What to do with an old Desktop PC?
Why not build a media server?
What is a media server and why would you want one? Well, I’ll tell you. Do you have files that you wish all of your computers in the house could access? Maybe watch a movie on the TV that is saved on your laptop? Play music through your stereo that is on your desktop? Make backups of your laptop in case it gets run over by a train?
A media server is good for a lot of things, but you have to realize that it not only can handle media, but all files such as your work documents and backups.
I can watch movies from my server on my Playstation 3 as well as run a batch file that I wrote to back up my important documents so that I always have duplicates of my work.
So, let’s get started.
If your system has at least a i486 or amd64 platform, 1gb of RAM and 1GB harddrive or USB flash drive for the operating system, then you are good to go.
Download the .iso file for the installation at http://sourceforge.net/projects/openmediavault/files/0.3/openmediavault_0.3_amd64.iso/download
Let’s prepare the hardware for the OS installation.
First, disconnect all of the harddrives and storage devices that you have except for the device that you will be using for the OS installation. For instance, you can use a USB flash Drive to host the OS, but you need to verify that the BIOS will allow you to select USB as the 1stBoot Priority device.
Second, boot your computer using the installation media that you created.
The following steps are pretty self-explanatory:
Follow the prompts and answer where you are, what time zone, etc..
Once installation is complete, you will be prompted to remove your installation media.
Remove the media and continue. The server will then reboot.
Once your server has rebooted, you will need to go to your router and look at the status of your network and find out what IP address your new “Openmediaserver” . Personally, I set up a DHCP reservation for my Openmediavault (Set a static IP for my OMV using my router).
In my case, my OMV is 10.0.0.249.
Whatever your IP address is for your OMV, this will be the address that you will put into your web browser.
In my case, I simply type 10.0.0.249 into my browser and it opens the Web GUI so that I can configure my OMV. The default Username and PW word for the WebGui are : Username ‘admin’ and Password ‘openmediavault’ YOU WILL WANT TO CHANGE THIS LOGIN ONCE YOU GET YOUR SERVER RUNNING.
Once you have seen your Web interface, you are on the home stretch.
Shutdown your server and remove the power source.
Plug in all of the hard drives that you plan to use for your media server.
Restore power and turn on your server.
Log into the OMV using your web browser at the IP address for your OMV server.
This is the WebGUI that you will see:
First, go to the System Information tab under the Diagnostics folder and verify that all of the information is correct. For example, if you have 2 GB of RAM installed, you should see 1.97GiB on the Memory Usage bar.
Then, you will want to go to the Access Rights Management folder. Select ‘User’
Select the Admin account and setup a password.
I also setup another account with a different password with admin rights just in case something happens to the first Admin, but that is just for good measure.
Then, go to the Storage tab:
Depending on what you plan to accomplish, this is where there are a couple ways to set up your server for what suits you best. Hopefully, you have put some thought into your build and you have multiple Hard Drives. If so, you will want to go to RAID Management.
If you are not familiar with the different RAID configurations and what the dependencies are for each, I suggest that you independently research your options and come up with the strategy that best suits your needs. Just whatever you do, keep in mind that Hard Drives fail, that’s what they do. If you do not have some sort of redundancy built into your storage device, when you have a Drive failure, you are guaranteed to lose data.
You can view your physical storage devices by clicking on ‘Physical Discs’
Once you have set up your RAID, you can then view your Filesystem.
Once you have your Drives configured, click on Access Right Management.
Got to Shared Folders and set up the Shares that you would like to see. The folders that I have set up are:
- Backup (this is for my documents, software, tools, etc.)
Once you have configured your Shared Folders, you can start enabling Services in the Services menu to use those Shared Folders for NFS, SMB/CIFS.
Depending on what Operating Systems you are running at home, you will likely want at least SMB/CIFS and NFS.
Updated 3/31/2012 – you can get some great plugins by downloading a file from http://omv-plugins.org/ and then using the OMV WebGUI to upload into the Plugins page. Once installed, it will give you the choice for some really nice features. Once that I particularly like it MiniDLNA, which operates the same way that MediaTomb does, it is just much easier to install or give instruction on how to install – Point, Click, Install & you are done.
If you want to install some plugins, they are in the System folder. Select each one that you want and choose install.
I also recommend iTunes/DAAP, Apple Filing and SSH.
Using SSH, you are can install some other services that run well on OMV such as Mediatomb.
Mediatomb is a DLNA Plug n Play service that allows PnP devices like your Playstation 3 to see the files on your OMV.
Installing Mediatomb on your OMV:
Using Putty or other SSH tool, log into root@[yourOMVipaddress]
Once you are at a command prompt, follow this instruction
$ apt-get install mediatomb
Once that has completed its install, you will have Mediatomb running in the background of your server.
As I find other plug-ins that I like, I will update them here.
There are so many ways to configure the permissions for the Shared Folders that I am not going to specifically cover them here. If you have questions about integrating with Active Directory or managing permissions, the OpenMediaVault Forum is a great place to ask these questions.
At the end of all of this, you should have a functional network storage device for your house, business or whatever makes you happy.
If you have an old Desktop sitting around that needs some love and you do not want to follow this tutorial, gift it to someone. It is doing no good in your closet.
Note added 3/31/2012 regarding your Network Controller –
If you are not getting the desired speeds from your OMV that you would like, you may want to check the network configuration and compare that with your Hardware.
You can install “lshw” by connecting to your OMV via SSH. To do this, open up Terminal (for Linux Users or Putty for Windows users and follow these steps):
$ ssh root@[the IP address of your server]
$enter password for root@YourServer
root@openmediavault$ <— If you see this, then you are now in an SSH terminal in your OMV.
$sudo apt-get install lshw
$sudo lshw -C Network
The output should show something to this affect:
root@openmediavault:~# sudo lshw -C Network
description: Ethernet interface
product: RTL-8169 Gigabit Ethernet
vendor: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd.
physical id: 0
bus info: pci@0000:01:00.0
logical name: eth0
capacity: 1GB/s <– Max Speed of Network Interface
width: 32 bits
capabilities: pm bus_master cap_list rom ethernet physical tp mii 10bt 10bt-fd 100bt 100bt-fd 1000bt 1000bt-fd autonegotiation
configuration: autonegotiation=on broadcast=yes driver=r8169 driverversion=2.3LK-NAPI duplex=full firmware=N/A ip=10.0.0.249 latency=64 link=yes maxlatency=64 mingnt=32 multicast=yes port=MII speed=1GB/s
resources: irq:19 ioport:de00(size=256) memory:fe9fdf00-fe9fdfff memory:fea00000-fea1ffff(prefetchable)
If you know that you have a Gigabit NIC, Gigabit Router and Switches, then you can use the following command to set the NIC to Gigabit speeds:
root@openmediavault:~# sudo ethtool –change eth0 speed 1000 duplex full
Once I manually enabled 1000 duplex full, I am getting much better data transfer speeds. I guess it helps to turn things on occasionally.