HP Announces Software Upgrades and European Availability for MediaSmart Servers

by Alex Kuretz on May 5, 2009 · 54 comments

in News

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HP has just sent me a statement that they wanted to share with the MediaSmart community about software updates and European availability of the MediaSmart Servers.

We have two updates to share with our MediaSmart Server communities.

We have listened to the customer feedback on wegotserved.co.uk, mediasmartserver.net, mediasmarthome.com and other popular Windows Home Server blogs related to our recent software update availability. Based on this feedback, we are working to provide a supported path to allow customers to update all generations of their EX Series and LX Series MediaSmart Server products to the current software version.

Due to the generational differences of our platform architectures, we will not be providing the updated software as traditional downloads. Instead, we will provide complete server image DVD’s through HP support in the same manner as replacement DVD’s are provided today. We expect that there will be certain hardware limitations and/or trade-offs for the various platforms that will be detailed once the new server DVD’s are available.

Timing is tentatively scheduled in Fall 2009. We understand customers would like these updates sooner, but this timing is necessary to adequately develop and test these new software images. As we get further along in our development, we will provide an updated timetable.

We have also read the inquiries regarding European availability of the MediaSmart Server products. We are pleased to announce that our European customers can expect to see our LX and EX series products for sale in Europe. Targeted availability is Fall 2009.

We thank everyone for their continued support of the MediaSmart Server products and appreciate the continued feedback.

I have to say I’m pleased with HP for responding to the community and coming up with what I believe is a solution that should work well for both HP and MediaSmart Server owners. The Server Image DVD path provides a way for HP to significantly simplify the upgrade process, making the update less expensive for them and less error prone for users. By providing the update to users who “opt-in” to get the new features, HP avoids delivering an automatic update that could potentially cause problems for users with stock EX470/EX475 servers. While we’ve shown that the 2.5 Software Update can work with the stock 512mb of RAM, I believe it’s not the best experience and the server really needs more memory to most effectively utilize the new features.

I’m also very happy to hear about the EX and LX servers becoming available to our friends in Europe as I know we’ve had many inquiries about this topic.

I know there will be some questions as several of the points in the statement are a bit vague. I’m interested to hear exactly what version is the “current software version”, as well as more details around the “certain hardware limitations and/or trade-offs” and how that will end up impacting what final features and upgrade processes we see. Finally, I expect that some of you will be unhappy with the timeframe HP has given. Being in Software Development and testing, I urge you to first think about the commitment in R&D investment that HP is making to deliver this update and to have some patience.

What do you think, is HP doing the right thing for MediaSmart Server customers? Share your thoughts here in the comments or here in the forums.





Article by

I'm Alex Kuretz, and I'm the founder of MediaSmartServer.net. I was the Lead Test and Integration Engineer at HP for the MediaSmart Server until April 2008 when I moved on to other opportunities outside HP. I've kept active in the Windows Home Server community, creating several add-ins and helping users make the most of their Home Servers.


{ 51 comments }

Cougar May 5, 2009 at 10:30 am

I am really pleased HP listened to their consumers and have done something about it. Fair play to HP!

staples May 5, 2009 at 10:41 am

Awesome, This is a LOT better than what I was expecting from HP. Even if they charge a small fee for the DVDs I would be happy.

Thank you HP for standing by your product, I did not think you were going too!

Brian May 5, 2009 at 10:51 am

I have been following the work of Alex and Nigel on providing the update path for version 2.5, and was going to look at doing the upgrade. Now tha HP has announced that they will make something similar available I think I will wait. Thank you Alex and Nigel for showing that this can work on the earlier versions…

t-bone May 5, 2009 at 11:07 am

I an happy to see that HP has listened to the community outrage over the update and do the right thing. What we as first gen users should be aware of now is that this will most likely be the last of our updates. Thank you HP for listening.

Phil May 5, 2009 at 11:49 am

I would like to thank Cougar and Alex for proving to HP that this could be done.
I think HP would not have moved without the pressure.
Well done Alex & Cougar

Terry May 5, 2009 at 11:53 am

Alex, great work on following this issue and to the others that provided feedback. I believe HP is taking a reasoned approach and appreciate their willingness to come around on this matter. In the future I suggest they seek early input from some of the key players at the sites mentioned in their press release in order to feel the waters before jumping in to what can be extreme positions for the development and delivery of their home server products. Now let’s all be patient and give them some time to see what they deliver.

Kris Butler May 5, 2009 at 12:00 pm

Credit where credit is due- HP does have a heart somewhere underneath!! I think it is fair comment that HP are taking their time to test, but hey AT LEAST THEY LISTENED. I am sure they can put code in that can check if the server has been upgraded and offer the full range of tools/apps that will work with more “pimped up” servers.

I can almost imagine the boardroom at HP’s Mediasmart dept, and the MD asking which numbnut issued the first statement that angered all us EX47x users, and how they could turn the situation around!!. I would not have any issue paying a nominal fee for the new disc, as long is it was giving me the features of the EX48x users. Hopefully we can also continue to receive updates once we have updated our servers.

So well done HP for listening to your customers, I look forward to the updated recovery dvd and all the treasures contained within

John Reed May 5, 2009 at 12:14 pm

Woo Hoo…

One question though. It mentions that the upgrade will be done through via “image”, does this mean I’ll have to pull all of my data off before performing the upgrade?

WalkinTarget May 5, 2009 at 1:05 pm

Great news !! It will be interesting to see if the software is able to determine whether the MSS was hardware upgraded and allow installation of additional items based on the higher system specifications.

Thumbs up to HP, as I consider my MSS to be my favorite hardware purchase of last year.

Alex Kuretz May 5, 2009 at 1:08 pm

The upgrade process will be a full server image, so either a Server Recovery (leaves your data intact and just replaces the OS) or Factory Reset (wipes the entire system and would require a data backup). It’s not clear yet which path will be required for the upgrade, I expect HP will update us when they know more.

Techvet May 5, 2009 at 2:22 pm

Outstanding HP – Confidence restored!! The proposed timeline is fine by me. Kudos to the entire MSS Community for the unified voice!!

JohnBick May 5, 2009 at 4:53 pm

I believe HP is doing the right thing by the EX47x owners and am comfortable with the timeframe. Kudos to HP.

I do hope they can resolve the availability og the MSS models on the “other side of the pond” (as well as in other countries) sooner than the stated schedule. I believe there will be a lot of lost opportunity if it takes that long.

Darkon May 5, 2009 at 6:10 pm

Kudos to HP for not just listening to their customers but also changing their position once they realized how poorly they understood how customers would react to their initial decision to deny the 2.5 feature set from the EX47x customers.

Kudos also to all of us EX47x users here and elsewhere that expressed ourselves eloquently enough that HP was able to understand why their initial position was wrong and what the right response should have been.

The reality is that HP’s original decision was probably largely based on concerns about the negative impact the update might have on EX47x users that had NOT upgraded their RAM or CPU. There were also challenges with providing the update to EX47x users since the Ex47x systems didn’t have the software prerequisites and would require a much larger and separate update than the EX48x update. What they failed to understand (but we made loud and clear) is that a majority of the EX47x users are early adopters and power-users that had already upgraded their RAM and/or CPU.

The “new server image DVD” seems like a good solution to the problem and by distributing it via TS (or some other human interaction mechanism) they can ensure that the people upgrading understand the hardware requirements and performance tradeoffs associated with using 2.5 on EX47x hardware.

I’m also hoping that the update will update the EX47x with all of the 2.5 components, but most of the add-ins should be disabled/uninstalled by default. Then you can just enable the features you really want and find the right balance of features vs. performance. And hopefully once the 2.5 update is on an EX47x, there shouldn’t be any reason why we can’t get all of the same auto-updates provided to the EX48x users since both systems should be on the same OS baseline.

I’m just really glad that HP realized that they won’t get very much repeat business unless you provide great (or at least good) support for great products.

Mastiha May 5, 2009 at 6:25 pm

Good move by HP but the Mediasmart is still not available in Australia at all.

I imported my EX475 over a year ago so I’m not sure how I would go about obtained the complete server image DVD’s through HP support in Australia. Hopefully, some nice member can ISO them up for me.

Darkon May 5, 2009 at 6:45 pm

Hmmm…one question out of curiousity: They also said the latest software version will be available to the MSS LX-series.

What are the software differences between the LX and the EX48x? What about relevant hardware differences? I think the LX has 1GB of RAM while the EX48x has 2GB of RAM. If this is the case, then it seems like they will really need to provide a way to let the user choose between features and performance because 1GB probably isn’t enough to run everything on the LX that you would run on the EX48x.

Loren May 6, 2009 at 1:20 pm

Good move by HP – but I will wait until they deliver to thank them. Sorry, but they have let me down before and continue to do so on another product right now.

Manus Mc Guirk May 6, 2009 at 2:54 pm

Same here . Its great news if true . I would like to partner a 487 with my 475 so , fair play to Hp for responding .

Oh and Ive just bought an Hp laptop so no buyer remorse here :O

~M~

Rob May 7, 2009 at 4:21 am

Excellent news from HP – it has restored my faith in them. However, I wonder if the Time Machine backup capability will be made available before the fall. From everything I read, I thought that was coming in May (ie, within the next few weeks).

Alex Kuretz May 7, 2009 at 8:45 am

Hi Rob,

I’ve not been told of any changes in plans regarding the upcoming EX47x update, my understanding is that it is still on track for May.

Claude May 8, 2009 at 10:00 am

Good news, but ……
As a french HP MSS user I feel that the localized versions will still lag.
I am willing to move my french system to a US system. Does anyone know how to get a set of US discs in order to reinstall a complete system?
I know I am not the only one european willing to do that? Any inputs?
Thanks

Don May 8, 2009 at 2:01 pm

I’m sure Alex was a key influance in this turnabout. Thank you.

I understand it take time to develop and test and hope HP takes all the time it needs to test and make sure it is right the first time.

I hope pretty please they make inprovements to the function of the photo webshare to maek it more useable in practice. It needs to display the photos in order by file name by default when they are uploaded.

Richard May 28, 2009 at 7:37 am

Great news!!! One thing I think they should do is give instructions on how to upgrade the memory, I have upgraded mine from the feeble 512MB to 2GB, this would get round the memory problem and its not hard to do. I know there are other hardware changes but this one can be upgraded although they don’t want you too, it will give the end user a better experience rather than struggling on 512MB. Can’t wait for it to be released!!

:-)

Gary June 5, 2009 at 7:07 am

Thank you to the early adopters and power users for the efforts. My EX470 has been upgraded to the 2MB–(Easily done). My location is Munich and I brought my 470 w/4TB from USA. What I am not clear on is the concept of “localized versions” of the updates for the units. Auto update has always been active on the unit so I am not sure that I am getting the right updates, though no problems have been encountered. I am not a technical guy and the forums have been great and helpful. Again thanks to those who can communicate with HP that leaving the early adopter behind is not a good business practice—-remember the Intel Pentium disaster!

Garry July 3, 2009 at 3:08 am

Has there been any update on this as I would like to purchase a Mediasmart server for use in the UK, and this is the only site which indicates that it will be coming to the UK, alternatively I could buy one from the US

Does anyone know if i would have issues with the power supply?
i.e. do i need a transformer? as the description of the mediasmart server indicates a internal universal power adapter, so is it only a uk kettle lead reqired to make it a 3 pin plug instead of 2?

So the real question is should i wait or buy from US?

Thanks
Garry

Gary July 3, 2009 at 6:41 am

To Garry in UK. The power supply on my US purchased machine is fine. Just remember to switch it on the back of the unit. All I needed was a new power cord with the correct plug type for Germany.
Wait for the unit to be avaliable in UK. Warranty and stuff to consider. Though the machine is really quite simple—though I am not a technical guy I did the memory upgrade and it was not hard. Directions and pix are availible on the web. Just google them.
I am still a bit confused about this pending upgrade. We will need to see what actually comes out.
Be patient, it will be worth it.

Alex Kuretz July 3, 2009 at 10:38 am

Hi Garry,

I’ve gotten no further details, but was advised of the Fall timeframe so expect a few more months. The powersupply is auto-switching, so all you would need is the correct cord. I’d probably recommend you wait, simply for the warranty status.

Alex

T-bone July 10, 2009 at 5:49 pm

Im wondering if the DVD server image will update the EX47X flash also. I would like to still be able to have the fall back of doing a restore or recovery with out the need of a DVD. This would also be nice not having to make sure PP1 got reinstalled after a restore or recovery. Im still pretty excited about this Im hoping for some kind of info.

Alex Kuretz July 10, 2009 at 10:33 pm

T-Bone, it’s not clear to me what you’re asking for. The flash is simply a 256mb USB disk that holds the Windows PE boot image that enables the server to boot into recovery mode and restore the image from the DVD.

T-bone July 11, 2009 at 6:23 pm

My understanding is that the server recovery will layout a fresh image of WHS if something happens to the OS directory. I dont remember using a CD when i replaced my main drive just click restore and when on my way. It was a while ago so I could be mistaken. The image that the server has to do this restore currently is before PP1 which means if you restore or recover if im using the wrong terminology you could be pron to data curruption unless you make sure PP1 is at least reinstalled. Im hoping that the DVD they are talking about rewrites this flash memory so that if I have to restore or recover and dont have my CD handy it cn with out me worrying about reinstalling PP1. Now that i have 4 drives if I recover I could immediately be in the danger zone until PP1 is downloaded again and reinstalled. correct?

Alex Kuretz July 12, 2009 at 12:03 am

The recovery image is completely on the DVD. The Flash memory is simply the vehicle which allows you to put the recovery image onto the MSS hardware. It has nothing to do with PP1.

The DVD from HP with the 2.5 update will almost positively be up to date with recent power packs, just as Encore shipped with PP1 installed.

If you decided to go back to the 1.3 software, you would have to use the old Recovery DVD and this would require you to install PP1 and all the other updates.

I hope this makes sense,
Alex

Darkon July 29, 2009 at 5:10 pm

Alex,
Have you heard any updates on this?

It has been nearly 3 months since HP announced that the 2.5 update will become available for EX47x users but nothing since then. I know HP said it would be available in the “Fall”, but do they now have an idea if it will be early Fall (Sept) or late Fall (Dec)?

Either way we are talking 5 to 8 months after the 2.5 update was release for the EX48x models, so I realy hope it will be in September (or even earlier would be nice!).

I’m thinking that we may need to keep some “friendly” pressure on HP to follow through on their promise sooner rather than later because at some point it may be an issue of “too little too late” if the next release of WHS comes out a couple of months after this MSS update from HP. Unless of course they will be coming out with an udpate that includes both :-)

Miquel August 5, 2009 at 5:37 am

Hi Alex,

do you know anything about an European version of the 2.5 update? Will HP release any Spanish version for EX475?

Thanks a lot, from Barcelona.

Alex Kuretz August 5, 2009 at 9:09 am

HP has given me no additional info than I have conveyed in this blog post. Rest assured I will be sharing any info I am able as soon as HP updates me.

Rob Greenlee August 16, 2009 at 9:03 pm

I have recently upgraded my EX470 to 2GB of Ram and an AMD64 2.7mhz processor and wow what a difference in speed. The upgade experience was a little scary, but went smoothly. The server is running a little warmer now, but has been stable for 2 months now with no problems at all.

My new updated server is now more then able to handle the new 2.5 update. I called HP about a month ago about the 2.5 update and they said, that it was still on track, but will be out in the Fall sometime. I work for Microsoft on the Zune as a Podcast Producer and have been wondering about Zune support on WHS. I am going to look into it.

I am also looking to install Power Pack 3 beta to be able to add a few Windows 7 RC boxes in my home and am concerned about whether it is a good idea to do? Anyone else have any issues with it and how will it get new updated bits when it comes out as an update? If you want to contact me I am at robgreenlee at gmail.com

Alex Kuretz August 17, 2009 at 12:18 am

Thanks for your comments. We’ve got a PP3 forum with some discussion that, you might want to start there with specific questions you have. I do know that if you try the PP3 beta, you’ll need to manually uninstall it prior to the installation of the official PP3 release.

T-Bone August 26, 2009 at 3:51 pm

So anyword yet about this update?

Alex Kuretz August 26, 2009 at 3:54 pm

See my response 3 posts above yours. :)

Helrazr September 10, 2009 at 10:34 am

I like it, that said, I have already leveraged the resources provided by the MSS community and upgraded my ex470. I imagine if it is shipping and a small fee for the update I’ll order it when it comes available but I am more than satisfied with the current performance of this unit.

What I’d really love to see as a pay for update is all of the Mediasmart bells, whistles, tools and assorted programs using Windows Home Server based on the Server 2008 code. Yum…

Bala September 15, 2009 at 12:39 am

Very informative article and good to know that HP is listening to customers. I have a question.

Is HP planning to extend Portmultiplier support over eSATA to EX 487 & 485 servers too. Is this a just SW upgrade or does this need a HW upgrade too.

Magrart September 30, 2009 at 9:59 am

Hi, I am also an EX470 user waiting for the 2.5 update. Any news?

Alex Kuretz September 30, 2009 at 10:19 am

HP has said they will provide the recent 3.0 software to owners of previous generations of the MediaSmart Server. There’s still no date specified yet, they are sticking to the “Fall timeframe.”

Gary September 30, 2009 at 10:57 am

Alex,
Thanks for staying on top of this. My EX470 w/2G & 4TB is idled until the update. Any reason to believe the “Fall timeframe” will slip? Any additional info would be appreciated.
Gary (USA purchased machine but now in Munich) And Yes OKTOBERFEST is gut.

Alex Kuretz September 30, 2009 at 11:00 am

I’ve shared all the info I have. :)

Gary September 30, 2009 at 11:24 am

OK, and Thanks again.

Chris Foster November 12, 2009 at 1:56 pm

Can’t wait for the updates to hit the web as I’d love some of the new features.

Just need to get some new RAM and look into a CPU upgrade..

Any tips on models of CPU etc ?

Alex Kuretz November 12, 2009 at 2:03 pm

Hi Chris, the CPU upgrade depends on the model of server that you have. See this thread for EX47x upgrades, and this thread for EX48x upgrades. Be sure to let us know how it goes!

Chris Foster November 13, 2009 at 4:44 am

Thanks very much I shall take a look and see what I can do.

Steven Ross December 6, 2009 at 12:01 pm

It’s now past “Fall 2009″ and I looked around on HP’s site and cannot find out how to get the upgrade DVD. Is it not actually out yet?

Richard February 9, 2010 at 8:14 pm

I would like to install 2.5 – any news on this, has it been released yet?

Alex Kuretz February 9, 2010 at 10:11 pm

Hi Richard, this is the latest news that we’ve gotten from HP.

Richard February 10, 2010 at 12:03 pm

Thanks Alex for the update. I have just come in on this conversation and wait, so I was not aware it was delayed. Lets hope we see it soon and it is not delayed further.

Comments are closed, visit the forums to continue the discussion.

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