Thursday, January 14, 2016

A Media Server with Xen, Ubuntu and Docker

The post is about building a media server for myself and I'm just getting started so I thought I'd document what I am planning and the progress I make toward my planned objectives.

First the objective: A media server that is...
  • Small and quiet (fan-less) yet powerful enough to handle serving video, audio and pictures as well as transcoding video files.
  • Total SSD preferred. 1TB min
  • Support for Xen hypervisor
  • Intel based (keeping it simple).
  • 100BaseT full duplex (two would be good)
  • Runs headless
  • 64G RAM
  • USB3
  • DisplayPort
  • Wifi
  • Xeon or i3 min (net 8 cores with hyperthreading)
My plan is to load this box with Xen and Ubuntu for both the privliged kernel and the hosted OS's. From there I plan on running the media server(s) in Docker VM's

I'm off to Fry's the evening to see if I can get the hardware together...

2016-01-14 22:00 EDT 

After visiting Fry's and looking at the compact PC they had, I began to question my approach. First off the biggest little box is a two core, four thread i7 with a max of 16GB of memory. It did have a SATA stick position and a standard laptop sized drive bay. The 500 GB Samsung stick was 179 if I remember, I'm pretty sure the 500GB drive was about the same price. 

That seems to be a lot of storage in that little box for the amount of CPU it has. Would it be better to put the media on some sort of NAS rather than the local system? If so does it make since to invest in one of these Intel systems for sale at Fry's or possibly find something on eBay? The price of this mini powerhouse was going to exceed one thousand dollars and that's what caused me to reevaluate what I'm am trying to do.

After reconsidering my purchase decision I began to think about what I'm really trying to do. That is building a Home DVR/DVP setup. The bulk of the set up is software and one of my objectives is to make this a virtualized, Docker based servers. As I thought about it I realized I was really being driven my my old school ways. My first thought was to go out and buy hardware. As it turns out I already have it. It's my Macbook Pro. It has i7 4 core, 16 GB, & 1 TB SSD.

I won't get to play with Xen with Ubuntu running on separate system but I can run VirtualBox on OSx so I think I'm good for now. 

Next steps:

  • Install  the Sage DVR
  • Get off-air recording using Ethernet based TV tuner 
  • Install Plex Player
  • Configure home router to map ports to the ports for Plex
This will keep me busy for awhile... 
BTW: I'm a been home-brewing for the past two years and I'm brewing this weekend. Brewing Fusty's Number 21 American Pale Ale.