Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Coming soon: Super-robust music server

I'm a huge fan of the Logitech's (or should I say Slimdevice's) range of Squeezebox players. I own three currently and use them every day to stream my entire CD library in high-quality FLAC format around my house. I absolutely love them.

Accordingly, I'm a long-term user of the Logitech Media Server software (nee. Squeezecenter, Slimserver) and have run this on all sorts of servers over the years, including a custom build PC server, a Buffalo Linkstation, and currently a Synology Diskstation. The Diskstation is brilliant - well supported, small, quiet, and efficient. However, with now over 1,000 CDs on the system, I've started to think about building a new super-robust server to protect my collection.

So, here's what I'm planning:

  • HP Proliant N40L Microserver. Currently £230 approx, with £100 cashback until the end of March. This is an absolute bargain in my opinion for a 4-bay, 2Gb RAM server including a 250Gb disk. I have mine currently on order from eBuyer (www.ebuyer.com).
  • Sony SATA DVD drive from which to install the OS.
  • 4Gb USB flash drive to install on the Microserver's internal USB port onto which to install the OS.
  • 1x WD 2TB hard disk. I have this spare from a previous project and will use this to start my RAID array. Once up and running, I plan to migrate other disks from my existing NAS to increase the capacity on this new server.
  • Total cost after cash-back: £149.00
  • I have been exploring the excellent FreeNAS 8.2 (www.freenas.org) and really want to use this for the following reasons: ZFS file system for fault-tolerance and error correction; regular filesystem snapshots; RAID 5; small & fast footprint; very quick to install, and good support.
  • Logitech Media Server (LMS) 7.7.1. This is the tricky bit as there is no official method that I can find to install this on BSD UNIX (on which FreeNAS is based). I've played around with this on Virtualbox and haven't found a way yet to install LMS yet. Herein lies the major challenge of this project!
I'm looking forward to putting this all together and if I can get LMS working on top of FreeNAS I'll let you know how I do it. Meanwhile if anyone has already achieved this please post a comment with some tips!

Thanks for reading,