onyxbfly

Weaksauce
Joined
Dec 11, 2009
Messages
104
@ OP there are a variety of options that will allow you to have remote access into your server. Remote desktop, logmein, dyndns etc Your OS choice will be based on what you plan to do with it currently and in the future and I agree with Sabregen the use of virtual machines provides a lot of room for trial and error.......that way you can experiment, break it few times and fix it and have lil to no downtime for your other activities
 

Azhar

Fixing stupid since 1972
Joined
Jan 9, 2001
Messages
18,876
Just considering the headless requirement. Linux has a lot more flexible options for dealing with a machine without a monitor. As I understand WHS is good for that too, though, and it can do most of what you're looking for, possibly all (not sure about running a domain from WHS...). Also makes setting up large disk arrays easier.

Eh, I've been a Win2003 and 2008 user since, well, 2003 and I've yet to plug a monitor into my PowerEdge servers. Three of them are also at a datacenter and naturally I've been remoting into it as well. RDP goes a long ways.

On topic, If you want truly headless storage, there's always NAS storage. A lot of NAS are capable of performing basic services, such as FTP, web service, backups and so on. My Seagate BlackArmor does quite a lot, and can stream Blu-ray and DVD rips flawlessly, but when it comes to pure file transfer, it's quite slow (tops at around 15-17 MBps).

I'm considering building a file server myself for expandability and quicker throughput and I'm leaning towards WHS or Win2008. I have a Technet license, so I can afford to be choosy, lol.
 

IDversusEGO

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
5,015
headless is easy with most OS choices. I just have win7 on my server for now and use Remote Desktop to get into it. I do plan on swapping over to WHS soont hough. I didnt know sage had a WHS version or I would have done it from the start.
 

-Sn1PeR-

2[H]4U
Joined
Dec 26, 2002
Messages
2,950
I use linux, but if you aren't familiar it can be a pain. I would stick to windows home server if you want a windows os.
 
Joined
Oct 7, 2009
Messages
822
Another one for WHS. I would download the beta version of Vail though if you are not afraid of betas. I have been running it for a month and have had very few problems. The only problem will be you will need to do a fresh install once its released.
 

ZzBloopzZ

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 18, 2004
Messages
1,330
I've been wondering the same thing.

Built my first fileserver since, well 2003. Havn't been able to live with out them since.

I agree with many others, your server is grossly overpowered. My current fileserver is on 2003 Server Standard and it's been great. Since your specs are newer I would go with 2008 or WHS. I would def not do W7 since Server editions are optimized for this sorta thing. I don't have any experience with WHS but with 2003/2008 Server editions lots of the main software is supported on there like O&O Defrag, Symantec Endpoint, Serv-U FTP, DynDNS, and UltraVNC (I like it better then RDP). Not sure if these work on WHS?
 

pjkenned

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jan 8, 2010
Messages
1,971
Does it do MKV's?

WHS can stream anything. At minimum you have big windows shares. At best there is a WHS plugin OR software that runs on an operating system called Windows XP 32-bit that can stream media (and there are a lot of media streaming programs that support said OS).

The semi-bad thing about it is that practically speaking, WHS V1 (V2 isn't out yet) caps out at around 64TB. Then again, at 64TB+ you are building a pretty serious system.
 

IDversusEGO

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
5,015
it doesnt need to "do" MKV. it just serves them up for your other pcs to "do" them. no encoding, decoding, or playback is required on the server.
 

RedChief

Weaksauce
Joined
Oct 25, 2004
Messages
92
Another one for WHS. I would download the beta version of Vail though if you are not afraid of betas. I have been running it for a month and have had very few problems. The only problem will be you will need to do a fresh install once its released.

How is the new edition of WHS (vail)? I have a Win2003 box that I was going to rebuild and WHS didnt seem like much of a step compared with going to Win2008r2.

Running beta software nor licenses is much of an issue (I have a MSDN acct).
 

Cliff Couser

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Dec 22, 2003
Messages
1,853
Vail wasn't worth tinkering around with for me at least.

The Server Console crapped out on me for no reason, and a few other showstoppers that came up after only a few days of tinkering around with it. Most of the bugs were confirmed/known.

What else....supports AHCI, 64-bit natively and a few other improvements over WHS.

Vail was also much more taxing on my WHS box, Intel D410 and 4Gb DDR2 than my current WHS install.
 
Joined
Oct 8, 2004
Messages
53
Another vote for WHS, I havent played with Vail yet, but I have heard of good things, But I run my network with WHS that has one media center, and an xbox extender, and other various computers (using Tversity for my media streaming to the 360). You can pretty much do anything with WHS, its built on the Server 2003, but they have taken away/hidden alot of the 2003 features.

But any program that works in a server environment, like someone was stating earlier UltaVNC and and anything else will work in WHS, but if its not WHS supported, that usually means you wont be able to see it in the console view, but you can RDP into it and use the app.

And for all the stuff they have hidden like active directory, domain controllers, etc, there are hacks/instructions out there to to enable them, wegotserved.com is a good place for that stuff, but if your going to be using all that stuff, then id suggest you going a server 2008 route.

Main difference between Server and WHS is that WHS has 'console view' and 'add-ons' you can add, and a web interface you can access anyware.
 

RavinDJ

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Apr 9, 2002
Messages
4,356
Awesome!!! Windows Home Server it is... I'm sure with Remote Desktop I can hide the machine away and juse remote into it. I'm sooo excited!

Will post pics and set up notes as soon as I finish. Thanks again, guys!
 

black0ut

Gawd
Joined
Aug 5, 2008
Messages
616
unRAID is good too. I personally have unRAID running as a VM on my "does everything" server.
 

Biznatch

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 16, 2009
Messages
2,224
WHS is very nice for NAS. Vail is supposed to be much better though. Built off 2008 so it has the improved network stack, plus it has iscsi built in.
 

Toconator

Gawd
Joined
Jul 8, 2005
Messages
769
Been using WHS for a few months now, very easy to setup. It's based on 2K3 but has no domain capabilities, you need 2K3 or 2K8 for that. I installed TVersity to stream movies with the CCCP codec pack for h264 and MKV support. streams to the Xbox360 in the family room quite easily and you can also set it up for PS3 if Sony is your flavor of choice too with a little bit of work. just gotta get a BDROM to start archiving blu's and I'll never get off the couch :)
 
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