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smnettles
2006-01-11, 13:54
I have just acquired 3 squeezeboxen and am now in the process of ripping my 1000+ CD's to FLAC. My next step is to set up a (mostly) dedicated music server.

I'd like advice about how to configure the server machine. I want as good performance as possible, so I'm not really looking for minimum requirements, more like generous. I have a robust 802.11g setup, my understanding is that this should be more than enough bandwidth even if I add another squeezebox or two. Obviously disk is mostly a matter of how much music, but one question I had was do people think using a RAID scheme is a good idea? Or is just having good working regular backups enough?

More details, I'll be running Windows XP and, except when I'm ripping, the server will only be running slimserver (and maybe a home automation server but I know how to account for that). I'm planning on using an AMD processor, probaby an Athlon 64 but unsure on speed I need. Any suggestions about how much RAM? What about the general level of performance I should be looking for in the CPU?

Any other advice on such a setup? Any tips for configuring slimserver for max performance?

Thanks in advance.

Scott

radish
2006-01-11, 14:07
I run on an Athlon 3000-ish with XP SP2 and 512mb, no problems at all. You really don't need any more than that, and could probably happily make do with less.

fathom39
2006-01-11, 14:18
RAID is no substitute for backup. And, for a home file server is probably unnecessary. Only benefit would be RAID 0 where you can create a large volume to store your FLACs. But then how do you back-up that huge thing? Presently, my plan is to either:
- get 2 large HDs: #1 in server and #2 in a portable USB HD enclosure that I will use for backup.
- get 3 large HDs: #1 in server for production, #2 in server for nighly backup (Linux cron), and #3 for monthly swap-out with #2 (Linux mount/unmount) that I can store in my desk at work.

bishopdonmiguel
2006-01-11, 14:29
> do people think using a RAID scheme is a good idea?

RAID is always a good idea but it's generally expensive. Non-server versions of Windows only support RAID-0/1 without dedicated hardware and that's probably overkill. Your best bet, IMHO, is to buy 3 discs, removable drive bay with 2 trays, and Ghost. Configure Ghost to automatically image your media disc daily and swap your backup drives weekly. Keep one backup drive disconnected from the system in case of power surge.

Browny
2006-01-11, 16:11
There is no way that Slimserver puts enough load on the disk for you to need raid for performance issues (unless you're planning to run a very large number of Squeezeboxes at the same time).

Myself I have a standard IDE 200Gb Drive that holds my music colletion (for now at least - Squeezebox has started me buying CDs at an alarming rate!). I use a hardware Raid for backing up 1 disk (mirroring) to another so I don't have to re-rip all my CDs if a Hard Drive fails!!

The one thing I would recommend is to make sure you have a wired connection between your server and your router. Wireless works fine for me, but 2 hops over wireless connections just puts the stabilty of playback over the edge.

Pale Blue Ego
2006-01-12, 05:44
Any modern CPU will be plenty fast enough.

As for RAM, 512mb to 1GB

RAID is overkill. Better to mirror your collection on an external drive.

Linux will give you fewer headaches than XP. My server's been up for 416 days and would have been up much longer except for a power outage.

radish
2006-01-12, 09:24
Linux will give you fewer headaches than XP. My server's been up for 416 days and would have been up much longer except for a power outage.

I don't think you can make that blanket statement. It depends a lot on what experience you have, what you want to run and what you call a headache. Whilst I have nothing against linux, my server runs XP because it's easier for _me_ to administer. I have no reliability problems with it whatsoever. YMMV.

smnettles
2006-01-13, 11:57
1. On the processor/memory specs, thanks. Sounds like I'll be good with a 3200 and 1 GB.

2. On the Raid issue, just to be clear, I meant for redundancy, not performance. Although the motherboards I am looking at support it, I'm leaning against at least for the music library disk. Tend to agree not needed if well backed up.

3. On the backup issue, I agree fully that it is required RAID or not. Not sure how to do it once the collection gets big enough. Maybe I'll start a new thread and see what other folks are doing.

4. On two wireless hops, I hope you are wrong, I don't want to pull any wires. I'll cross my fingers, my network is pretty over engineered.

5. On XP vs. Linux. Probably you are right that Linux is more stable, I have lots of experience with both and thats been my experience. But for a variety of reasons I need to stick with XP.

Thanks again.

Scott

JJZolx
2006-01-13, 12:48
3. On the backup issue, I agree fully that it is required RAID or not. Not sure how to do it once the collection gets big enough. Maybe I'll start a new thread and see what other folks are doing.
These days, as libraries get larger and larger (you think a 1000 CDs takes up space? Try a couple thousand hours of TV and movie rips...) the only really feasible backup solution is backing up to hard disk.

Once your library becomes larger than can be backed up to a single disk, then you need to start giving it some serious thought, and you'll probably also have to spend some serious money on the solution.

With the online SlimServer library itself, you can have individual hard disks with parts of the library. It's not as flexible as having a single contiguous volume to work in, so you have to do something like placing all classical on one drive, all jazz on another, or splittin artists A-M, and N-Z. Then expand on that as your needs move to three or more drives. Like I say, not terribly flexible. IF you fill up the A-M disk and need to add a third disk, splitting it A-G, H-Q, R-Z, you'll find yourself moving a lot of data around. Still, you can easily back this up by having an equal sized backup disk for each main library disk. Using a USB or firewire external drives becomes a LOT less convenient as you move to two or more backup drives, so a dedicated backup machine on your network to house those drives will soon becomes necessary.

Both the library and its backup become simpler to manage if you can contain them in a single volume. This is where RAID (RAID5) can become very handy. At the expense of an additional drive, you get your single volume, plus the added convenience of RAID protection. I'm in complete agreement that RAID is unnecessary for either an audio library or its backup. However, it does make things much, much easier to manage. I particularly like this approach for the backup server, as you can build a very large array that can be used to backup your audio library, as well as backing up a video library and PCs on your network.

Pale Blue Ego
2006-01-17, 23:56
I don't think you can make that blanket statement. It depends a lot on what experience you have, what you want to run and what you call a headache. Whilst I have nothing against linux, my server runs XP because it's easier for _me_ to administer. I have no reliability problems with it whatsoever. YMMV.

Sorry, I wasn't meaning to start a religious war. I use Windows for my other PCs, but for a file server there really isn't anything to administer, so I chose Linux for its $0 price, low overhead, and high reliability. I actually do everything else (ripping, tagging, backing up the collection) with Windows, since I'm a lot more familiar with Windows tools.

Peace.

radish
2006-01-18, 11:03
Sorry, I wasn't meaning to start a religious war. I use Windows for my other PCs, but for a file server there really isn't anything to administer, so I chose Linux for its $0 price, low overhead, and high reliability. I actually do everything else (ripping, tagging, backing up the collection) with Windows, since I'm a lot more familiar with Windows tools.

Peace.

Hey - no problem. Like I said I have no problem with Linux and often recommend it for both home and work applications, I'm just wary of the blanket "linux roolz windows suckz" (or indeed vice-versa) propaganda. I'm a firm beliver in picking the right tool for the job - I'd never run IIS in my web server farm but I'd also be unlikely to put Linux on a business-user's desktop.

With specific regard to SlimServer I'm a little conflicted. Part of me says it's a perfect Linux application - domestic servers are often underpowered and rarely have full time admins, so something lightweight and reliable is essential. Slimserver is written in Perl, and we all know that that's more at home on *nix based platforms. However, and it's a big however, I do see a number of issues with people building/installing/running SS on various linux platforms. Some of it is probably attributable to linux user's natural tendancy to fiddle with things :) But in several years of running SS on XP I've never really had anything other than a flawless experience. That, and past problems with Samba, are what have kept me from running Linux on my SS machine.

But I encourage everyone to choose what's best for them :)