"Server Farm", a "slightly different" view at this topic (1 Viewer)


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  • December 17, 2010
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    I like to introduce you the next step in the evolution of my PC- infrastructure. Maybe you remember the first step:
    You may noticed that I like and prefer unusual computer cases there already. This project takes this to the next level. More about it later...

    Early this year I got a brand new AVR, a Pioneer VSX-529 with nice network capabilities, replacing my 20 years old Yamaha AVR. After playing around with the network features I decided I need a dedicated streaming server for my music collection. Normally this can be done by an average PC as an extra use- case. But this won't fit into my power saving plans. Did not want to have a full blown PC up and running only to listen to music.
    My first thought was my FritzBox DSL- Router as it has an in-build media server and is up and running 24/7 nevertheless. This is working, but due to some really "wise" :mad: decisions of the builders of the FritzBox, all media served by the UPnP server are not accessible the "normal" way any longer... So this definitely is a no go.

    "This is a really 'classical' usage for a Raspberry Pi" was my next thought. But after some research in the internet I've bought a Banana Pi. There are lots of derivatives of the "godfather" of all mini- computers. Most of them are offering more power but also are a lot more expensive. Excerpt for the Banana Pi. This is available for exactly the same price as the RasPi2. The Raspberry Pi2 as a Quad- Core CPU and the Banana Pi "only" has a Dual Core CPU. But the Banana's Dual Core is running on a higher frequency than the Raspberry's Quad Core. The GPU nearly is identical. If I would have used this as a Media Center I definitely would have preferred the Raspberry Pi2 as it has a lot better software optimisation. Kodi is running on a RPI2 at least on a Level, as if MP1 is running on an Atom D525. Nothing to get exciting about but definitely usable.

    But I wanted a NAS, a streaming server for Music, a downloading station for JDownloader2 and a printer server for Cloud Printing. The RPi2 still only has 100MBit Ethernet connection and only USB 2.0 connectors for HDD. The Banana Pi has GBit Ethernet and an SATA port. So it makes a lot better Mini- NAS imho. As storage a 320 GB 2,5" HDD laying around here is used.

    As operating system I choose OpenMediaVault. All that FreeNAS wants to offer but did not get it properly, OMV did. And in such an easy way that nearly everyone can handle it properly. You definitely don't need to be a Linux expert for OMV... And OMV is offering all I need as a plugin. No fiddling to get JDownloader running and the miniDLNA plugin uses such a small amount of resources that the Cortex A20 chip not even gets warm during streaming. Average CPU load during streaming is about 20%...

    Got this setup running some days, without any enclosure at all. It is doing it's job a hundred percent, more than I ever had expected. Really a great little system. ;)
    Now it was time to build a case for it. As there is no ready made case for a Banana Pi with a HDD avaliable, you need to build one of your own. After some tries the size of a CD jewel-case looks perfect to me. And as the system is for music a CD make sense to me...

    In the middle of the building I decided to buy some lath instead of using ply-wood stripes as this will get a higher precision.

    So I'm driving to the next DIY-store but instead of some lath I came home with this:

    That's why I made myself a "Server Farm".:D Originally this was meant for feeding birds in winter time. But it also makes a great housing for the Banana Pi. The HDD and the Pi was mounted by some self-adhesive Velcro Strips right to the walls of the farmhouse.

    The necessary cables are routed through the back- side feeding hole. Without the cables nothing would tell this is a computer...

    And now the Banana Pi powered "Server Farm" is on it's final destination, serving thousands and thousands of music albums with only 2 watts power consuming. It completely is invisible and inaudible, but does a great job.

    I really can recommend the Banana Pi and OpenMediaVault for Mini- NAS purposes like this 100%...

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