How did we get here?
To begin with, why would anyone need a network server? There can be several answers, including file storage, a plex server, or even a game server. Different uses means different ways of creating and storing data. There is no wrong way and virtually, no wrong equipment There are limitations, however, as to what you can do with what equipment.
In my case, I have a YouTube channel and keep not only raw footage, but finished videos. I do have a back up, of sorts, but it’s poorly done and not an elegant solution. There are duplicate files on two computers, and I use of a back up USB, and Western Digital cloud device. A device that needs to be reconfigured to be more efficient. Long story, short, I have no reliable, streamlined solution. I may not lose data, but it would be a pain to retrieve some of it.
Enter the HP FrankenDell. This computer has a Xeon E3 12700 v3 four core/ eight thread CPU on a Dell motherboard. It came from an Optiplex 9020, and has 16GB of memory tucked very creatively in an HP case from 2008. I’m looking for reliable file storage with something that runs efficiently, and the Xeon fits the bill. Originally, this a sleeper gaming PC, but the extra drive bays make it perfect. There is still the execution to tackle, though.
Setting up the network server?
One of the easier ways is simply create a new file on a hard drive and make it shareable. Doing this will give you an address of sorts that other computers on your network can find. The drive needs plenty of room and to stay connected to the network. The second step is to go to the next PC and find that drive location.
Click on ‘This PC’ in the file explorer. That presents you with a few options across the top, but it may require you right click on ‘This PC’ and chose ‘map network drive’. Select a drive letter you aren’t already using, and put in the address from the first PC. You need to use a double backslash ‘\\’ for this, so don’t forget. In my case, I also copied it to the desktop and changed the icon.
A simple test making sure anything going into that folder gets ‘dropped’ in the other PC’s shared folder and we were in business. It doesn’t solve all of my issues, but it’s a start. A start I can build on and improve. After ordering some new sleds for the additional dives, I have room for at least four or five drives and I can start the next step.
What is that, you ask? redundant storage, a raid solution to make sure I don’t lose data, and creating something I can access from anywhere. Those are some pretty lofty steps, but the first one was to get the ball rolling. Mission accomplished. The drive bays came in, so it’s time to add more storage, but very soon, we begin the next part, and of course, I’ll share the story.