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Windows 7: Windows Home Server – Your genie in a box

24 Mar 2010   #11
pparks1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by iseeuu View Post
But why would anybody purchase this (so called) Home Server when I can get an open-source server to do the same thing for free?
Couple of reasons.

#1). The line of Media Smart servers from HP are preconfigured and ready to go and act more like appliances than servers that you have to configure

#2). You don't have to really know much of what you are doing. You can add drives to the system and they show up in the GUI and you can just add them to your volume. It's super easy to expand your storage space.

#3). To connect to your server, you just load a connector to your PC's and it maps the drives for super ease of use.

#4). It easily allows you to backup up to 10 workstations and you can perform bare metal restores. In addition, it uses a single instance storage system so if you are backing up 5 boxes and they have identical files, it only has to back them up once...thus saving space.

There really isn't anything that couldn't be achieved with an open source server solution. The same thing can be said for SOHO routers....you could easily achieve the same thing with an old computer, a copy of Linux and a pair of network cards....but compared to to the simplicity of the router for the average joe...it might just not be worth it.


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26 Mar 2010   #12
zrtom

W8 Pro, W7 Ultimate, XP Pro x64, Vista x64, Ubuntu
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by bobtran View Post
I have been using this product since it first came out. Backups are a great benefit of this server, but the ability to manipulate and re-size/reorder the partitions on my pc's, bare metal restores, and media management put it over the top. I just wish I had built it on an Ultra Low Power platform but it was not available at the time I built mine so I used AMD 3800+ with 5 drives (3@180gb, 2@500gb). If it ever has a problem (not one single hiccup so far) I will rebuild using something like the ATOM n330 platform. This current system I built from scratch is like the energizer bunny....it just keeps going and going and going....etc.

This has been my #1 recommendation to friends for a long, long time. It makes my pc admin bullet proof.

My wish list for this product would have to be a client for Apple and Linux products and I'm sure hell will freeze over before that happens which is kind of sad because the market is there waiting to be taken advantage of. Servers should be OS agnostic after all and many homes are a conglomeration of different systems such as mine.
Bob,
I just built a(nother) WHS unit; this time with the new Intel Atom D510 (2 cores/4 threads). With the OS on a 30GB Vertex and a 1.5TB WD Green, Kill-A-Watt says about 38 watts idling. Getting the OS (aligned) on an SSD less than the required 75GB took a little creativity but it really runs sweet. Found a nice mini-ITX chassis here: E-PRO G45 (A9849) Storage Server Case (220W) w/ 2 x Removable HDD Trays w/Backplane (I'll add some pics to my profile when I get a chance).

I also run Windows Server 2008 R2 but for my use of media streaming and backups, Server 2008 R2 is overkill. Over the past year or so I've really taken a liking to WHS.
Tom
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Mar 2010   #13
bobtran

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by zrtom View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by bobtran View Post
I have been using this product since it first came out. Backups are a great benefit of this server, but the ability to manipulate and re-size/reorder the partitions on my pc's, bare metal restores, and media management put it over the top. I just wish I had built it on an Ultra Low Power platform but it was not available at the time I built mine so I used AMD 3800+ with 5 drives (3@180gb, 2@500gb). If it ever has a problem (not one single hiccup so far) I will rebuild using something like the ATOM n330 platform. This current system I built from scratch is like the energizer bunny....it just keeps going and going and going....etc.

This has been my #1 recommendation to friends for a long, long time. It makes my pc admin bullet proof.

My wish list for this product would have to be a client for Apple and Linux products and I'm sure hell will freeze over before that happens which is kind of sad because the market is there waiting to be taken advantage of. Servers should be OS agnostic after all and many homes are a conglomeration of different systems such as mine.
Bob,
I just built a(nother) WHS unit; this time with the new Intel Atom D510 (2 cores/4 threads). With the OS on a 30GB Vertex and a 1.5TB WD Green, Kill-A-Watt says about 38 watts idling. Getting the OS (aligned) on an SSD less than the required 75GB took a little creativity but it really runs sweet. Found a nice mini-ITX chassis here: E-PRO G45 (A9849) Storage Server Case (220W) w/ 2 x Removable HDD Trays w/Backplane (I'll add some pics to my profile when I get a chance).

I also run Windows Server 2008 R2 but for my use of media streaming and backups, Server 2008 R2 is overkill. Over the past year or so I've really taken a liking to WHS.
Tom
Sweet - Love to see those pictures when you get to it.
Bob
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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28 Mar 2010   #14
zrtom

W8 Pro, W7 Ultimate, XP Pro x64, Vista x64, Ubuntu
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by bobtran View Post

Sweet - Love to see those pictures when you get to it.
Bob
Bob,
Some are in my album now:
Windows 7 Forums - zrtom's Album: Atom D510 Windows Home Server

Tom
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Mar 2010   #15
bobtran

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Tom
Good pictures. nice dremel work by the way.
Let me get this strait, You use an SSD internal drive for the OS and an external 1.5 tb data drive? So no data duplication? and why external instead of internal?
I'm not criticizing...just wondering why.....external power for the drive? Heat? speed?
Bob
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Mar 2010   #16
zrtom

W8 Pro, W7 Ultimate, XP Pro x64, Vista x64, Ubuntu
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by bobtran View Post
Tom
Good pictures. nice dremel work by the way.
Let me get this strait, You use an SSD internal drive for the OS and an external 1.5 tb data drive? So no data duplication? and why external instead of internal?
I'm not criticizing...just wondering why.....external power for the drive? Heat? speed?
Bob
Actually Bob, the eSATA is overkill (that's typical for an engineer). OS is on the SSD and for now, just one internal 1.5TB. After the shakedown, I'll add more drives for duplication.
The case has 4 internal bays (that's why I like it); OS drive on a tray under the backplane, two 3.5" trays and a 5.25" DVD bay which I've populated with a trayless hot swap bay I had (I'm experimenting with two, actually, as the newer pictures show). I could use the eSATA for server backups if I eventually have a third storage pool drive in the trayless bay.
Tom
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Mar 2010   #17
jimbo45

Linux CENTOS 7 / various Windows OS'es and servers
 
 

Hi there
I'm a bit confused as to what WHS gives over using say any Linux distro out there as a server.

Not only that with Linux you can also incorporate a Music / Multimedia server, a Web server (Apache / php / MySQL) and file share etc to any other set of OS'es you like.

What's more any distro of Linux is FREE and fairly easy to set up if you just want to use it as a server rather than a desktop OS. Linux will readily backup ANY client machine and with its CRONTAB scheduling jobs and procedures is very simple indeed.

I'm trying to understand where WHS actually fits into the marketplace.

(For a FULL MS server of course there are W2K3 and W2K8 servers which are commercial and RELIABLE products but these are over the top for typical home usage both in price and functionality).

I suspect that if you have enough knowledge to need something like WHS you'll learn far more and have a much more functional Server if you chose any of the well known Linux distributions out there such as SUSE, UBUNTU, Fedora etc.

Cheers
jimbo
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Mar 2010   #18
z3r010

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jimbo45 View Post
Hi there
I'm a bit confused as to what WHS gives over using say any Linux distro out there as a server.
For me it's the nice simple backups, allowing me to do a bare metal or partial restore it I mess up any of my machines.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Mar 2010   #19
bobtran

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jimbo45 View Post
Hi there
I'm a bit confused as to what WHS gives over using say any Linux distro out there as a server.

Not only that with Linux you can also incorporate a Music / Multimedia server, a Web server (Apache / php / MySQL) and file share etc to any other set of OS'es you like.

What's more any distro of Linux is FREE and fairly easy to set up if you just want to use it as a server rather than a desktop OS. Linux will readily backup ANY client machine and with its CRONTAB scheduling jobs and procedures is very simple indeed.

I'm trying to understand where WHS actually fits into the marketplace.

(For a FULL MS server of course there are W2K3 and W2K8 servers which are commercial and RELIABLE products but these are over the top for typical home usage both in price and functionality).

I suspect that if you have enough knowledge to need something like WHS you'll learn far more and have a much more functional Server if you chose any of the well known Linux distributions out there such as SUSE, UBUNTU, Fedora etc.

Cheers
jimbo
You are of course correct, however, I like the automated backups without needing to write the scripts to accomplish the robust backup and recovery tasks that WHS provides out of the box. The ability to do a bare metal restore CANNOT be emphasized enough and the ability to access the disk management subsystem during the restore process is worth its weight in gold (I.E. taking space from a partition to the right of the partition you want to add it to which is no trouble using WHS restore). If this was just for file sharing and/or a web/db server I would of course use a Linux server. This product is worth far more than the $99 it costs you as it is Windows Server 2003 under the covers and will do most tasks that you would use a Small Business Server to accomplish without the costs involved and need I say....No Client Licenses required for the 10 pc's you can connect it to. This server will also be very useful in the small business arena I guarantee you.

As to where it fits into the market....I know a lot of people who could not care less about learning to code but want the functions that this server provides. Many people have an old PC around that can be used to setup a WHS. Anyone who has lost pictures, emails, financial documents, etc due to a drive failure or virus will be more than glad to tell you what the ability to have automated backups is worth. Remember that this is NOT aimed at people like us that like to play and code, it is aimed at the average multiple pc home where the people are not IT pro's.

To each their own, sometimes its just cheaper to pay for the system rather than write the system. My time is definitely worth a lot more than $99 to accomplish what this does out of the box and by the way....when was the last time you backed up your systems, how often do you back them up, how often do you have to clean up the old backups, are your backups incremental or full every time, do you do daily, weekly, monthly, etc (WHS does all this by default).....Most IT pros know they should be doing it regularly and still don't do it so what do you think the average non IT pro out there does about backing up their multiple pc's. As I fix a lot of peoples pc's after the fact I can tell you that they do NOT backup their pc's and the pain they experience at the loss of their family pictures, memories, genealogies, etc is significant.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Mar 2010   #20
pparks1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jimbo45 View Post
Hi there
I'm a bit confused as to what WHS gives over using say any Linux distro out there as a server.
Ease of use. It's simple, you manage it all from a browser. You don't need to really know what you are doing, you simply do it. You could use a Linux box with 2 network cards for a router too...but I usually just recommend going with a Dlink, Netgear or Linksys router for the average joe because it's just drop dead simple.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jimbo45 View Post
Linux will readily backup ANY client machine and with its CRONTAB scheduling jobs and procedures is very simple indeed.
To backup a box under Windows Home server, you put in the connector disk, you install, you check the box to backup the machine. You are done. To restore, you use the restore disk, put it in your workstation, reboot it, it connects to the server and you restore bare metal. So, what are the "easy" equivalent steps to perform a complete bare metal backup and restore using a Linux server and crontab???

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jimbo45 View Post
I'm trying to understand where WHS actually fits into the marketplace.
Home users, with more than 2 workstations who want to have a central place to store their files for access from both workstations. People who want to just be able to plug in an external drive (or internal) and have it automatically added to their box and expand their storage without having to understanding anything about LVM's and expanding volumes. Drives are mapped automatically. Backups are stored in such a way that duplicate files are not backed up twice consuming unnecessary disk space.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jimbo45 View Post
I suspect that if you have enough knowledge to need something like WHS you'll learn far more and have a much more functional Server if you chose any of the well known Linux distributions out there such as SUSE, UBUNTU, Fedora etc.
Needing 1). Place to store files 2). backup...is not something that's really out of scope for the average joe who barely understands how to use their computer. These people are not better served trying to learn a distribution of Linux. These appliance style Windows Home Server boxes which are pretty cheap $300-$600 for the hardware and the software), which you setup via a browser are perfect. And for the more techie type, if you have an extra machine lying around it's $100 to purchase a copy of Windows Home Server from a site like NewEgg and you can set this up yourself quickly and easily using existing hardware. Like I said above, you can build a router and a firewall with a Linux box and 2 network cards....but it's rarely the best solution. Heck, even as a competent server admin guy, I choose to NOT do that at home. The Linksys router is my preferred choice.
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 Windows Home Server – Your genie in a box




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