Over the past few years I have built a collection of external hard drives totaling about 2.4 TB and trying to share them across the 5+ machines I have in the house is getting quite painful. Not only do I need network storage but I also need a virtual machine server so I can set up the various server configurations I use for development. Using virtual machines for development brings a whole new light to the game, not only can I have several virtual machines for the various development environments, but I can also stand up different server configurations to make sure my applications can play nice in a real world IT infrastructure.
I started looking into Home Servers and NAS devices and I thought to myself “These manufacturers have to be wacked to think I’m gonna spend $500 for a bare bones system without drives”. By the time I purchased the server and the drives I needed, I’d be close to $2,000 dollars, which is a little out of my budget. I have a perfectly good mid-sized tower box with an Intel D975XBX motherboard and a Dual Core 2.2GHz processor, that currently holds 1.2 TB of storage all I really need to do is beef it up a little with enough memory to host the virtual machines and add the drive space I need to act as a network attached storage device for my home network.
So, I took a trip to my neighborhood Fry’s Electronics store and was able to pick up 4 Western Digital Caviar GP 1 TB drives for around $119 each. Now these are not the fastest drives in the world and they only have the standard 16 MB memory buffers on them, but who needs speed when all you’re doing is server up files on a network? With 4 of these drives I could have 3 TB of RAID 5 storage on-line ready to go in no time. I also picked up 4 DDR2 2GB PC42000 Memory Sticks to give me 8 GB of total memory, just enough so I could also host my virtual machines as well.
I have to give a shout out to the sales people at my local Fry’s because when I purchased the drives they were limiting them to one per customer, but they were able to get me out of the store with 4 of them, all at one time! Thanks Guys!
My total cost for the upgrade was just over $700, not bad for 3 TB of network storage and a virtual server to boot.
My next task will be to install Windows Server 2008 Standard Edition and get the Hyper-V role working so I can start to stand up some virtual machines.