HP 3.0 Software Update Delayed

by Alex Kuretz on December 17, 2009 · 94 comments

in News

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As many of you have noticed, December is solidly here and we’re getting anxious to see the 3.0 Software Update for the EX470/EX475 and EX485/EX487 MediaSmart Servers. The last update we had from HP back in October indicated a December release date and an estimated price of $25 for the upgrade. Today we’ve got an update from HP that provides a status update, with both some good news and some bad news.

HP MediaSmart Server 3.0 Software Update Progress

In the latter stages of testing our 3.0 software update, a couple of issues were discovered with the upgrade disks. One was related to compatibility with PowerPack 3 and the other with the media streaming software. Both issues have fixes and we are now going back through our build and testing process. As a result, the 3.0 software update DVD availability will now be in February. While this delay was unexpected, we remain committed to providing this upgrade path for owners of our EX470/475/485/487 products. As previously communicated, these upgrades will be available as a server recovery solution.

The cost of the upgrade DVD has been finalized and will be US$25 or €25.

Of course the bad news is that the release of the 3.0 software for previous generation MediaSmart Servers has been delayed to February. The good news is that HP has reaffirmed it’s commitment to providing us with the update, as well as confirmed that the process will be a Server Recovery that preserves your data rather than requiring a Factory Reset that would force a clean install.

About 3 weeks ago I received copies of the above mentioned 3.0 software update, one for the EX47x servers and another for the EX48x server. These are full 3-disk media packs individually suited for each hardware platform that include the Server Recovery DVD, PC Install CD, and PC Restore CD all with the 3.0p1 software. I upgraded both an EX475 and an EX487 server, and was largely successful though I did encounter both of the issues described in the HP announcement. The process went very smoothly, and after discovering a workaround to resolve the PP3 install issue both systems were functioning well. The nature of the issues do require more development and testing time, and with the holidays here I can understand HP needing more time to work on these updates.

I’ve heard many comments in the forums, but the one that sticks with me the most came from forum member “Comp1962″.

While I want the 3.0 I want it working perfectly so if it takes them longer then so be it.

We’ve waited a while for the 3.0 update, and from what I saw during my time running the pre-release updates on my EX475 and EX487 I think it’s worth waiting for HP to get the update process working great.





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.


{ 93 comments }

bostoneric December 17, 2009 at 10:41 pm

I’m anxious for the 3.0 upgrade, but I want it to be 100%.
we all have lots of important data on our WHS, how frustrated would we be if something was wrong that causes us to lose our data for whatever reason.
waiting longer sucks but I’ll wait. Its not like my WHS isnt running anything but dreamy!! :)

COPC December 17, 2009 at 11:13 pm

I agree with Alex and most members we want it! But we want it working correctly, so its worth the wait!!

Kudos to HP for having our backs. Hey HP Merry Christmas and thanks for the Happy New Year!

Comp1962 December 18, 2009 at 12:17 am

I am pleased to hear that HP is committed to working on the 3.0 update and have recognised issues they are working on to resolve. I am a firm believer in doing things once and sometimes that just takes longer but in the long run it actually saves time and frustration.

I am pleased with Alex posting this update. Feb is not to far off maybe it will come out on Valentines Day since we all love our servers so much. I am no profit but man that would be a cool release date.

Alex do you have a TRMx unit on the EX475 you tested the 3.0 Update on? Someone as you may recall posted a message about performing a Server Recovery with one but it missed the TRMx and reported them missing but then showed the drives in the unit as available but not part of the storage pool. I am really hoping you have a TRMx on your EX475 because that would be good news for me.

Daniel Baird December 18, 2009 at 5:52 am

AT least they have integrated PP3 in as well.
Some of the forum posts were none too positive about them adding it in prior to release.

HeLRaZR December 18, 2009 at 9:11 am

Thanks for the update Alex, disappointed it will be late but glad to hear it will be right up to date with PP3 and hopefully bug free.

Texas-Hansen December 18, 2009 at 1:47 pm

Alex – Thanks for the updated information.

@ Daniel Beard and HeLRaZR – Alex will need to chime in to confirm or correct but I do not think that PP3 is currently integrated with HP’s 3.0 softare release that is being delayed. PP3 was released in its final form a little over 3 weeks ago and the development cycle to integrate it would require more lead time than that. I think the compatability issue mentioned involves installing the HP 3.0 software and then applying PP3 after downloading it from MS.

Chris Foster December 21, 2009 at 6:26 am

I for one cannot wait for the update, but as so many people have already said, I’d rather it works out the box than having to fix things afterwards…god forbid lose any data.

BIG THUMBS Up to HP for supporting the original owners..

Darkon December 21, 2009 at 10:17 pm

As with everyone else, I support HP’s decision to delay the release until it is fully tested and major known issues are resolved. I commend them for that, but I also wag my finger at the fact that they will have taken nearly a year after the release of the 48x series (with the 2.5 feature set) before finally getting out a release for the 47x users. A little bit of clear thinking a year ago would have resulted in the 47x users having the 2.5 release soon after the 48x release and the cost of their original mistake continues to increase for us and them as this continues to drag on. Yes, I’ll be glad to have the HP 3.0 release, but I would rather have had the 2.5 release a year ago than have had to wait this long for the 3.0 release.

Klips December 22, 2009 at 11:59 pm

OK, so there will be an *upgrade* path. But what if a person wants to do a clean install. Is it possible to get a set of disks to do just that?

Texas-Hansen December 23, 2009 at 8:13 am

@ Klips – My guess is the answer is yes. You just select factory reset rather than server recovery to do a clean install of WHS and the HP software overlay on WHS.

Alex Kuretz December 23, 2009 at 8:21 pm

Note that a Server Recovery still completely replaces the OS, so it is in effect a clean install with the benefit that you can retain your data in the shared folders. And yes, the preview disk I got had both Server Recovery and Factory Reset modes.

Bjorn Ivarsoy December 28, 2009 at 2:16 pm

Great news – thanks for bring this out. I am looking forward to this and will by this update from HP. Thanks HP. I live in Norway and bought my EX487 in the US this summer.

piknik December 30, 2009 at 1:43 pm

Anyone know if we can change (ie increase) the size of the local C: partition? Would like to increase from 20Gb to something like 50?

bob January 6, 2010 at 7:51 pm

I’m considering making my first purchase of a NAS storage unit and I’m thinking about buying either the EX485 or the new ex490.

Though with this new 3.0 software upgrade being available down the road for the ex485 wouldn’t the 485 with 3.0 software essentially act as a ex490?

The reason I ask is that I’m trying to justify the extra $100-$200 for 490.

Darkon January 6, 2010 at 8:06 pm

Bob:
If you are looking for something that provides more growth down the road, I believe that going with the 490 gets you multi-drive support for the eSATA port while the 48x model only supports a single drive on the eSATA port. Of course you would first need to fill up all 4 internal drive bays before that would be necessary (and you still have a couple of USB ports you could use), but if you are looking for a LOT of storage the 49x models (or the 47x models) will let you connect an eSATA drive box with 4 drives in it. Personally, the only thing tempting me away from my 470 is the 495 with the Core 2 dual-core processor, but I’m waiting to see how the 3.0 update works on my 470 before deciding if I really need the extra processing power enough to justify the much higher cost. I still kicking myself that I missed out on some guy that was selling a few 495′s for $499 on ebay until he wised up and realized he could get at least $100 more than that.

KwadGuy January 8, 2010 at 2:11 pm

I can see no reason to get a 48x Mediasmart server. Either get a 47x box, bump the memory, and do the upgrade to 3.0, or get the 49x box. The 48x boxes have more memory from the factory, but don’t allow chaining the eSata port. The 490 really doesn’t seem very tempting, either, since the processor is only nominally faster. The only real appeal, once everything runs 3.0, is the presumably quieter power supply.

So either a 47x box or a 495. To me, that’s really the choice. The 470 boxes were available as refurbs for a while for around $230…Hard pass that up…

Bruce Kibbey January 12, 2010 at 2:32 pm

I’ve managed to dork up the Twonky powered features on my 485 (i want it to do automatic video transcoding) and can’t figure out how to get it re-installed. Do you guys think I could get that back by performing this upgrade? If so… should I do a full backup before the upgrade or should I chance it?

Alex Kuretz January 12, 2010 at 3:04 pm

Are you missing the Add-In or will it not reinstall? The 3.0 update will replace the OS so you’ll be set to the normal 3.0 configuration after performing the upgrade.

Bruce Kibbey January 12, 2010 at 3:32 pm

I uninstalled the add-in trying to fix something else and don’t know how to re-install it without doing a server restore. Don’t want to hijack the thread but if you know how to get it re-installed, by all means, educate me. I’m talking about the components that came with the 2.5 upgrade that allow for automatic transcoding… At least I think they were “Twonky” powered. I could be wrong on that.

Alex Kuretz January 12, 2010 at 3:39 pm

The Video Converter is an Arcsoft solution and not related to Twonky. If you uninstalled the Twonky Add-In via the Add-Ins tab of the Home Server Console then it should show up in the Available tab. If it’s missing from your Add-In share, then copies of any previously installed Add-Ins will exist on the server in C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft\Windows Home Server.

Bruce Kibbey January 12, 2010 at 6:12 pm

Well, shows you what I know. Twonky appears installed. Arcsoft is what is missing then. I guess my question goes back then to… Do you think the 3.0 upgrade process will restore Arcsoft (or any transcoding capability) to me?

Also – Is there a place on HP’s website that I should keep an eye on to see when the upgrade is actually released?

Thanks for the help!

Alex Kuretz January 13, 2010 at 12:02 pm

3.0 does include the Video Converter and so yes, will restore your system to a working state. You can also get working again by performing a Server Recovery with your current software.

Watching this site (you can subscribe for RSS or email updates in the top-right corner) will likely be the fastest way to find out when the update is available. I don’t know of any specific page on the HP site that will show the status.

John Groves January 15, 2010 at 7:02 am

I would be happy to respond to your pop-up if only you would explain

what you mean ?

Bryan January 25, 2010 at 9:55 am

Any updates on the release date? Do you know if there is a “pre-order” link availiable yet?

Alex Kuretz January 25, 2010 at 10:00 am

Updates and more details will be posted on this site as they are available from HP.

Tmontana February 6, 2010 at 6:42 am

Any idea about international upgrades to 3.0?

I bought my 475 in France and really hate the French WHS and HP interface. I would pay a lot of money to get an English version (well you see what I mean…). Alex, I believe you said the install would work through Server Recovery. Doesn’t that mean I could replace my French OS with a US one running 3.0?

Thanks,

Rob Greenlee February 10, 2010 at 12:56 pm

So how exactly do you do a server recovery with this 3.0 Upgrade DVD if the 470 home server does not have a DVD drive?

Alex Kuretz February 10, 2010 at 1:11 pm

Server Recovery is performed from a Client PC, we’ve got some details in the Wiki on how this process works if you are interested.

Alex Kuretz February 11, 2010 at 3:25 pm

Tmontana, I believe this is an unsupported configuration, the share names are different for the various localizations. You’d need to perform a Factory Reset to be sure everything would work properly. Also note that WHS doesn’t support mixed locale environments, meaning if you have French PCs you’ll want a French OS server.

Tmontana February 17, 2010 at 8:01 am

Thanks Alex. I have US PCs in fact. Look – I understand a lot of people like to have localized versions of their software (well in fact I don’t get it but it seems to be a fact). The problem is that very often, local versions are buggy, badly designed and badly supported and that was absolutely the case with WHS and the HP mediasmart software.

I cannot tell you how many localization-related problems I have had that none of you English users have had. Also (and that’s got to be really really wrong) there is no local support whatsoever – none – nada. So I had to call the US support line and they don’t know anything about local versions!!!

I’ve had to dabble so much with names of the shares already to make stuff work that I really don’t mind giving server recovery a try. I’ll let you know how it goes. Cheers,

Mark Grunenwald February 20, 2010 at 5:11 am

So I am guessing Feb. is out. March maybe? Considering this late date I think common courtesy would call for some sort of communications from HP.

Brandon February 21, 2010 at 1:30 pm

So any update on the… update? :-)

Scott February 22, 2010 at 7:46 am

The guy I talked to yesterday seemed pretty clueless. He just said “we’re uhm…not sure what the release date on that will be”. Maybe they’re not aware of how many people are anxious for this software, perhaps we should all call inquiring about it. Maybe if everyone and their brother working at HP is telling their boss that they’ve answered 300 phone calls concerning the update, then maybe we can get at least a status update.

1-800-HP-INVENT then just a couple of automated steps and when you’re asked what product you’re calling about say “mediasmart server”

Comp1962 February 22, 2010 at 9:43 am

@ Scott ~ Hey I want the 3.0 too but I am not in such a rush for it that I want it released containing issues. Its issues in the first place which HP noticed and rather then release it with issues they opted to resolve those issues and then release it.

I believe HP is well aware that a great many people are interested in 3.0 and just because someone on the phone may appear clueless may simply be the lack of inter departmental communication at HP or some other reason obviously unknown to us.

If you got 3.0 today you might be singing and dancing but if it contains bugs and creates problems then we would be posting things like why did they release it before fixing the damn thing.

When its out it will be out. Honestly my EX470 is running perfectly and while I do want the 3.0 update I am very happy with the way my server is running now so I can wait.

Scott February 22, 2010 at 9:59 am

I’m so sick of that excuse. Bug fixes wouldn’t take this long if they were devoting the necessary resources to this project. It’s not a major OS release, we don’t need windows 7 from HP, just a variation of the software already on the 495 machines. If a bunch of enthusiasts can rig their 470 machines to almost perfectly run the software from the 485s & 495s there’s no reason for HP not to be able to pull it off. Or perhaps HP should be recruiting help from the mediasmart forums.

I really am glad your box is working well now. I, like many others who’s comments I’ve read, are looking to this update to correct some long standing issues we’ve had.

Darkon February 22, 2010 at 11:06 am

Being an early EX470 owner, I’ve been waiting a LONG time for an HP update. We SHOULD have had an the 2.5 update the same time or soon aftger they released the 2.5 version for the EX48x models, but that thought never entered their minds until there was a pretty massive backlash against HP from the customer base.

Then they said they’d give us the full 2.5 feature set. However, after repeated delays they said we’l instead get the 3.0 release instead after another delay. And then this was delayed again. Now I’m thinking that there will soon be an HP EX5xx series released with a 3.5 or 4.0 software version and we’ll be told to just wait another year for that to be released to us instead of the 2.5 or 3.0 releases we were promised many, many months ago.

Yes, quality is important, but if the only choice is a high quality release that is never delivered vs. a mediocre release, then I’ll be looking again at alternatives to HP again. They fooled me once or twice by promsing things they haven’t delivered, but the are losing (have lost) all credibility here.

Klips February 22, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Yes, I had a feeling that it would be just a big pipe dream that we would ever see any upgrades. Just like many other manufacturers, they have moved on. This isn’t any different than how Apple treats ipod users. As soon as they bring out a new model which is usually about 9-12months, then you can forget about ever seeing any of the newer software features brought into the older capable models. Why should we expect any different treatment from HP. :(

Joe February 22, 2010 at 4:42 pm

By the time this new 3.0 gets here we have to decide whether to use it or get Vail. We are never happy and when Vail comes out we will all expect a free copy for helping Microsoft and HP develop a Home Server Market by being early adopters. The members of this website and a few others have done all the troubleshooting and testing this software.

Gary Johnson February 22, 2010 at 4:54 pm

Yeah,

Like “Vail” is going to run on a dual core CPU w/2GB of ram.

I’m finally getting fair results with Twonky – it only took a quad core Xeon w/12mb of cache, a supermicro MB, and 8GB of ECC ram. It still hogs 25% CPU usage at idle, but it least it can now stream a video.

I know WHS can’t use all 8GB before anyone decides they need to point that out – we’re just getting ready for Vail early.

Antec Mini P180
Silverstone 500W PSU
SuperMicro X7SBL-LN1-O
8GB Kingston DDR2 ECC Memory
Intel Xeon L3360 Yorkfield 2.83GHz 12MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Quad-Core Server Processor

Quieter than a mouse. Rock solid.

The “Tim Allen” WHS

Darkon February 22, 2010 at 4:59 pm

Well, that’s exactly the problem that happens when HP is so slow to respond on things like this that SHOULD have been anticipated and delivered when the new release first came out.

While “better late than never” is true, “better on-time than late” is more true and nobody wins any prizes for always being late or never delivering at all. Hopefully Vail is far enough in the future that we won’t be too frustrated that there is no upgrade path for EX47x/48x/49x users. Then again, at the current pace we’ll get the 3.0 update which will still include bugs that won’t ever be fixed and we’ll just be told we need to buy an EX5xx (with a “generous” offer of a 5% discount off the full retail price plus tax and shipping).

I’ve really tried hard to remain an HP MSS fanboy, but now I’m just disgusted with HP’s crappy treatment of its MSS customers and their half-a..ed efforts to follow-through on their promises. They really are doing an outstanding job of putting themselves in a no-win position with their customers.

Jim McCarthy February 22, 2010 at 6:00 pm

You know, I understand the frustration with the wait. I really do. However, I’d really rather waiting a few weeks to make sure that this is rock-solid. I’m sure that HP will deliver this. And soon. And it will work.

Darkon February 22, 2010 at 6:15 pm

Yeah, but that’s the problem. We’ve already waited a few weeks, and then a few months, and then a couple of months more. All under the excuse of “We want to make sure we do it right.”

Well, “DUH!”. Silly me, but I assumed that had been the plan from the begining, and while things can go wrong, they shouldn’t keep going wrong over and over again. That’s just bad planning and pure incompetence with being able to anticipate the unexpected and including some slop in your schedule to account for it. But only an naive fool assumes that nothing unexpected will arise and has to repeatedly delay their release date, especially for something that really should be a pretty minor release.

HP has chosen each of their release dates, not us, so the burden is on them to hit their dates. And it isn’t like they set very aggressive release dates either, so this all reflecs very poorly on HP.

When they agreed to release the update their heart may have (finally!) been in the right place, but I think their brains are somewhere else completely.

Gary Johnson February 22, 2010 at 8:02 pm

The appropriate time to make sure they got it right was when they originally put this software package into what they advertised as a “Media Smart Server” with the capabilities they advertised. How can anyone who owns one of thesehelp but feel that they got sold a bill of goods by HP. I bought my ex485 over a year ago. It never worked the way it was supposed to. Twonky Media killed performance right out of the box if you had even a modest media library. The original hard drive failed about 4 months in.

We became so disgusted with the performance that we upgraded the CPU to the E5200. It was still good for nothing more than daily backup, personal user file shares, and music streaming. We worked for about a month trying to work out all the kinks from the E5200 upgrade and finally just came to the realization that we were never going to get enough power into this form factor do do the things this system was advertised to do.

The concept and advertising for the whole MSS line is very attractive. It convinced me to buy the HP rather than build my own system. Boy, do I feel like a fool. HP really put it over on me.

Now everyone is waiting on pins and needles for the chance to give another $25 – $30 to HP in the hope that they will get what they thought they were paying for over a year ago! Go right ahead if you want, I’ve been fooled by HP one time too many already.

Alex Kuretz February 22, 2010 at 10:08 pm
Darkon February 22, 2010 at 10:23 pm

Thanks for the update Alex. I have no doubt that your site has served as a good hearing aid for HP :-)

Looking forward to reading the doc you posted to get the details on the update while I wait to get it. I previously upgraded my RAM (one of the first things you HAD to do with the EX47x serives to make it usable) but have held off on the CPU upgrade until I could test the 3.0 update on the original CPU.

BTW: Will you be posting any details on how the update performs on the 47x/48x hardware with upgraded RAM? It would be great to have a point for comparison when I test the update.

Thanks again!

Alex Kuretz February 22, 2010 at 10:38 pm

I’m working on a guide that will likely be published tomorrow, it covers the considerations that a user should make when they decide to upgrade or not, a step-by-step of how the process goes, and my thoughts on the performance of the systems when it’s all done. I’ll go ahead and say that things work surprisingly well, my EX487 is stock and my EX475 has a 1GB RAM upgrade and both are functioning well. You’ll get more details soon… :)

Ted February 22, 2010 at 10:44 pm

Geez, who to kiss first, Alex or HP….

Alex Kuretz February 22, 2010 at 10:47 pm

I’m participating in “Facial Hair February”, even my wife doesn’t want to kiss me too much right now. ;)

Gary Johnson February 23, 2010 at 10:44 am

Alex,

I’m participating in facial hair Winter. My wife doesn’t bother me as much either!

I do appreciate your excellent website and all you do for the user community.

Unlike most posters here, however, I am no longer happy about paying for this update. I purchased the HP Server specifically because of the advertising claims that it would allow me to stream video and pictures for family and friends, over the internet. That’s why I bought the unit. Now to have HP say, “Yes, we never, really got that right, but for an additional $25 we will let you have another chance to see if we really fixed it this time.”

I am amazed at the lack of outrage by users here. The consensus here is eager anticipation to shell out more money to get what they already paid for. HP should be embarrassed to charge users for this upgrade. It only shows that they have no respect for their users. We should be discussing filing class action law suits, rather than asking how soon can we give HP more money.

Alex Kuretz February 23, 2010 at 10:51 am

Hi Gary,

I hear your frustration, however I’ve not heard the same degree of frustration from the community. You seem familiar, have you sought assistance in the forums here to hopefully improve your experience with the MediaSmart Server? I agree the remote video streaming experience isn’t robust from my testing, but it does work to some degree and the music streaming experience performs mostly quite well for me.

We’d like to help in the forums if you’re interesting in letting us know what your specific issues are. I don’t share the sentiment that class-action lawsuits are the right answer, but I definitely understand that you are frustrated and unhappy. Perhaps if you have a support history with HP you could use that as leverage to request the upgrade, I have no idea if they’ll go for this, simply offering a possible suggestion.

Thanks,
Alex

Gary Johnson February 23, 2010 at 11:51 am

Thanks Alex,

I’ve done exhaustive research and testing, as well as contact with HP Support to try to get a satisfactory resolution to address the disparity between the marketing claims and the disappointing performance with Twonky Media. What I find shocking is that I appear to a lone voice in the wilderness. Twonky isn’t too bad if you put a very small media library in the folders it can access. Once you put a modestly sized media library at its disposal, it brings the system to its knees.

The conclusion is that this harware/software combination was never appropriate and HP marketed capabilities that were unrealistic. Charging end users to remedy this situation is disgraceful.

We’ve tested WebGuide and found that it performs better than Twonky, but there are issued with it, and the author is no longer working on the software. I mention WebGuide only as an example of software that can stream video over internet without hogging CPU usage.

HP should have tested the advertised capabilities of their product and provided a useable system prior to release, rather than using us as Beta tester and then asking us to pay again for something that might work.

Where are we if we shell out another $25 and it still doesn’t work? How many chances shoud they get? How much should it cost us? I, for one, just can’t understand the consumer’s desire to cheerfully be abused repeatedly when it involves computers. If your TV doesn’t work properly, you demand a repair, if your computer doesn’t work properly, you wonder what YOU did wrong!

I just think everyone should think twice before rewarding HP for selling a flawed product.

Darkon February 23, 2010 at 12:19 pm

From what I recall, when 2.5 came out and HP said Ex47x users wouldn’t get the new features, the user community was very upset and expressed their frustration and displeasure. This was largely before reports of some of the problems you mentioned, so it was really just 47x users wanting the new features. Some people (myself included) said that they would be willing to pay a small amount to get the new features if that was the only way to get HP to decide to relase the 2.5 update for 47x customers.

Of course, while HP was dragging their heels on the update, they released the 49x series with the 3.0 software. That, combined with the unaddressed problems in the 2.5 release affecting 48x customers appears to have resulted in the decision to put out the 3.0 release for both 47x and 48x customers rather than trying to fix the problems in an updated 2.5 release. So while paing $25 (which seems a bit on the high side to me) may have been somethat acceptable for a “new feature release”, it later become much less acceptable because it turned into a “only way to get bug fixes” release that happened to include some new features for 48x customers.

But I really wish that HP had just decided to post the ISO images and only charge a fee for poeple that wanted physical media delivered.

Alex Kuretz February 23, 2010 at 2:05 pm

@Gary – Sounds like you’ve done due diligence trying to sort through the issues, sorry to hear it turned out that way. For curiosities sake I’d be interested to hear the size of the libraries you’re dealing with that cause problems.

@Darkon – HP can’t post ISO’s due to Microsoft licensing restrictions on the Server Recovery media.

Darkon February 23, 2010 at 2:08 pm

One last thing to put things into perspective (at least from my own experiences). Overall I have been very happy with my HP Ex470 because it runs WHS in a well-designed box. WHS (which could run on any box) really does a good job of meeting many of my needs and I really like the design of the EX boxes.

However, where HP did a great job of advertising the value they add beyond the basic WHS feature set, their ability to delier these extra features has fallen short of what I would expect. In many cases these extra features simply did not work very well or at all for many users, and I have to wonder if anyone at HP actually uses any of these features on a daily basis and how much testing really goes into them because some of the problems are so obvious it is hard to believe they wouldn’t have been caught in the most superficial testing.

Another issue is that many of the add-ins are licensed or use code from other companies. This has the benefit of allowing HP to offer more functionality with less people on the MSS team, but it means they have less control over the quality of these components. It also takes users longer to the updates for these components because they be integrated into an HP release (which as we’ve seen can take a LOOONNNGGGG time).

The one area where I’d really commend HP is their addition of Mac support. I really think they listened to users on this one and have (incrementally) delivered what people like myself wanted in this area. Nobody else offers anything like this (as far as I know).

So my experiences with HP fal into the “You can only be hurt by the ones you love” category.

Gary Johnson February 23, 2010 at 2:39 pm

Thanks for your interest Alex,

My D:\shares folder is 274 GB.

This includes:
Converted Videos – 24.8GB
Music – 98.2GB, 28,154 Files
Photos – 69.5GB, 24,469 Files

Although some may think this is “sizeable”, I contend that this system is sold with 3 empty drive bays. Surely it is conceivable that large media libraries, much larger than mine, are going to be put on these systems. After all, we are in the age of 2TB drives. Even if we used a TB for backups, there is still enough capacity to manage 6+TB of additional storage. In that this is marketed as a Media Smart System, I assume that HP anticipated that the additional storage capacity would likely be used to store media files. That is why I am dismayed that this product was released with such dismal software.

I have asked on several WHS forums if anyone has ever had any satisfactory results running Twonky. The consensus is always that you’re just better off removing it so that the other functions of the server can run much better once the CPU drag from Twonky is removed.

Also, understand that I am doing all testing on a wired gigabit network connected to FIOS internet service with 35/35 speed. If it can’t work well with 35mbs upload speeds, it must be terrible trying to get results with slower connection speeds.

So I think I’m trying to gauge what the chances are that the next version is somehow going to be more successful than the last. I’m not convinced that this platform will ever be able to successfully run this application. If somehow they do get it right this time, isn’t that we thought we were buying originally? Why should we have to pay for a bug fix?

Alex Kuretz February 23, 2010 at 3:04 pm

My music library is about a third the size of yours, my photos are similar, and my video library is much larger though I’ve only converted a handful to mobile streaming format for testing as I’ve not found that feature useful for me plus it doesn’t work reliably or effectively. I listen to music stream all day most every day at work, and though the Flash interface has a few quirks it largely works very well for me. Twonky has also worked well in my home for streaming to multiple media streamers.

To confirm, your issues are strictly with the Remote Web Streaming, correct? Or do you have problems with in-home streaming as well?

I don’t have any sure-fire fixes for you. It sounds like the MSS doesn’t meet your needs, and I’m not sure the 3.0 update will resolve things for you so I can’t recommend you personally spend money trying it. I am interested to hear what you come up with as an alternate solution that does work well.

Gary Johnson February 23, 2010 at 3:26 pm

Yes. I primarily bought the ex485 in the hope that it would satisfy my need to provide access to friends and family so that I wouldn’t have to mail dvd’s or send emails every time we went on vacation or one of my kids performed in the school play. The idea of just giving them an account so they could access and view remotely was the reason I bought the ex485. Now, after over a year of wasting time trying to get it to work, I’ve all but given up.

As for internal sharing, Windows Media Center and iTunes work so much better, why use Twonky? They work even better when Twonky is disabled and the overhead is gone.

Yes, I agree that Twonky is adequate for streaming music. But it’s much easier to get rid of Twonky altogether and take a USB drive to work.

Alex Kuretz February 23, 2010 at 3:31 pm

I disagree about the USB drive, it’s so much easier to update my music in place and know I can get at it anywhere I want.

I do agree that WMC is superior, but iTunes does not suit my needs, and neither works with the majority of media streaming devices such as the WDTV Live, PopCorn Hour, MediaSmart Connect, etc. But all that is an entirely different discussion that should be taken up in the forums. :)

Sorry to hear of your difficulties, I do understand your frustration. Hopefully you’re able to work out a solution that suits your needs.

Bruce Kibbey February 25, 2010 at 6:27 am

Man I really hate that HP put out an unfinished product and blah blah blah… blah blah blah…

oh… the HP order link is live, click click click wallet…

And I just placed my order. (a little more than $25 after they added shipping, tax, and undercoating)

CONFIRMATION FROM HP
Your order has been successfully accepted.
Your order number is XXXXXX , and your cost is $29.63 (USD).
The estimated date of delivery is 03/05/2010

My server is all backed up and ready to be upgraded. Anyone have any advice on when I should add new discs to the server though? I have 2 new 1.5′s that I’d like to put in, before the upgrade or after? (i’m thinking after right now)

Scott February 25, 2010 at 7:07 am

@Bruce – My experience as far as factory resets go, is that it’s better to have one drive in and then add the others afterwards, seems to make everything go a little faster. I would imagine the same is true for a server restore.

Mark G March 2, 2010 at 6:41 pm

So I placed my order right away, last Thursday the 25th. I paid for overnight and the order status page says expected delivery date 3-2-10 but no other info. I called to check on the order status and the poor guys answering the phones in the Mediasmart group have no idea. I was told there are delays and some orders are being pushed weeks into March. Could he tell me anything about my order…no of course!
I could burn these CDs faster than HP is! What is the problem here? How can they have no information at all! How can they say “here it is! Place your order, give me your money” and then not follow thru. I wonder if I will ever actually get this.

Has anyone actually received a copy yet?

Darkon March 2, 2010 at 8:24 pm

Man, every time HP does something positive and moves one step forward, they have to something stupid like this (delaying shipment of the disks for 3+ weeks for many customers) that negates much of the goodwill they had gained. They really are their own worst enemy.

HP should really just get approval from MS to provide a for-fee download option for this (Digital River or whatever). After all, it’s not like someone won’t be ripping these to ISO images and posting them somewhere on the Internet anyway, so at least save everyone a lot of time and effort by just making them available quickly and easily.

Chuck Coleman March 2, 2010 at 9:08 pm

I just went to the HP download site for the EX470 and they’ve posted a new download: HP MediaSmart Server – Data Vault 3.0. There isn’t any description. What’s this? Is it the 3.0 software? It’s a 37MB file. Any ideas?

Darkon March 2, 2010 at 9:12 pm

@Chuck
I believe the Data Valut is a business-focused versionof the EX49x that doesn’t have the “home/media” features of the MSS EX49x, but it probably has the rest of the 3.0 software. The file you mentioned is probably just an update for that model. In any case, it isn’t anything the 47x or 48x users want.

Chuck Coleman March 2, 2010 at 9:14 pm

Darkon,

Then I wonder if HP made a mistake by placing it in the MSS 470 section of updates?

Darkon March 2, 2010 at 9:16 pm

I don’t know, but if it was a mistake would anyone be even remotely surprised? After all, the 3.0 disks were listed under something other than Windows Server, which makes no sense at all. Sigh.

Mark G March 3, 2010 at 9:27 am

That update, judging from the version number, looks like a v3.0 update. The same update appears on the EX495 download page. Maybe this should be something we look into if and when we ever get to go to v3.0.

Klips March 3, 2010 at 9:43 am

Yes, I let myself get all excited that they wanted some money from me for the v3.0 software. I even looked up the differences in shipping and it said somewhere in there that it would ship something like the next if order by…

So I upgraded the shipping to faster delivery and thought that it would ship like it said the “next business day…”.

Of course, I get an email saying that estimated ship date would be 3/16/10.

They could have at least waited to charge my card until they were *really* ready-to-ship.

*** sigh ***

Gary Johnson March 4, 2010 at 7:40 pm

I know most HP fanboys disagree with my assesment of the HP MSS’s. Don’t take my word for it. Before you waste another $30, I’d suggest reading this review.

Here’s the best review of the ex495 I’ve seen yet. It accurately documents the software problems it has.

http://computershopper.com/networking/reviews/hp-mediasmart-server-ex495

Mark G March 6, 2010 at 12:10 pm

I think Gary has missed a fundamental point. I can appreciate and understand all the hard work and research he seems to have spent time on however, if you don’t want to do all that, if you don’t want to tinker, if you want a box that plugs in, turns on and you’re done then you don’t buy a Windows Home Server, let alone an HP MediaSmart Server.
Every company has it’s “fan boys”. I am certainly not an HP fan boy but I am a MediaSmart fan. It is certainly not perfect but, according to the same review that Gary mentioned, it offers some unique features, far more functionality than your basic NAS. Add to that all the add-ins that provide additional services and you have something special. There is no other consumer grade device that offers anywhere near the functionality of an HP MediaSmart Home Server
Yes, all this added functionality requires some attention but to be frank that is exactly what I like, that is exactly what this is all about. I have thoroughly enjoyed the hours and hours I have spent working my EX475 getting more and more from it. The services and functionality I can provide to my friends and family over my local network and the Internet is pretty incredible considering the investment.
If you don’t want to tinker, if you don’t want to experiment, if you don’t want to sweat out the OS version upgrade delays, then you shouldn’t by a Home Server. You should get some generic, white bread NAS. Plug it in, turn it on and go about your day.

Scott March 6, 2010 at 4:22 pm

I disagree with Gary AND Mark. I don’t think the MSS is a complete turd, but I also think having to spend hours and hours getting decent performance out of it is ridiculous. I think when you kiss a company’s butt even when they are obviously dropping the ball it only encourages them to continue doing things the way they’re doing them.

Mark G March 7, 2010 at 2:16 pm

Agreed Scott. HP has dropped the ball. I hope I didn’t sound like I was kissing HP’s butt (not good!). I just enjoy tinkering.

We have all probably received this message by now (see below). Define diligently! I think HP’s definition may not be the same as ours.

“Dear Customer:
At HP our products are designed, manufactured and serviced, to meet our high standards.

We apologize for the possible delay in delivery of your service; however, we are diligently working on expediting your order.
Service Order Number # XXXXXXXX
Model # 589796-ZH1
Serial # NSN

I am going to wait. I have no choice short of dropping $500 or more for the EX49X. There is simply nothing any of us can do about it.

Klips March 7, 2010 at 4:10 pm

I would have rather seen HP not start taking orders until they were actually ready to deploy the product.

Regardless of any of our comments made about quality, bugs or whatever about the product; when you take the money from someone for a product, you better be sure you have a product to deliver. Otherwise, I believe this is awfully close to becoming fraudulent actions. I saw nothing mentioned in placing my order or afterward about there being any form of production delays or that the product wasn’t ready. So what exactly is HP selling? If nothing else, I guess they should be calling these orders “pre-sales” for a product that isn’t available yet.

So, I’m saying that when HP starts taking orders for the upgrade product that they just crossed a new boundary (legally and/or ethically, I’m not sure).

Darkon March 7, 2010 at 6:47 pm

Addmittedly, I’m not a lawyer, but I really doubt there is any real legal issue here…if there were, then every company that had an unexpected delay with delivering a product woulg be getting sued. They didn’t actually promise you that you would get the disk on a particular date and even “overnight shipping” doesn’t mean you’ll get it the next day, just that you’ll get it the day after it ships.

But there is certainly a business and customer relations issue. Quite possibly knowing they wouldn’t be able to hit their last announced ship date February, they probably chose to pre-empt the well-deserved HP bashing they would get by missing yet another date and instead announce it was “ready” and start taking orders with fingers crossed that the planets would align and they would be able to ship before the end of the month or first week of March. Even if they were a bit late, they could blame the delay on the disk duplicator.

But here we are entering the second week of March and as far as I can tell nobody has received their disks…or even had them shipped yet.

HP is like inseparable siamese twin brothers where one is a great guy that everyone likes while the other is really unpleasant and is always screwing up what the good brother is doing.

Klips March 7, 2010 at 8:30 pm

Well, I do see an expected delivery date posted on my order. It’s not the same as I have seen others post. I think it was March 16th. For them to put such specific dates and every order having one that seems to be tailored to a date by I am assuming when they ordered it and how backlogged they may be on the fulfillment of those orders. If HP are taking orders for a product that they cannot produce as some has suggested for various reasons, then I think this does start to imply some potential legal boundaries as too why it is OK to sell it.

I have seen software sold as “Pre-Order” to a specific release date. However, this usually means that production has already been fast at work packaging up the software, stocking warehouses, running promotional ads for a product that actually exists and there is no chance of slippage of that release date. That does not seem to be the case here. I’m hearing that it is still in the development/testing phase without an actual finalized product. It is possible that I miss-understood some of the information that I have been reading, but I think that HP better get it together. This issue is directly impacting the individual consumer, but a good many of those consumers also work in positions within corporation that could impact commercial sales. I have seen trends like this make itself apparent throughout a company’s culture. These are all signs of a company that has lost its direction, its mojo, etc. Signs like this are just like pre-cursors to major potential company suicide. There have been many of fine companies to find themselves tumbling down the slippery slope of their own doings. Take Toyota for example. Quality??? Yes, we fixed it! NOT!!! *** sigh ***

Mark G March 9, 2010 at 7:15 pm

We Got Served is reporting “European HP MediaSmart Server Owners Start Receiving v3.0 Update”

I am getting fed up. I placed my order the 25th and paid for overnight shipping. The overseas markets could not even order the upgrade for almost a week after that and they are already receiving their CDs. Here in the US I (we) are still waiting. The MediaSmart group has a canned response to calls about some mysterious people that will call me (who knows when) to tell me the status of my perpetual delayed order. No one at HP knows who these mystery people are, just that I will get a call someday.

HP has stonewalled every attempt I have made to discover the status of my order. The only person that offered to help asked if I wanted to cancel my order as that was all he could do.

I can’t believe this is happening. I have always said I am a patient person but patience has its limits.

ayoung March 9, 2010 at 7:46 pm

has anyone gotten the disk yet. I called hp and they transferred me to 3 departments. and then i hung up.

Bruce Kibbey March 11, 2010 at 1:20 pm

@ayoung:
I made it through about 6 telephone forwards and finally got to the right team of people. (what an ordeal… about 20 minutes, i was nearing hangup several times, especially with their voice prompt system, yuk).

Anyway, the only thing the guy could tell me was that their supplier had back-ordered the disc’s and that he expected that I would receive mine on or about (with lots of caveat’s and no guarantees) March 23rd.

He asked me if I had paid for express shipping, I didn’t, but I think he would have canceled that for me if I had, saving some money. He mentioned that no charges would go to my card until the order was ready for shipment.

Finally, he told me that if I had to get back in touch with them, to dial the HP support number in the order confirmation, go to “Tech Support” at the first prompt, then “Something Else” at the second prompt, then “A mediasmart server” at the third prompt.

Hope that helps some of you. This is really more painful than it needs to be.

Mark G March 11, 2010 at 4:10 pm

So I got a phone call today from the mystery HP department doing the CD distribution. I was told my new expected delivery date is the 15th. Assuming I actually receive my CDs next week as promised then it looks like there really is someone trying to catch up on this.

I’ll believe it when I see it though. Over the course of the last few months we have all come to learn that what HP says doesn’t necessarily come true.

Hopefully my next post will be more positive. I normally don’t post all this negative stuff.

Comp1962 March 11, 2010 at 6:03 pm

For those of you who are concerned with being charged for a product you have yet to receive by HP. I suggest you check your account transactions. When I ordered my update a transaction with HP did appear and today I check my account and its as if the transaction never took place.

I only checked my account because someone posted a message saying they would not be charged until HP actually shipped the update discs. So if your concerned about being charged for product you have not received then go and check your account and you may find no record of the transaction or you may see a credit back to your account.

This doesn’t make things any better but it does show HP as having honorable business practices. Unfortunately their suppliers are late in delivering the discs so its become a logistics nightmare for everyone including HP. Its just a bad situation for all.

paul March 16, 2010 at 2:49 pm

COMP1962, You are telling me this is REALLY a nightmare for all!!! I have just been notified that my order which was supposed to be delivered today is now not EXPECTED till the 30th March (If I am lucky!!!). This will be almost 5 weeks after my order was placed. To make things worse they are charging Canadian customers and arm and leg for this update in comparison to the cost of ordering in the US. $59 is not comparable to the US cost!!! All in all the CUSTOMER SERVICE on this order is completely NON Existent!!!! Maybe HP will learn from this, but i doubt it!!! Great way to loose repeat business I say.

Comp1962 March 16, 2010 at 5:07 pm

@ Paul, They way HP is processing orders to our Canadian friends is horrible because I think they could of used the United States Postal Service to send the updates just as they do for the US Customers. Maybe I just do not understand the logic behind that decision.

As for me…..well maybe I am different them most in that I refuse to allow this situation get the best of me. Up until recently I use to look forward to checking my mail to see if the discs had arrived and yes I was bummed out when they were not there. Now I just check the mail and the past couple days there has not even been a thought of the discs arriving or not. For me I will get them when they arrive. On the other hand my EX470′s are no longer my primary servers but I still use them and they still server me well and for that I am greatful.

Denis March 17, 2010 at 7:13 pm

I recently received my EX490 and it was shipped with 3.0 Wonderful, except I am sittiing here at home now trying to work out how to stope the Twonky from consuming 100% of my CPU. I have large libraries.

How do i actually stop the twonky?

Comp1962 March 17, 2010 at 8:33 pm

@ Denis – logon to your server using the Console Connector and disable it or if you recently upgraded and installed patch 2 then check out Alexes guide at the link below:

http://www.mediasmartserver.net/2010/03/04/how-to-fix-twonky-issues-in-3-0-patch-2/

Mark G March 18, 2010 at 6:47 pm

I have officially give up. Time to move on.

Klips March 21, 2010 at 12:48 am

I received an HP shipment noticed for what has to be the v3 software for my ex485. According to the tracking information that was given, I’ll be receiving something on Monday, March 22nd. The weird thing is, I don’t currently see a charge against my credit card. Everything looks like it is to be the very long awaited v3 software for my ex485. I guess that I’ll know in another day what is actually in this shipment from HP. I’m sure confused, anxious, but not trying to get my hopes up too high. ;-)

Klips March 22, 2010 at 9:32 am

As a follow-up to my recent post. I have just received today from FedEx the disks for V3.0 w/patch1 for the HP EX480 Series. Obviously, I haven’t had a chance to do anything with them but they are in my hands.

I have 3 disks labeled “Software Installation Disc”, “Server Recovery Disk”, and “PC Restore Disc”. All 3 disks then say “Version 3.0 Upgrade with Patch 1″ and “HP EX480 Series”.

So the next question is whether they work or not? I look forward to giving them a try.

Kip March 27, 2010 at 2:09 pm

I’m installing now – it took a few mins to get started because HP labeled my disks incorrectly – the labels for the PC Recovery and Server Recovery disks are swapped.

Nice QC there, HP! :)

Bert March 29, 2010 at 4:43 am

I live in the Middle East (working for Microsoft in Dubai) and received my discs via a courier service this morning, upgraded my MediaSmart Server and everything works fine.

Chris Foster May 27, 2010 at 4:31 pm

Does this mean it’s safe to order, along with a memory upgrade now or are things still a little tense around the mediasmart world ?

Alex Kuretz May 27, 2010 at 4:33 pm

Chris, this article is 6 months old, the 3.0 update has been available for a while now.
http://www.mediasmartserver.net/2010/02/23/guide-how-to-upgrade-your-mediasmart-server-to-the-3-0-software-update/

Chris Foster May 27, 2010 at 4:48 pm

Yay just ordered if and £10.. bargain. Now just need some more ram. If only I had another unit so I could brace a CPU upgrade and more RAM..

Mind you I have at least 6 chassis behind me right now just need a x64 CPU to beta test VAIL. Does it show i’ve been off the radar a while lol

thanks for the reply.

Alex Kuretz May 27, 2010 at 5:00 pm

I guess you have been off the radar, here’s how to install Vail onto any MediaSmart Server. :D

http://www.mediasmartserver.net/2010/04/26/how-to-install-windows-home-server-vail-on-the-hp-mediasmart-server/

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