Once upon a time there existed a huge pile of DVDs in my house and a bunch of grubby, sticky kid fingers. I decided that a Plex server was a good solution and put that together. This was find a dandy, but then came the process of getting the movies from their DVD form to their MP4 form. Using Handbrake on my laptop worked well enough for one or two DVDs, but as our collection grew this soon became way too much work.
About that time I started work with a public library. Every year at this library we replaced a certain number of the old desktop computers with brand new ones. The old ones may have been a little long in the tooth for use as a desktop computer, but they were great at ripping DVDs. I used Ansible playbooks to setup a group of 12 machines and we chugged through hundreds of discs in no time.
The downside to the above arrangement was the amount of space it took up. They were the SFF models, which reduced their footprint a bit, but 12 of them took up alot of space. After the ripping of a large chunk of our collection, we took the cluster apart and recycled the machines.
A few months later a friend of mine hooked me up with a shelf of Intel NUC boards. These had previously been involved in an online streaming service that auctioned off a bunch of their equipment on eBay.
My intention is to create mini servers by combining an Intel NUC board and a slimline DVD drive. I will design and 3D print individual "blade" chassis for each NUC so that it can be slotted into a larger rack mount chassis.
I'm excited to see this come together and I'll try to share my progress on ithuna.com so you can follow along.