I am completely new to Linux and am seeking help setting up an Ubuntu home server. I've watched/ read all the install tutorials I could find, but I can't seem to make them apply to both the concept in my head, or my hardware situation, so I need help.

The original concept I had in my head was to have two drives set up as raid1, so that if/when one fails, I can simply shut the machine down, change out the bad drive, and life goes on. And then I would back up the raid to an external hard drive. But now that I'm actually ready to install the server, I'm not sure what the right thing to do is, or how to do it. Is the OS supposed to be on the raid, or should it be on it's own physical drive? How do you back-up the OS should that drive fail? Do I even need a raid?

I have three hard drives at my disposal: (1) 250 GB, (1) 1TB, and (1) 2TB. (I am aware the raid1 would only be 1tb should it consist of the two bigger drives). I currently have just under 600gb in Music, photos, home videos, and movies.

The hardware is: HP Compaq Elite 8300 CMT Core i7-3770 3.4GHz 3rd Gen 8GB(RAM)

Intended Server use:

  1. Provide automated back-ups (specifically for Music, Photos, Home Videos and Movies), as well as back-up for 2 Windows 10 Machines.

  2. Plex Media Server that will transcode Home videos, movies and (future) DVR recordings to household Rokus.

  3. DVR: It seems in my research that MythTV is the best option.

  4. Remote access to files, maybe "OwnCloud"?

Down-time is a big deal to companies, and usually not a big deal with home servers. However, as a busy father, I don't have a lot of time to mess with computers. I want to both future-proof this server, as well as make it as easy to keep running as possible.

I've looked into Amahi Home Server, but it doesn't seem to be well-liked. My only other option is to just use Windows 10 Pro. I don't want to do that. Will someone teach me the way?


You can use Raid 1 for your OS and your data, but raid is not Backup. For your homeserver raid is nice but probably overkill and the second drive will add around 5 watts to your power consumption 24/7.

My advise is to use the 2Gb disk for your system and the 1Gb for backup.

Use LVM for your installation so you can easily add more diskspace later.

For backups you can use rsnapshot.

  • Just so I'm clear (after I've done more research): If I back my media files up using Ubuntu, the file system has to be Ext4, which means if the server goes down, I can't access my files from a Windows Machine. Since I'm not familiar with Linux, and may not be able to fix the problem, and if I can't access my files from a Windows machine, I've effectively lost my data (until someone can get the Linux system up). Am I on the right track with this? I am wondering if I'm actually putting my data in jeopardy because of my lack of experience with Linux. – C- Dawg Feb 23 '16 at 21:59
  • You can backup your data to a ntfs disk. You can mount ntfs disk with linux with the ntfs-3g driver, but this will not include file metadata like owners, groups and acces rights. – Uwe Burger Feb 23 '16 at 22:17
  • You can also use the ext2 or ext3 filesystem under linux. There is a windows driver for ext2 and ext3. – Uwe Burger Feb 23 '16 at 22:20
  • And you can use almost any computer with a linux live cd to access your data. – Uwe Burger Feb 23 '16 at 22:21

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