Help with a build

Hey Guys. I posted this on reddit and then it told me I shud bring this post here. I’m really hoping someone can help me with a build fingers crossed I’ve been looking through the forum and I could really use your expertise.

Hey everyone.

I’ve been digging around on the internet and reddit for months, looking for a build I can replicate for myself and I haven’t been able to find anything. I’m hoping someone can help.

My current setup has 2 drobos (a b810n and b800fs) on which I keep my data. Because of the limit on volume size, even though I’m upgrading my 6TB hdds to 12TBs, i feel like i’ll be running out of space very very soon (one drive has a volume limit of 32TB and one has a volume limit of 64TB). I don’t want to buy another drobo because I want to invest in a system I can grow over time. Drobos (and similar devices) are also not proving to be very cost effective. As I mentioned, i’ve been looking around on the internet for a solution but I don’t think I’ve found anything. I’ve looked on r/DataHoarder and r/JDM_WAAAT for builds.

I always had a drobo solution because of my limited programming knowledge and I do understand that that needs to change. I’m looking for resources where I can start learning.

In the past few months I’ve been looking up differences between a NAS, SAN and DAS and different OSes. While I’m open to the storage concepts as redundacy is a key feature that all 3 systems have, I’ve recently discovered that the OS will be an issue too because FreeNAS requires all your drives to be of the same capacity and unRAID has a limit of 30 drives. I’m looking to build something with 24 bays and then add another 24 bays a year or so down the line.

I’m a very competent DIY person, provided the instructions given to me are good.

Here are some of the resources I’ve been using to build my own knowledge:

  2. r/DataHoarder
  3. r/JDM_WAAAT
  4. r/Plex
  5. r/drobo
  6. Countless videos on youtube include Byte my Bits’ Zeus server and linus tech tips
  7. Other forums.

If you’ve built something, I’d love for you to share your build and its cost (without the HDDs of course) or if u can help me with a build I’d also be grateful for that. A relevant build to post would be at least 100TB.

One important point to note: I live in the Middle East. I shop online from american stores but shipping takes a little bit of time. So I do have access to,, etc.

Welcome to SB Forums. Please advise what you’re going to be using your server for? That will help direct you to where you should start. Also, don’t count out unRAID. It may turn out to be the best solution, even if you have to run unRAID on two separate servers. Also, 30 drives in the array have shown to be enough for those that replace smaller drives with higher density drives such at 8/10/12TB drives.

Hello. Thank you for your response.

I am open to any OS to be honest. Be it debian, unraid, freenas or openmediavualt. But scalability is the most important factor. I need to be able to grow my server with time.

My primary use for the server is media storage and running plex.

If scalability is important to you, unraid is your one-stop-shop.

What are you Plex plans? Simultaneous Transcodes?

I don’t’ think 4k transcodes are feasible because they’ll drive the cost of the server too much. I share plex with a few friends and have had (maximum) 8 streams running at a time. Mostly, people use Direct Play which works great. I would like it if my server could transcode 3 or 4 streams though.

But from my understanding, unRaid can only handle 30 drives. what if I want to have more?

You start upgrading to more dense drives…

So an average hard disk in my experience tends to last 2-3 years. A fair price point for me is $300. With my first drobo for $300 i got 6TB hdds. Now i’m getting 12TBs (when on sale) for $300. If in the 2 years I need to expand, I need to have more slots to plug hard disks in, which is why scalability is important. I don’t think i’ll go past two 24 bay server units because by the time the old hdds will be crashing, i will be upgrading to denser hard disks. So the extra bays will allow for expansion until the old hard disks crash and can be replaced.

I think 3 years for a hard drive is on the low end. I’m at 5 years on some of my hard drives.

If you don’t spin them down, you keep them cool, and relatively vibration free you should have at least a good 5-7 years out of them. I still have disks in use that are over 63,000 hours.

You’re correct. I don’t think the vibration and spin downs are problem. I live in a Middle Eastern Country. The hard disks stay cool because I have heavy air conditioning but dust and sand are major problems here.

HDDs are inherently sealed units, so dust and sand shouldn’t be contributing factors.

I know. But I have no other logical explanation. My HDDs crash on abt 3 years like clock work. I’ve made sure i’m buying different serials, installed external fans and what not. Maybe its the drobos. ¯_(ツ)_/¯.

Either way… scalability is important for this reason. I want to be plug in high capacity hdds as their price drops over time and want to be able to replace the older ones without losing data. (if my hdds started lasting longer, it would mean I’d want more slots for the new ones i’m installing) I want the functionality of my drobos, but no limitations as to drive/volume size which is why I’m hoping to get help with a build.