I do not now, nor will I ever, charge any kind of fee to access my server. That being said, it does cost me both time and money to maintain and run everything. The biggest cost involved for me besides time, is hardware. Just recently we lost an 8tb hard drive, resulting in thousands of random episodes and movies being lost from the server. To replace this hard drive alone is 250$. It was suggested to me that I start a GoFundMe to help cover the costs incurred. I am starting such a campaign, however this is not to replace the cost of this one drive alone, I don't think that is fair. Drives go bad. The issue for me on this is the level of reliability with my current setup. I know that many of you reading this might not have have the technical knowledge to relate to some of this, but since I am creating a campaign for donations, I'm going to go into an explanation of both what my current setup is, and what direction the setup is going to give a deeper understanding to anyone who donates exactly what the money is going to be used for, and why. I'm going to keep this as basic as I know how. Let us begin.
Right now the "server" as I call it, is comprised of a windows desktop machine and 2 external Hard Drive Bays. The desktop machine (provided by Reno thank you very much) is running all the core applications. I turn off that computer, and the requests service and all movies and shows drop from the internet. This desktop is running the following:
► The media server platform that serves as the interface you use to actually watch the movies.
► The requests database platform that allows you to request new items.
► The TKW_Bot email and notification service.
► The DrivePool platform that combines all the drives to serve as file storage.
The biggest problem with the current setup is the hard drive bays. They are cheap, and have proven over the past year to be somewhat unreliable. It seems like every single time I have a hard drive crash, it's from Bay 1. I have decided not to use that bay anymore, which means I am down to one. The other drives that were in the bad bay are now connected internally, but this isn't the most reliable system and is asking for trouble down the road. What I need to build is a more reliable, more efficient storage solution that provides me with redundancy. This would prevent any data loss in the future if I have a drive crash. I would be able to just remove the bad drive, replace it with a new one, and the entire array rebuilds itself, resulting in zero data loss. There are many different ways to do this, and none of them are exactly cheap. I feel that my best solution is to build a NAS Server (Network-attached Storage). This is essentially another stand alone computer that is not running windows, it is running freeNAS as it's operating system and it's entire purpose is to manage the hard drives and storage for the server.
Let talk about just hard drive pricing. Prices vary depending on time of year and other factors. On average, it costs about 32dollars per Terabyte when buying larger internals. At the time of this write up for example, an 8Tb drive is going for 250$. Not all drives are created equal, and if you want to read more about how different drives are designed and priced, you can click here. I currently buy WD Red class drives for the server. Before this 8Tb drive crashed on me, the server had 32Tb of storage space available. Going by average pricing, that's a little over $1,000 of hardware, and that's just for the drives themselves. As you can see, it gets expensive quickly.
Luckily, when going to the new NAS system, I will be able to use my current drives, but my end goal is to have at least 50Tb of usable storage space. What I need is the machine to run it, and a few new drives to build in some redundancy to the system for data loss protection. There are lots of choices as to how to build and configure something like this, and pre-configured the basic ones start out around $1500. To save on costs, I'm going to build and configure the NAS myself, and base pricing for components starts out around $600, not including any drives. The new configuration will be like this.
I'm starting my campaign today with a goal of $1500 just to get started. This number may go up, it may go down, all depending on my research and what I feel is best in the long run and what deals I can get at the time the money is available. I expect it to take many months to save up enough to set up a proper system, and I can only hope I don't lose any more drives in the mean time. I will also be using this gofundme to dump my own money into. 100% of the money in this campaign will be going towards the NAS Server.
Please click either the button below or the button at the top to go to the gofundme page and donate. Anything you can give whenever you can give it would be greatly appreciated. Maintaining the server and filling everyone's requests really isn't that much work for me, but recovering from 8tb of data loss across the server is. It is a lot of work. Establishing a more secure storage method is badly needed for this server to continue. Thanks all.