You need estimates of how much space this LOT of uploads will take, and how quickly it will grow, and whether you are willing to do it yourself or pay more to have it made.
Doing it yourself will get you in the region of:
- A case with lots of disk bays
- Server innards
- Cheap server class SAS disks
Maybe £1,200-£2,000 for 4-6Tbs of RAID5 storage with all server class hardware, but not ever so performant.
To buy similar kit from HP/Dell/etc. add several hundreds at least, probably more.
If you need seriously more disk space then you'll need to break out into the land of smaller physical disks to fit more in one server, physically bigger servers which cost more to host, or external disk arrays and disk shelves, and that's going to add thousands for the devices and disks to fill them.
Also if you're doing LOTS of uploads, does that mean lots of people? Lots of members? Large databases which need fast disk subsystems and lots of memory?
How easy it is to upgrade depends on how you've designed it. The basic answers are:
- Really easy if the upgrade fits in your server and you don't mind shutting it off while you do it.
- Not so easy if you have to do it while the site is live.
- Really hard if the system is designed for one server, and it's now full.
- Pretty Easy if the system is designed for multiple servers and you can just add another. It's hard to get it to this state in the first place, though.
It's going to cost you as much again for an internet connection which can handle "LOTS" of concurrent video and photo uploads.
Depending on what you mean by a LOT, of course. We had a phonecall asking us to quote for hosting a site which would be as big as YouTube, once. In 2006 YouTube used about 45Tb of storage (http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2006/09/01/youtube-data-storage-stats-revealed/) and was projecting 95Tb by January 2007.
If that's the kind of scale you're thinking of ... the storage will be possible, but the management of that amount of content wont be easy.
A Dell MD3000i is low end enterprise storage, and with two expansion shelves, can hit 45Tb and that's in the $10-20,000 range.
If you are serious, you need to spec it out first, make some predictions on how many concurrent uploads, how much video, how many pictures, what you need to do with it. What else is involved in the site. Otherwise you'll end up with a system which wont stand a chance of doing what you want.