Obviously the server will be installed in the rack, so a suitable case must be chosen. The Antec 4U22ATX is perfect for this application as it’s 4RU high and deep enough to cater for ATX motherboards, not just mATX ones. It’s also high enough to fit my aftermarket CPU cooler, which is a nice bonus. The build was very easy with no unwanted surprises.
The server will perform the following functions:
- File server
- Ventrilo and TeamSpeak server
- SickBeard and Couch Potato
The file server consists of 8tb of hard drives – 2 x 2tb and 4 x 1tb, with the 1tb drives being raided into 2 sets of raid0 arrays.
One of the caddys
Cooling for the drives is catered for with 2 x 80mm at the rear of the case and 1 x 120mm fan at the front of the enclosure in the picture above. Temperature sensors around the case will automatically adjust the speed of the fans according to the temperature inside, which will prevent overheating of precious storage space.
Ventrilo and TeamSpeak are voice chat programs which are used by the majority of serious gamers to better coordinate in-game tactics. Usually you have to rent a private server which costs a few dollars a month, however as I have a static IP and the necessary bandwidth, web domain & DNS services, I can set my own up that is available to myself and my friends for no cost.
SABnzbd+ is a very pretty usenet binary newsreader and downloader with a web UI, so things can be qued for download from anywhere in the world. So for example, if someone tells you that a new game patch has been released, you can que it for download from your smartphone and it will be finished and waiting for you by the time you get home.
SickBeard is an automatic downloader for your tv shows. All you have to do is type in the name of the show you want to watch and it will download all of the existing episodes that are available, and automatically download new ones as they come out using SABnzbd+. Once downloaded, it can email you and let you know that the download is finished, and it will also automatically update your XBMC library. Coach Potato is the same as SickBeard, but for movies.
uTorrent – self explanatory. There is a web UI available, which once again lets you que downloads from your smartphone or work computer.
XBMC is a media center that organises your tv shows and movies in an aesthetically pleasing manner for ease-of-viewing. In this configuration, XBMX will run on the HDMI output, which is sent to an 8 way HDMI splitter and is then distributed to every tv in the house, so you can watch your movies and tv shows wherever you want, and only be using the one computer. You control XBMC through a very easy-to-use iPhone app, so if you are watching a movie in the lounge and want to watch the rest of it in bed, its just a matter of pausing the movie, going to the bedroom and resuming it. The only limitation is that the same image is sent to each tv, so everyone must watch the same thing but this is not a problem as there is no-one else in my house who would be interested in using this.
The HDMI Splitter
Finally, there will be automated backups of my documents, pictures, music etc… and of course saved games. All of this is backed up to the server which is located in the same room as the computer, which is technically bad practice as there really should be an off-site backup as well in case the house burns down.