IT equipment in the connected home

This week has seen me re-evaluate the amount of kit I run in our house, of late i’ve added a few bits of kit here and there, and all of a sudden our electricity usage has been steadily increasing, this time last year we were using around 20Kw a day, our average of late is 25Kw a day, we’ve added a few gadgets here and there and not noticed this increase.

5Kw doesn’t sound a lot, at just 12.5p a unit thats 62.5p a week, or almost £19 a month, which is quite scary.

After thinking about what we’ve added in the past 12 months, we’re currently using three small servers, an I3 based windows 2012 essentials box, and two mac mini’s for media sharing, attached to those mac mini’s are a pair of USB3 4 Tb disks, an additional 24 port switch as we’d run out of live ethernet sockets, oh and another 4 disk NAS, 3 POE wifi points and a new IP Camera for the front of the house.

In a completely unrelated conversation with a friend in Canada who is big into the minimal lifestyle I decided it the time was right to re-evaluate the technology we’re using.

Currently we have 3 machines all providing media services, from iTunes servers, to DLNA via Plex. These 3 machines are on 7×24, generally we watch TV maybe between 7 and 11pm at night, so 20 hours of machines running for no real reason.

The first task is to reduce the number of machines running purely for media purposes. This can and will be achieved with a Synology DS1815+ NAS device. I already have 4 1.5Tb hard drives for it, and will be purchasing 4 3Tb WD Red NAS drives.

As with most NAS devices these days, it uses an Intel Atom, and has a lovely interface with add-ons that can be integrated, most important of which is the Plex server, it makes a great file server, and with 14Tb should keep me going for a while.

I plan on installing the surveillance station application to replace the current Windows server / Blue Iris setup i’m currently running.

Another interesting application is the Bittorrent Sync file sync system. Basically dropbox features but the data is only stored on your own machines. There is also a Cloud Station add-in that does similar things, I only want to use one, so a review will come later.

So theres the current plan, it should enable me to turn off all 3 of the other boxes i have running, though i may choose to resurrect the old Atom machine i have as a windows server just for managed print, and managing the Office 365 email we use.

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