Alx9r's Network Attached Storage Setup

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Alx9r's Sample Setup
System Diagram

I store all my media on a Network Attached Storage box.

Side Note: Originally I opted to use a built-in (sata connected) secondary media storage drive for my hybrid core. That configuration was simple and cheap to set up but suffered from a few shortcomings. You can read about that original setup in earlier versions of this page.

Description

Here are some details on my NAS setup:

  • Hardware:
    • D-Link DNS-323 ($180)
    • 2x 1.5TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 hard drives ($225 each)
  • Firmware:
    • D-Link version 1.05
    • ffp
  • backup configuration: the 2 drives are entirely independent volumes (i.e. not a RAID configuration). Only the second drive is used by LinuxMCE. Every night, a script synchronizes the contents of the first drive with the second drive.

Rationale

Here are some reasons why I store all my media using this network attached storage scheme:

  • Having media on a separate drive drive from LinuxMCE ensures that media and its attributes are safe when installing LinuxMCE fresh.
  • The NAS box can be located away from my hybrid/core which cuts down on noise in the living room.
  • As compared to adding more hard drives to my hybrid/core, NAS offers the following benefits:
    • limitless expansion
    • much fewer overheating and power supply concerns
  • As compared to RAID1 on the DNS-323, syncronizing independent drives nightly is less buggy.
  • As compared to RAID1 or RAID5, having a backup provides a second independent copy in case a human, software, or hardware error corrupts, deletes, or otherwise destroys the media on the drive.
  • Unlike with RAID1, using one drive as a nightly backup only means that the two drives have a different usage pattern and are unlikely to fail simultaneously.
  • Unlike with RAID5, if the NAS box fails I can just plug either of the drives into a PC and recover the contents.

Setup

There are a number of wikis and forums dedicated to the DNS-323. I'll just provide the general steps that I took to prepare mine. Here is what I did:

  1. With no hard drives in the slots, I upgraded the DNS-323 firmware to 1.05 using the DNS-323 admin web page.
  2. Changed the name of the device to NAS-1 from the DNS-323 admin web page.
  3. Added the drives and used the wizard on the DNS-323 admin web page to format them in "standard" mode. This mode results in two separate volumes called Volume_2 and Volume_1.
  4. Copied all my media to the LinuxMCE folder structure on Volume_2. See the next section for folder structure details.
  5. Installed ffp (aka fun_plug) following these instructions.
  6. Set up a nightly rsync to copy all of the data from Volume_2 to Volume_1 by following these instructions.
  7. With the DNS-323 turned off, connected it to the INTERNAL network, then switched it on.
  8. Once the DNS-323 completed booting, I performed a reload router. After a what seemed like a long time (probably a few minutes), LinuxMCE detected the DNS-323 and asked me if I wanted to use the drive. LinuxMCE prompted for each of three shares that the DNS-323 set up: Volume_1, Volume_2, and web_page. I told LinuxMCE to use only Volume_2 with the LinuxMCE folder structure.
  9. After this, LinuxMCE displayed that it was "Installing Software" for a few minutes and eventually hung indefinitely doing some sort of "Configuration". I finally, forced reload router, and the DNS-323 was fully set up.

Folder Structure and Media (Pre-Installation)

Before connecting the DNS-323 to LinuxMCE, I created the standard LinuxMCE media drive folder structure on the Volume_2 drive. The structure looks like this:

Volume_2
 |-public
    |-data
       |-videos
       |-music
       |-pictures

Also before connecting, I moved all of my media to the appropriate folder on the media drive.



Alx9r's Sample Setup
Materials Network Gear · Hybrid Core (living room) · AV Gear (living room) · Orbiters · Glue
Preparation Router Setup · Aquos TV Power-on
Hybrid Core pre-LinuxMCE Setup Assembly · BIOS Tweaks · Hardware Testing · NAS Media Drive Setup
Hybrid Core LinuxMCE Installation Bare-metal Install · AV Wizard · Sarah (Setup Wizard) · Special Steps · PVR-150 Remote · Aquos TV · Denon Receiver · Media Drive Setup · Laptop Orbiter · Webpad Orbiter
Hybrid Core Additional Software Bittorrent · Synergy
Toolkit Laptop · telnet/ssh client · Remote Mouse and Keyboard · Partition Tools
Design Rationale Network Topology · NAS