One of the important tasks of our home server setup is about media. The server hosts our large and old collections of DVD rips, music and photos that lived on our desktop boxes before. The collections are accessible across the home network with Samba/NFS shares and it works great for devices which can understand it: I mean the computers.
The story would end here if we didn’t want to access the media collections also from TV. This brought me to learn about DLNA technology and to get a DLNA-compliant media player, as well as to install and configure special media server software.
A dedicated server machine is what I definitely needed for my home IT infrastructure which has grown with years. Two desktops, a laptop and a home theatre system: they all needed to be connected to each other and to Internet. For long, it was my desktop box playing a role of the server in the home LAN, and it caused a lot of annoyances, of course.
The last year, an opportunity to bring myself to do it right is appeared, thanks to two things: First, I got new Core-i7 box as my developer workstation, so my old good Pentium-4 came out of work. Second, a large roll door closet has been built in the hallway where I reserved a room for the server stuff.