Need help building a huge 16-bay home storage server

Need help building a home server, mostly for storage and plex media server for 4 people and I want to be able to access it remotely (when on vacation).
More than anything I need hardware suggestions that can be bought in EU.

I have no experience with this and I actually planned on building it a year ago but it got too confusing and then just bought another external HDD, I really don’t know anything about VMs, dockers, and a lot more.
I’m not even sure what are all of the hardware that I need for my simple use case.

I think i want a case (and MOBO) capable of fitting 16 3.5" HDD’s in total for main storage, but would only start with 1 storage vdev of 8 hard drives in radz2 configuration (probably 16TB HDD’s x 6 equals around 80TiB).
After two years I’ll probably add that second storage vdev.

I was thinking of 2 mirrored 250GB SSD’s as boot drives, two mirrored nvme 2TB for SPECIAL vdev and maybe one nvme for L2ARC, or maybe I need SLOG?
For “80TiB” data I think that 2x32 GB RAM is more than good, and could add two more if needed later.

Case can be tower or rack type, hot-swappable bays are preferred but are not required.
Was even looking at 15-bay internal rack chassis thinking that there is probably a way of fitting one extra HDD if you can engineer some mounting place for it.

I want it to be reasonably cheap but don’t have a fixed budget and would rather spend a bit extra for something faster that can be upgraded (if I ever want to add 3rd vdev, or use it as workstation for 3D modeling software or something, that I don’t need to replace everything).

Nothing in your use case calls for L2ARC (streaming the same video again and again?) or SLOG (no sync writes).
Otherwise reasonable plan, but I’d make any special vdev a 3-way mirror—and it probably does not need 2 TB, unless there are many “small files” as well.

Remote access would be through a VPN. Do not expose your NAS to the Web.

As for the case and/or a complete system, your best bet would be a local refurbisher.

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Sounds similar to my norco build.

I’d just go for 24 bays.

How are people going to get to your Plex? How about your remote admin?

I’d suggest installing Plex (or Jellyfin) in a sandbox.

Agree with that. But you will want to expose the Plex or jellyfin port to the net. I assume.

I couldn’t find a way to login to a vpn from j random smart tv :wink:

I accomplish both by using pfsense as my router/firewall. It runs OpenVPN so I can log in to my network from outside. It runs HAProxy so it can http route incoming web connections to a port on my network. And it also manages my acme certificates, and does all the tls wrapping.

And the pfsense runs as a vm on my TrueNAS.

Local used market where I live is almost non-existing and I still don’t know what features the motherboard needs to have for what I want, can you gave me a few good examples for motherboard?

Which slots do i need for future expansion, will i need NIC for faster internet?
Nvme SSD are more reliable so I thought 2-way mirror is enough and didn’t see motherboards with 3 slots for nvme, especially older/used ones (are PCIe cards with nvme slots option for this?).

I probably won’t add L2ARC and SLOG (btw, can they be added later).

And regarding remote access, for now I only need to know what hardware will I need.

Once again, my knowledge about this is very, very poor.

depending on how crazy you want to get with the chassis, i’ve had good luck getting SuperMicro chassis off eBay for decent prices with a bit of hunting. can modify them with SQ (super quiet) power supplies and fan mods to reduce the noise. plus most of them have built in backplanes so connecting a large number of drives is easier. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I was thinking more about professional refurbishers. These are the hardest to find if they don’t display a “consumer” side, but if there’s IT where you leave there must be some!

As for the hardware, from what you said you do not need that much.
16 drives can be 8 SATA ports and one regular -8i HBA, or a -16I HBA. One PCIe slot, x8 or more.
64 GB RAM is possible even with “consumer-like” platforms (Xeon E or Ryzen).
SLOG and L2ARC can be added or removed at any time. But you do not need these.
A fast NIC would be only for your internal network; “Intranet” is on your ISP. Even if you want 10 GbE at home, all it takes is a x4 open slot, or x8 physical.

Anything can fit.

Xeon E. X11SS_, X11SC_, X12ST_ boards from Supermicro, and equivalents from other manufacturers.
ECC-capable Ryzen (most) + Gigabyte MC12-LE0 (cheapest!) or AsRockRack X570/B550D4U

Refurbished Xeon E5, 1st/2nd gen. Scalable or EPYC 7001/7002 (overkill)

Even good Xeon D-1500 boards could do it (X10SDV, preferably one of the Flex-ATX models, or AsRock Rack D1541D4U, often found in Datto-rebranded version).

Find the chassis first. If it doesn’t come as a complete system you can then look for a motherboard.