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I'm planning to build a server to do the following

  • Act as a file server (videos, pictures music)
  • Run Squeezebox server
  • Run Zune Software to allow wireless syncing to Windows Phone 7

I'd also like to aim for

  • Low power usage (i'd settle for less than the 90-100Watts I'm using atm
  • Flexibility, I might want to add a web server or sharepoint or...
  • Something I can learn/test on, work is mainly a Windows shop but I do have Linux experience too
  • I'd like to take a look at App-V (application virtualization) too
  • I'd like it to cost less than $1000
  • Quiet would be nice but not essential (it'll be in the basement)

I'm thinking of getting a technet subscription to get access to Windows Server 2008 R2 at a reasonable price ($199) So my plan was this

  • Get a bunch of 2TB Caviar green drives to RAID up (RAID 1 or 6 probably)
  • Get a Quad core CPU (Intel i5/i7 probably)
  • Install a Hypervisor
  • Install w2k8 R2 Storage Server for a NAS
  • Install Windows 7 Pro to run Zune/Squeeze box
  • Install any other machines I want to play with

Questions

  • Can anyone see any issues with this or have any better ideas?
  • Do you think I'd need an i7 over an i5?
  • Is 4 cores enough/too much?
  • Can anyone sugest a nice, reasonably priced case that will hold 6-8 drives and stay cool
  • Should I wait for Sandy Bridge parts?

EDIT

Ok so after a lot more research I'm thinking I'll go with this, total cost ~$1300 CAD taxes in What do you think??

  • 1 x Fractal Design Define R3 Black ATX Mid Tower Silent Computer Case 2X5.25 8X3.5INT
  • 1 x Mushkin Enhanced Silverline Stiletto 8GB 2X4GB PC3-10666 DDR3-1333 9-9-9-24 Dual Channel
  • 2 x Western Digital WD20EARS Caviar Green 2TB SATA2 3GBPS 64MB Cache 3.5IN Hard Drive
  • 1 x OCZ Vertex 2 Extended Sandforce 120GB 2.5IN SATA2 Solid State Disk Flash Drive SSD
  • 1 x ASUS P8H67-M Evo mATX H67 LGA1155 2PCI-E16 PCI-E1 PCI Display Port HDMI Sandy Bridge
  • 1 x Intel Core i7 2600K Quad Core Unlocked Hyperthreading Processor LGA1155 3.4GHZ Sandy Bridge
  • 1 x OCZ FATAL1TY 550W ATX12V 20/24PIN Active PFC ATX Modular Power Supply 120MM Fan 80PLUS

I'll run the VM(s) on the SSD for performance and use the Caviars for backups and media files

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I don't think Windows Storage Server is available as software. –  paradroid Jan 14 '11 at 3:36
    
I think you're right, seems to be OEM only which is a shame –  David Hayes Jan 14 '11 at 14:58
    
You can always try OpenFiler or FreeNAS for storage. OpenFiler works with AD - not sure about FreeNAS. –  paradroid Jan 14 '11 at 16:59
    
Actuallu, I finally got around to signing up for TechNet and Storage Server is available for download –  David Hayes Jan 15 '11 at 16:03
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1 Answer

up vote 0 down vote accepted

I'd advise you to get ECC RAM for your server, especially if it has a lot of RAM for VMs.

You may want to get something that can run VMware ESXi as well, in case you want to move to that from Hyper-V. The HCL for ESX/ESXi is quite restrictive.

While I still enjoy building my own desktop PCs and HTPCs, I would not do that with a server anymore, as I just want it to work, with no hassles. Three year on-site support eases stress at the worst of times.

If you want to do that, it's worth looking at the HP ProLiant Microserver (currently for sale at £99(!) after a £100 rebate from HP, in the UK). If you can stretch to a HP ProLiant ML100 G6, consider that as well.

The ones I have bought usually come with a 100% rebate on the Lights-Out remote access cards, which are really useful on headless servers.

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Do you think ECC RAM is important even for a home server? It's largely going to be used for serving media around the house and for my experimentation with new technologies (which is why I want to run VMs) –  David Hayes Jan 14 '11 at 15:00
    
@David: Well, it only costs very little more, for most types, and the performance hit is negligible, so I see no reason not to get ECC RAM, once you have made sure that your motherboard supports it. The remote access ability of server boards will also allow you to never need to connect a monitor, even when installing operating systems or adjusting BIOS settings, or when it fails to boot. If you want a server, make it as much of a proper server as you can and make it as reliable as you can. I've never had a problem for many years now, apart from the odd component failure or user error. –  paradroid Jan 14 '11 at 16:56
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