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Newbie cannonball into the server pool deep end, send lifeguard asap



Well I had my hardware listed and 90% of my message completed, but my finger touched the mouse back button and...  Yeah... ggwp.


After that I'm just going to throw out my questions instead before I forget those also, of course this might not be the right forum for them.  I was pretty eerie about storage spaces when I learned that you can't simply unplug a drive in the pool and connect it to another computer to be able to read and extract the date in the case of a catastrophic emergency...  So I am glad to have come across Stablebit Drivepool.




-I got the Norco RPC-4220 case and I got the SAS cables with sidebands because I thought they were needed to send the signal to the hotswap HDD lights.  Is my understanding correct or should I have got the SAS cables without sidebands?


-Any ideas to control dust for the front of this case or is it pretty controlled as is?  I was looking at the Rosewill RSV-L4500, it didn't have the hotswap front, but it had a nice setup to place a magnetic dust filter in the front; however 15 drives would have been risky in the future for my setup plus no hotswap.


-This server is to share media with family in and out of state and I wanted them to have their own login.  Concerning Windows Server Essentials 2012 R2 Domain setup should I be doing the normal setup or should I try out what this link below is describing?


- Also, does anyone know Windows Server 2012 Essentials monitor / enforce the 25 CAL / 50 Device list? Can that be controlled from within the server? Say if one login is used to connect 5 devices instead of the allowed 2, is there a way to track / block this?


-I was also going to try Jriver Media Center first after watching this guy demonstrate it on Youtube.  From what I saw it looks better than Plex, of course I hear Plex's transcoding is top notch.


Any help is appreciated.  This is my first server and first time with any of this software.  I'll also try to stay up to date with my progress and results.

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Well, thank you for your interest in our product!



As for the SAS cables, it shouldn't need the sidebands. Specifically, the backplane rails for hooking up the drives detect powered on drives and data activity. It then uses it's own circuitry to display activity and power LEDs for each drive.  

So this will happen even if you're using a reverse breakout cable.  




As for the dust, I have a bunch of "hacky" solutions here... but basically keep it in a well ventilated room, that has air filters/purifiers. That, or get a rack that includes filters in it.

 Absolutely worst case? Nylon pantyhose over the front (it's very hacky, but it works).



If you use the "tinkertry" method, you'll still have to create matching logons for each computer.

Otherwise, anyone with a domain user account (eg, an account in Essentials) can log into any domain joined computer with their domain account.  If you enable "folder Redirection", they'll share the user folders (Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Videos, etc) on all of the computers, as the folders will be located on a network share.  This is actually really neat to use, and the files are automatically setup with the "Offline File Sync", so that they're cached locally, even if you use a laptop and "leave home" for a while. 



As for the CALs.... well, there are none.  It's limited, but it's not done via "CALs".  It's a "special case" basically.

Specifically, you're limited to 25 user accounts on the server (This doesn't include the built in accounts or "service accounts" for MS-SQL or the like).   This is 25 user accounts in the Dashboard.  It won't let you add more than that.  

As for the 50 devices, it means that you can only connect (and optionally backup) up to 50 PCs/laptops/tablets/devices, and that's counted through the dashboard again.

As for tracking stuff... that's a lot more complicated (especially depending on what exactly you mean).



As for media, I absolutely love Emby. It's a freaking fantastic UI. It works really well locally, especially if you want to set up one or more HTPCs.  It's biggest issue is when it comes to transcoding. It just doesn't do a good job (well, it does, but it can only handling a couple of streams at best, because of how much CPU it uses).

Plex is fantastic, but it's UI isn't as good, and I've had weird issues with it.  But it's transcoding is top notch, and still works really well as an HTPC.

There is also Kodi (which the plex home theater app is based on, actually).  It works very well, but it's a bit more hands on.

So there are plenty of options here. I'd recommend trying them all, and see what fits YOUR needs the best.

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I use Emby on my local/wired devices and Plex on my tablets, phones, and when remote.


One of the things I like about Plex is the ability to "Sync". What this does is pre-transcode the file, then place the file locally on my tablet. I have a 64GB MicroSD card in my tablet, and if I select low quality, I can get a BUNCH of movies and TV shows on the tablet. And, great thing is, on a 7" tablet, the low setting looks perfect. 


You can install both Plex and Emby server applications on your server with no issues.

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