Automated Home Readers 20 Terabyte Home Server [Photos]

So, you have a nice HiFi and you’ve ripped your entire music collection in uncompressed WAV format.  You also have full ISO images of all your DVD movies and of course you’ll need lots of space for ripping HiDef Blu-ray flicks too.

So what sort of space is it going to take – allowing a little room for expansion of course – and how do you run a server like that at home?

How about 18 SATA drives, across a range of 1TB, 1.5TB and 2TB sizes, all installed into two high densiity towers.  This baby could heat your home!  Noise is apparently not an issue as it has had quieter fans fitted as well as other noise-reducing work.

The owner says he’s “too scared” to test the power usage with this setup, lets just say its not going to be cheap to run.

20TB Windows Home Server

High density SATA drive bays – Neatly wired on the inside

The motherboard used is an ASUS M2N32WS Pro with an AMD X2 CPU and 2Gb of RAM.  (All the Esata-to-sata port multiplier boards, external cases and PCI-X to e-sata card were supplied by

With room in the second enclosure for a further 10 drives, he’s not going to run out of space anytime soon!

20TB Windows Home Server

One of the 2 towers holding the 18 drives

It’s all tied together using Windows Home Sever which aggregates all the drives into a single storage pool. Our reader reports the WHS setup has proved stable and fast and adding new drives to increase the pool is trivial.  Here’s a screenshot from the WHS Console showing the 18 drives and the pooled space.

20TB Windows Home Server

Click for full size version

Our Own DIY JukeBox Server MkII : SATA Drives

15 Comments on "Automated Home Readers 20 Terabyte Home Server [Photos]"

  1. Peer Oliver Schmidt | August 27, 2009 at 1:44 pm |

    Why store all audio in uncompressed WAV instead of lossless compression format like flac?

  2. Sir Henry Wibble | August 27, 2009 at 2:17 pm |

    LOL – That’s a conversation you don’t want to have with an audiophile!

  3. Yeah, an inane conversation. The bits that come out of the computer are exactly the same

  4. Why bother wasting time converting wav to flac?

    He has 20Tb of space and as a &#xag;e of his entire video/music collection the difference in space savings is going go be worth very little. In fact if you added all the time to do the conversion it could easily have allowed more rips to be done in that time. His time is worth more than the disk space used.

  5. Compressing us usually worth it – you always have enough spare CPU to decompress, and decompression is always much faster than pulling the sectors off the disk.

    It’s basically that CPU bus bandwidth outruns disk bus bandwidth, and caching benefits (on CPU, memory and disk controller) double if you’re compressing, which only adds to making not compressing silly.

    I compress everything – unless it’s being read ‘continuously’ and/or you have plenty of spare disk cache, it’s worthwhile.

  6. Don’t forget that ISOs of DVDs are already compressed video source. Therefore compressing again with disk compression software is pretty pointless. You’d have to re-encode to another format.

    I personally would take the DVDs down to 2GB mkv files and I’d be surprised if you could tell the difference – or see enough of a difference to make it worth while. There’s plenty of software out there to batch convert ISOs to MKVs so just a case of letting it run and run and run and run and run. This would drastically reduce the storage requirements.

    But as somebody else pointed out – it’s a time vs cost of disk issue here. If the chap( or chap’ess of course) is time poor then stick with the disks. (yes I do have more than a few TB of storage about )

  7. I’m interested in finding out more about this wonderful project.. Does the creator have a website or anything? Or can he contact me?

  8. Just one thought, what happens when the hard drive controller gets scragged… Does he have 20T of backup space?

  9. Flacs have tags – waves dont – thats enough reason for me to not want to use wave.

  10. I have not looked into WHS but personally use UnRaid with about 9TB of storage so far. Again it supports mixed drives and provides redundancy for failure of any single drive. A 1TB drive would provide redundancy for up to 16 1TB drives of storage for example. Whats the redundancy like in WH for a setup of this size?

  11. Interesting – I have the same case (only 1!), and the same mobo, running WHS. The onboard disk ctlrs are very flakey….

    Would the creator perhaps pl share more details on the PCI-X / eSata boards used in the build?


  12. Compressing from WAV -> FLAC is generally a >= 50% reduction. In other words, take n*HDDs used in this example for audio and cut them in half. The decompression CPU penalty is extremely minimal (e.g. Foobar2000 on my box playing back FLAC with max compression doesn’t even trigger 1% CPU usage).

    As for the video, it’s most likely worth it to compress those as well. Even with minimal compression and using FLAC as the audio codec, you’ll save a ton of space.

  13. For those serious about storage check out the backblaze storage pod:

    67TB in a 4U server case. They have released all the plans and BOM if you want to build your own.

  14. phibertron | April 8, 2010 at 8:02 pm |

    What case is that?

  15. Just looked at the Backblaze solution. Amazing engineering and thought gone into it – but for a commercial service, no redundant hardware? the drives are RAID’ed, but what happens if any of the PSU’s/disk controllers/motherboard/CPU fail?! I would want confirmation that data is managed over a clustered pair of these before I parted with any of my money to host data…

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