Family Data Consolidation (maximize resources & optimize speed)

Question is geared towards orchestrating my family data.

I have an underutilized workstation and I am in quandary of whether I should build a separate server for my family data/vm’s or use my workstation for everything at home.

  1. I play games to relax on Windows 10 Pro (some games are NOT available in Linux)

  2. I use Pop_OS and Windows 10 Pro for work (although because of Tom’s videos I will no longer use Windows 10 for work - all open source software available)

  3. I use approximately 8~10 VM’s per day

  4. I have 20TB of data strewn about (USB flash drives, hard disks) and keeps growing…with photos,movies,videos of my children, etc…

My ideal scenario would be consolidation to minimize expenses:

a) My wife has her own laptop but it’s very olde and her Windows 10 system is a bit of a …nightmare with old hardware.

b) We both have lots of data that we share but we do it by plugging in our respective USB drives

c) I am using Plex for movies (almost 90% full on TB drives and NVME’s)

Going forward I’ve considered the following:

  1. Procure an LSI card to max out throughput from six or eight 12TB SATA drives (not SAS as my home is not enterprise grade)

  2. Upgrade home switch to 10gig

  3. Install a 2nd GPU on workstation - 10gig NIC ready

  4. Install Unraid or FreeNAS?

  5. Manage plex movies, vm’s, data, and a windows VM for wife (GPU passthrough not required as wife does not play any games)

  6. Manage personal workstation: (Windows 10 Pro) will be wiped out and install Pop_OS VM as host. Create a VM inside Pop_OS VM for Windows games (GPU passthrough). OR

  7. Manage personal workstation: (Windows 10 Pro) will be wiped out and install Pop_OS VM as host. Create a separate VM for Windows games (GPU passthrough). KVM Switch?

Any input would be enormously appreciated!


Huge Yeti

All I would add is setup your NAS however you like but also budget for the backup ! 10gig networking still seems to be expensive to me, gig networking seems to work well for 20 years and is pretty cheap. Having a machine running vms with fast processor and lots of ram would also probably be handy, leave the NAS for sharing files.

Having built out my network, I’m glad I went with a 48-port switch (which wasn’t that much more than a 24 port), you may find out later you need more ports than you imagined ! You might want to also consider PoE on the switch if it isn’t going to cost much more.

I see. So your solution is NOT to mix my workstation with a NAS.

  1. Workstation would be exclusive for work and games (Load Linux for host and GPU passthrough for windows VM) . No unraid/proxmox/freenas

  2. Build a separate server for NAS for file serving only (choose flavor of NAS OS)

What 24 port POE switch do you have? Netgear?

Absolutely ! When something goes wrong, and it will, you will have a mess if it’s all one box.

I use 2 QNAP NAS boxes generally they just work, are small, quiet and moderately priced. It’s ok as long as I just want to store files, I’ve had issues when I want to host containers, run virtualisation, bla bla … Other things are now hosted on a separate box running Proxmox.

I made a mistake buying the Netgear GS110TP poe switch, it’s 8 poe ports plus 2 SFP modules but the modules are freaking expensive ! My Netgear 48 port GS748 hasn’t got PoE but I could have bought single switch if I knew how much the GS110TP (£170) would ultimately cost me :frowning:

The GUI on Netgear switches are terrible, but once they are configured you never have to look at them again.

I should add I have the QNAP mostly because they have IP camera software that just works. If I didn’t then I would go the freenas route if I could find a small enough unit.

Agreed. I suppose I’ve always had the home role of “Admin/tech-support/architect/on-prem-hosting” from one workstation. I need to separate these tasks correctly and avoid future mishaps consolidated in one endpoint.

And yes SFP modules are expensive but I can’t justify the install for them right now, although I do have a Microtik router that I use for lab purposes (one SFP port available).

Thanks Neogrid.

Cheers m8.