To solve the automation problem, I'll use Linux. Since I don't have any spare computers laying around any more (I'll turn in my geek card), I've gotta set it up in a VMware instance. Luckily, VMware server is free, and I have disk space here.
Two disks... 8GB for OS, and a 32GB "data" disk to start with. Both sparsely-allocated, cuz I don't have that much disk space.
I know debian better than any other distro. So, a base install, no tasksel, update and upgrade, then installed ssh, apache2, subversion, subversion-tools, and sudo. So far I'm using 515MB. And it can't do anything yet.
Someday I'd like to switch it over to Solaris so I can run the data under zfs, but for now, I like the convenience of aptitude.
In the mean time, it's LVM I guess... I pvcreate'd /dev/sdb, vgcreated dataVG /dev/sdb, and lvcreated dataLV in it. Then mke2fs -j /dev/mapper/dataVG/dataLV and tuned it to want a fsck every 365 mounts or 730d. Mounted it as /data, and I think I'm ready to start developing.
First some data, though... I grabbed about 350MB of data from various picture CDs, copied it to /data/media/$cdname, and copied them around again to make sure there were duplicates in the data...
More to come...