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Setup Help for first time Home Server User


Bmouthboyo
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Hi Guys,

 

Firstly can I apologise if I am a little slow getting to grips with some of the key concepts here, although I would class myself as IT competent I have never really delved into server usage etc. I have a HP N54L that I have just updated the BIOS for and installed Server 2012 Essentials R2.

 

So far everything seems to be working great, it is connected to my Gigabit network with a static IP and I am remote desktoping into it fine (locally).

 

Main uses for Server:

 - Central file server for me and my wife (work files, pictures etc)

 - Media server (Plex) linked to Plex app on my Samsung HDTV

 - Media Storage (over TB of HD Rips, Music etc)

 - BlueIris Ipcam recorder (mainly for when on holiday, work etc not constantly)

 - Remote Desktop in from over Internet

 - Torrenting / Usenet (looking into couch potato and sickbeard to automate)

 - Minecraft server for a few mates (4 players)

 - Possibly central backups ( 2 macs so time machine use?)

 

I have been intrigued by virtual machines etc but not really sure how I could put them to any use at home.

 

Now the things I am currently stumped on are:

1) How do I get programs like Plex to start at bootup? On win7 it does it automatically but I gather from servers I need to make it a service? How do I best do this for things like minecraft server, sickbeard etc. I heard something about automatic service handling software that checks if a service has crashed and relaunches?

 

2) I currently am using the 250GB HDD that came with the N54L for the OS and I plan on buying 3 x 3TB WD Reds and using 2 pooled together for non vital media like movies, music etc and the other for Time machine backups, user files etc with most critical uploaded to cloud. Does this sound OK?

 

3) This is my main sticking point...Domains. I am kinda aware what they are but have no experience in using, setting up or maintaining them. From what I have read I am forced to use them with R2? But I am not sure of the consequences this has. Do I need to or can I just make the server part of the homegroup? I am very lost here as to the effects having to use domains will be.

 

4) Can anyone offer general advice and guidance before I start installing all my bits etc so I do not waste time. Looking at my requirements above can anyone see any problems I may hit given I am only used to Win XP and Win 7 basic networking.

 

Thanks in advance guys, I know I have a lot to learn but a few pointers will go a long way.

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For CouchPotato and sickbeard, install "from source" is the best option. It gets updated more often. It's a bit more difficult to setup, but .... It's worth it.

 

  1. Somebody recommended "NSSM" recently, and while I haven't had a chance to test it out yet, it looks very good. The other option is to use the Task Scheduler. It works, but isn't the best solution.
  2. Sounds great. 
    Though, personally, an SSD for the system disk is great. The performance gain is tangible!
  3. R2 supporst the "SkipDomainJoin" option still. It's if you're already joined to a domain that it has issues, IIRC.
    Also, domains are not as scary as you think. I actually did a BYOB show with PCDoc about all the advantages. And to be honest, I only lightly touched on some of them (such as Group Policies).
    http://www.mswhs.com/2014/02/the-byob-podcast-episode-139/
    The biggest issues is what happens when the server fails, and you don't have a good backup and/or a secondary domain controller (expensive).
  4. That's a loaded question...
    As long as the usernames match on server and client, and have the same password, you should be good. Also, if your not going to join to the domain, then make sure the client's workgroup is changed to match the server's "netBIOS name" (aka, the domain name, minus the ".local" bit)
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What will installing from source do over a normal installation?

 

NSSM is that one I heard about too, I downloaded it but how do I get it to run automatically? Does it load via task schedule and then once loaded handles the other tasks I want loading?

 

Is it OK to use one 3 TB drive for all my wife and I's files as well as time machine backups? Would I just assign a dedicated folder to it? Also is it easy to have folders for me and my wife (one personal one each and one shared) and only your own is visible. i.e I can see my folder with full access, and she can see hers with full access but not mess around with mine?

 

Are there any guides to the SkipDomainJoin process? Will the server function OK simply part of the homegroup? What would I forefit? Can I still use it to backup clients etc?

 

With my 2 other 3TB drives that I want to make into 1 large media volume, is there built in methods to do this in server 2012 Essentials R2 or do I need to use something like drivebender that everyone seems to talk about? (not really sure what it does other than software RAID?)

 

Thank you so much for your help so far :)

Edited by Bmouthboyo
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Folder sharing is a straightforward process. Although hou might be able to seeca folder doesn't mean you have access. Understand the difference between Share and Security permissions.

 

Plenty of skip domain how to's posted but I would suggest going to Paul Braren's site and use his. Www.tinkertry.com

 

The server will not be part of the "workgroup". It will be a domain and there is no way around that. As long as a user has an account and knows his credentials, he will have access.

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Agree that "Skipdomainjoin" is best option in your situation.  Paul Braren (Tinkertry) has both a video and a step by step guide which is foolproof.

Probably worth starting again to implement this.

 

Blue Iris will really tax your CPU (how many cameras) but I have no experience with the N44L specs! BI can be run as a service from start up.

 

I have just installed 3 cameras with BI on a 2012E R2. My experience is discussed here.

 

http://homeservershow.com/forums/index.php?/topic/7541-hyper-v-and-blue-iris/

Edited by Poppapete
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Folder sharing is a straightforward process. Although hou might be able to seeca folder doesn't mean you have access. Understand the difference between Share and Security permissions.

 

Plenty of skip domain how to's posted but I would suggest going to Paul Braren's site and use his. Www.tinkertry.com

 

The server will not be part of the "workgroup". It will be a domain and there is no way around that. As long as a user has an account and knows his credentials, he will have access.

 

So would my HDTV that accesses the Plex Server need an account created for it? or is this handled by the Plex Installation?

 

Blue Iris is only for when no one is in the house and I can remote access in if I am alerted of movement. I have 2 IP cameras and probably will get one more in the future. I live in Thailand and am back in the UK or on holiday a fair bit so just peace of mind really that I will be alerted if anyone enters the premises. When at home I do not want to run Blue Iris, just directly log into cameras if I want to have a nosey, and remote desktop into server to start Blue Iris if I forgot to start it when no one in.

 

Is it possible to wake a server up over the internet? Providing I have Dynamic DNS running to hold current Public IP?

 

Is the Skipdomainjoin workaround client side then? The guides does not list OSX as supported OS, will I be able to get the macs to access network drives easily?

Edited by Bmouthboyo
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So would my HDTV that accesses the Plex Server need an account created for it? or is this handled by the Plex Installation?

 

 

I don't know how Plex is setup but if you create the TV shared folder with Share and Security Permissions to "Everyone Read", then anyone on the network will be able to read that folder

 

Blue Iris is only for when no one is in the house and I can remote access in if I am alerted of movement. I have 2 IP cameras and probably will get one more in the future. I live in Thailand and am back in the UK or on holiday a fair bit so just peace of mind really that I will be alerted if anyone enters the premises. When at home I do not want to run Blue Iris, just directly log into cameras if I want to have a nosey, and remote desktop into server to start Blue Iris if I forgot to start it when no one in.

 

Is it possible to wake a server up over the internet? Providing I have Dynamic DNS running to hold current Public IP?

 

Don't get into a practice of putting a server to sleep.  It's just a REALLY bad idea.

 

Is the Skipdomainjoin workaround client side then? The guides does not list OSX as supported OS, will I be able to get the macs to access network drives easily?

 

The MACS will be able to access the network, just not be able to be backed up on the Skip Domain.  The Skip Domain is a client side configuration.

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So would my HDTV that accesses the Plex Server need an account created for it? or is this handled by the Plex Installation?

 

 

I don't know how Plex is setup but if you create the TV shared folder with Share and Security Permissions to "Everyone Read", then anyone on the network will be able to read that folder

 

Blue Iris is only for when no one is in the house and I can remote access in if I am alerted of movement. I have 2 IP cameras and probably will get one more in the future. I live in Thailand and am back in the UK or on holiday a fair bit so just peace of mind really that I will be alerted if anyone enters the premises. When at home I do not want to run Blue Iris, just directly log into cameras if I want to have a nosey, and remote desktop into server to start Blue Iris if I forgot to start it when no one in.

 

Is it possible to wake a server up over the internet? Providing I have Dynamic DNS running to hold current Public IP?

 

Don't get into a practice of putting a server to sleep.  It's just a REALLY bad idea.

 

Is the Skipdomainjoin workaround client side then? The guides does not list OSX as supported OS, will I be able to get the macs to access network drives easily?

 

The MACS will be able to access the network, just not be able to be backed up on the Skip Domain.  The Skip Domain is a client side configuration.

 

 

Sorry if this seems a bit silly but I am confused by your last comment regarding skipdomain.:

 

Is the Skipdomainjoin workaround client side then? The guides does not list OSX as supported OS, will I be able to get the macs to access network drives easily?

 

The MACS will be able to access the network, just not be able to be backed up on the Skip Domain.  The Skip Domain is a client side configuration.

 

What exactly does the skipdomain join achieve on a client? Without it they can still see the servers shared folders etc?

 

Could I achieve a setup where I do not use a Domain on my clients, by the macs are able to have Read / Write access to shared folders on the server and using those able to assign Time Machine backups to them?

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Well, for sure your Macs will not be able to join the Domain, so Skipdomainjoin wouldn't make any sense for them anyway. IOW, Macs cannot be part of a Windows Domain. That said, it doesn't mean the Macs cannot have access to shared folders. This used to be possible, so I assume it still is. I don't know how to do it on the recent versions of Windows Server, but a quick search of Bing or google should help.

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