The End of the MediaSmart Server and the Future of

by Alex Kuretz on November 30, 2010 · 43 comments


The recent news that HP is discontinuing the MediaSmart Server will obviously bring up some questions about the future of this site. Long time readers know that while I initially created this site as a place for enthusiasts of the MediaSmart Server, it has grown to cover much more than just the HP Home Server products. Almost all of the many Add-Ins we have developed are not limited to the MediaSmart Server and will work on any Windows Home Server, Damian’s excellent guides and reviews help you make the most of the digital media in your home, and the forums and Wiki contain a wealth of information and many helpful members who share tweaks and hacks and help you when you need to do some troubleshooting.

I want to immediately put to rest any concerns you may have about the future of this site. All of us here at remain committed and enthusiastic about backups, centralized storage, remote access, media streaming, and all that we have come to know and love about having a Home Server and its place inside the connected home. We also still love our MediaSmart Servers and Data Vaults, and have no plans to retire them.

There will be no changes in the immediate future with regards to this site. Over the coming months Nigel, Damian and I will be discussing what changes we might make in the future. It is safe to say there will likely be a site re-branding, and possibly some changes to the products and solutions we use and review.

We are also firmly still supportive of Windows Home Server v1, including Add-In development. I’ve been hard at work on a new version of my Remote Notification Add-In that I look forward to sharing with you in the coming weeks, plus have several more ideas that I would like to develop.

When we get more news from Microsoft on their plans for Vail, we’ll be looking again at that platform and seeing how it fits for both the enthusiast and less experienced average consumer. Unfortunately with the recent news of the removal of Drive Extender both Nigel and I have joined the likes of Andrew Grant of Whiist fame and Sam Wood of the hugely popular Disk Management and have put on hold any plans for Vail Add-Ins. This is a shame as Nigel has been making good progress at porting WHS Health to the new platform and I had some ideas around utilities for those enthusiasts that put Vail on their MediaSmart Server.

We’ll also be taking a look at some of the other technologies available that can be used to accomplish some or all of the same features as Windows Home Server.

The HP MediaSmart Server and Windows Home Server brought us together and built this awesome community, and we want that to continue to thrive. I encourage you to view this as a farewell to a fond friend, but also a chance for new opportunities. We look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments and the forums, and be sure to let us know what suggestions you have for things you would like to see us look into next.

Article by

I'm Alex Kuretz, and I'm the founder of 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.


Damian December 1, 2010 at 6:14 am

Well said Alex, and I want to reiterate as well they we are all still very committed to this site. I won’t be going anywhere (at least until Alex destroys those photos of me that cannot go public!!!)

BillG December 1, 2010 at 7:26 am

Thanks, Alex and all the others who have helped in this space.

Very glad to here that you and the rest of the “team” will be on the lookout for us.

- Bill

Cubanblood December 1, 2010 at 8:02 am

We will be here to help you in anything can. I love my little black box and even if MS or HP dont support it I know i can count on this website to help me troubleshoot any problems i might com accross. Thanks for what you do.

Jason December 1, 2010 at 8:21 am

This community has been an indispensible resource for me. I discovered WHS and the MediaSmart line and immediately placed 4 DataVaults in small business consulting clients of mine. They have been ideal solutions for these businesses of about 5 employees. There is absolutely a need in multi-system homes and businesses small enough to not truly need Small Business Server. (aka businesses that don’t employ a full-time IT staff). Solutions like Drobo and other NAS products may get us part way there, but they only perform one or two functions. I’m definitely not retiring my v1 units and look forward to this site and community to help us bridge the technology gaps that are coming.

OmniWrench December 1, 2010 at 8:31 am

Glad to hear it! There will be a need for enthusiast sites for this kind of thing for a while, more elaborate home networks are only going to get more and more popular. This site has a ton of information in excess of just “MSS specific” info like streaming, and networking in general.

I hope you’re able to successfully keep things going as long as you enjoy it.

Charles December 1, 2010 at 9:15 am

Anyone who has been in the computer industry knows, directions change and technologies evolve.
HP my not have a product called “Mediasmart” but they still have the Proliant Micro server line.
And Microsoft may take DE out of vail/aurora but you can still do large storage groups using alternative formatting and raids.
Perhaps a little DFS thrown in.
Not to mention this was not the first dance for a DE like product and I seriously doubt this was it’s last apperance.
We may not see it anytime soon but it or something like it will be back in the future.

I for one am not disheartened by this news, it does make me reassess what technology I will be using in the next year.
Do I wait for vail? or do I mave forward with a standard copy of 2008.
As I use a two system setup perhaps both, vail on my EX490 handling my web enabled stuff, while 2008 handles my movie collection.

So don’t dispair we have a path forward, this community is not in any danger of going away.
it’s just going through an evolution.

Chris December 1, 2010 at 9:47 am

Great post!

I’ve found the WinHS to be a great solution and recognize that technology is moving forward. I’m saddened by this next set of bad news…

I’ve seen some other solutions out there that are based on Linux vs. Windows that do roughly the same set. Have any of you looked into them, tested or played with them? The one I’m curious about is the Amahi solution.

Thanks for the great advice and articles on this site! Keep up the great work.

John Pombrio December 1, 2010 at 10:30 am

Geez, I keep posting here and I have not had a WHS for a couple, three years now. You run a great site, Alex, and has always been “the grownup” here (even though I am probably twice as old as you). I guess the time to bail is when you run out time, money, or energy keeping the site up. That is usually when you know it is time to retire the site. If you are still game at this stage, great!

Steve December 1, 2010 at 10:38 am

These announcements comes just as I was about to pull the trigger on a purchase of a HP EX490 and processor upgrade. As well as recommending it to a friend. Should I still pull the trigger or wait and see how this all shakes out? What do the users here think about the life expectancy and support for WHSv1? I’m currently running 4 Win7 64-bit and 1 XP Pro machines.

Damian December 1, 2010 at 10:39 am

I would still recommend the EX490/495, especially if you can get it at a great price. WHS v1 will be around for at a minimum several more years and you can expect that the community will continue to remain active

Steve December 1, 2010 at 10:54 am

One of the complaints I often hear from people is the file transfer speed of WHS vs RAID. What is the avg MB/sec on WHS over gigabit? I currently have an aging Infrant Ready NAS X6 that’s slow as molasses about 3MB/sec write and 7MB/sec read and I get about 11MB/sec write going from computer to computer. All over gigabit.

hasi5 December 1, 2010 at 4:31 pm

I am getting about 20-60Mb/sec to and from HP MSS EX475 WHS (depending on other WHS activities, place of data on hardrive, etc). On RAID from/to MacMini Server and Hackintosh OSX server between 100-108Mb/s (hitting I guess ceiling of gigabit network). If external FireWire RAID attached, it goes constantly 80Mb/s (80Mb is the top transfer rate of FireWire 800 interface). More on that few posts bellow.

Steve December 1, 2010 at 11:21 pm

Hi hasi5, are you talking megabits or megabytes? I was talking bytes in my post and just wanted to clarify and do the proper conversions if needed.

I was recently reading an article comparing the a Synology Diskstation DS410 to a Lenovo Ideacentre D400 and it listed the Client to Server transfer of a 2.79GB file at 7:52 and 1:21, respectively and a Server to Client transfer time of the same file at 1:17 and 0:14. However they did not give the actual or average transfer rate in the benchmark.

I often transfer 50+ GB of data around and would love to improve my network speed. guess I need to dig into it some more.

Marco December 2, 2010 at 1:30 am

Depending on the load on my EX490, my speeds are 35-65MB/sec – (that is megabytes). I did some testing with different cables (Cat6 instead of Cat5e) and file sizes. I found that the biggest impact is caused by the load on the server – when it is receiving data the processor is running at 80% or more.

Hugh December 1, 2010 at 11:46 am

I actually just ordered an HP EX490 (I’ll be upgrading it as well) last night.

So certainly my opinion is to go ahead if you happy with the feature-set. My modded EX-470 simply wasn’t hacking it anymore, and with Vail being a non-starter at this point, the current gen HW/OS makes the most sense to me. Look at it this way, you can get a really nice discount on the 490 now :p

Ruckuz December 1, 2010 at 11:11 am

Funny I just bought a ex490 yesterday from Newegg..
Oh well…. :)
Needed something for my new media players to pull movies from…

Hugh December 1, 2010 at 11:47 am

Ha … join the club. Ordered an EX-490 last night, and am also testing some new media players.

beachdog December 1, 2010 at 4:22 pm

Ordered my 490 at HP EPP on Monday and it was delivered this morning. Was waiting for the expected EOL to drop the price. Got a great deal. Now both the 490 and 495 are out of stock at HP. It’ll be interesting to see how long the inventory in the channel lasts. Costco has the 490 for $399 with a second 1tb drive.

hasi5 December 1, 2010 at 4:15 pm

Alex, I think, that it is a wise decision to take a deep breath and continue with your site. Yours, Nigels, Demian enthusiasm, and other’s knowhow, inspiration is needed by many more than ever to go forward. And I wanted to thank you all for your work.

With miracle of WHS v1, HP MSS, we all got into this digital household server thing together, tasted and had a peak into the possibilities and we all now know and feel what we want and need. We scanned and digitized our documents, books, and old magazines, digitized family pictures and home videos, transferred CDs and DVDs, etc. Everything for easy and private access, safety, streaming, etc. This wants and needs of todays family computing is not going to go away and simply is not met fully with any commercial offering (Microsoft, HP, Apple, Google, etc.). In contrary, it is sometimes danger to their existing way of doing business, their corporate agenda, etc. It is not coincidence that WHS and HP MediaSmart was not properly advertised and spread rather by word of mouth. Its not coincidence that many features requested (MCE, family calendar & address book, document control…) never came to this platform. It rather seems to me that WHS, HP WHS were born when big corporate guns were not looking. Home user is being “pushed” to the claud, monthly fees for syncing, backing up, have private email, etc.

I run HP MSS EX475 from the day one it was on the market for my family and my small home consulting business. I installed many programs and add-ins on the server and not only video-streaming, computer backups and central file storage, I tried for free or low cost to create our family personal & private “cloud”. Basically, I needed some small family Exchange and SharePoint server, phone and PDA synching, document control and versioning. It soon become apparent that they never going to come to WHS for home users. I tried Linux, check 3rd parties and even “low cost solutions” would start to run altogether in hundreds & thousands $.

I am OS agnostic, not attached to any company, rather I cherry pick solutions that works for me (MS, Linux, Unix, Apple, Google). I have tried also Apple MacMini with OSX Server and attached it to the my HP MSS EX475. And I was impressed by this combination. MacMini was running Mail, Calendars, Addresses (everything nicely able to sync iPods and iPhones), Family Blogs, Wikis, Webpages, Document versioning with either Wiki, or TimeMachine. Instead shrinking photos and home video to send by e-mail, grandparents were able to login to blogs and video was streamed in full scale. The MacMini was the master, the WHS became rather to be a Drobo, for file storage. WHS did its things it was good at (PC backups, streaming to television, etc.); MacMini was doing the rest. I was impressed how good it worked. I was not able to achieve anything like that with any Linux. Either they fulfil only partly my needs, or it sometimes happened to me, if I installed not official packages (to get special functions), it broke after OS updates and patches and I was not able to bring these functions back. I am not Linux expert. With Apple OSX “it just worked”.

After being p*st off last year with HP with very very slow and hesitant update to 3.0update for older MSS, I realize that they sell it like piece of appliance: here it is, give me money and do not come back. I swore, my next WHS is not going to be HP or any other OEM. More than 1 year ago I build a 64bit WHS Vail testing machine. This server was built to not only be able to run Vail, but also any other available server OS (Linux, BSD, Unix, Apple OSX) that I wanted to test. (It was built per Lifehackers Hackintosh built).

Initially, I installed everything in different multiboot, At the end, even before these announcements, the only OS that stick and worked was Apple OSX Server OS. All other OS are gone and WHS Vail alive only sometimes in Virtual machine in Parallels. To my surprise, “WHS Vail” Hackintosh, that I expected to be broken with any new Apple update (as I was told) is running like a tank 24h/day for last 11 months and I have moved good part of live stuff there from WHS MediaSmart. Still, it is Hackintosh – a test machine and a “proof of concept” for me. Contrary to my Microsoft experience updating Windows every Tuesday (patch over patch over patch) and machine getting slower and slower. Apple updates replace the code with even smaller and more finer code. The Hackintosh runs on its own faster, leaner then 11 months ago than 6 months or 1 months ago. New functions appeared without big fanfares.

I am writing this not to angry people or show how smart I was. (I guess, I was more lucky than smart). I m writing it because people are looking now into all possible other solutions (Linux). The option not being mentioned is Apple OSX Server OS, that I found to be pretty acceptable (at least for me). OSX doesn’t have DE (drive extender) but have other magic from Unix world, which is easy to setup (with Apple good graphical interface). Things that I never seen in consumer Windows. And if Apple chooses to, it can be further simplified into ultimate add drive and remove drive. For 30 years, with magic of hard, soft & symbolic links Unix servers were running hundreds of small hardrives that user never saw, just one continuous space DE like space.

In all fairness, I am also in the stage of considering my next Home Server setup. And rethinking that ENTIRELY. My next server is going to be Apple server. For some time, I still would be using HP MSS (but as a DROBO) From my 3years of experience of running WHS and almost 1 year of running of OSX server:

1) DROBO is over-expensive piece of hardware that would not get you too far. You can built 2-3 own 8-bay servers WHS v1. (total 16-24 bay) for their price of one empty drobo. Last I check them, they had the same limitation of 2TB drives, people complaining that new advanced WD 64Mb cache drives did’t vork as WHS v1. In addition, if hardware fails, you cannot read the drives (Same problem as WHS v2 Vail with DE ver2). thats no go.
2) I see usage of WHS v1 (32bit) possible to the future (especially for media), but I am already hitting limits. Most important, locally, in my area, I cannot already buy compatible 2Tb hardrives (WD 2Tb 32Mb green drives). Everybody sells only new advanced 64Mb 2Tb WD. So, the days are already numbered. I still get it from, but for how long ?
2) I like centerized storage and simplicity of DE and “continuous space and expandability” and have everything digitized.
2) On the other hand, I don’t like that because of that, I am running altogether 16hardrives 24h/day for 24TB of data. The majority of terabytes of data are not used most of the time and are rather archive and a big digital library. (How many hours a day you watch the same family home videos, photos, play the same DVD ?). Out of 24Tb, I maybe need 1-3Tb running all the time (Mail, Calendar, maybe music), the rest of TB running 24h/day is nonsense eating electricity, costing $, wearing hardware, reducing life expectancy.
3) Instead of one large pool (WHS 1) what I really want is number of smaller expandable pools with instant (or small delay) – direct and remote power ON/OFF switch. “Sleeping” hardrives, still eating 50% of elec.power and therefore doesn’t cut it.
4) Centerised storage with multiple expandable pools (that can be mount on demand, USB, USB3, FireWire), can be run on any OS (Windows, Vail?) Simple software RAID, mirror would do it. The other part would probable be the power switch for each pool (in external enclosure) controlled by X10, z-wave, aurdino ?
5) I am waiting for the next year. My feeling is that LightPeak is going to be a game changer, paradigm shift in everything what we discuss today. Certainly, hardrive interfaces would be changed as we know them today.
6) My wish and guess is that from the next year we would start to see a Box with CPU+RAM, and maybe 2 drives with optical cable coming out, (I wish, power cable would be also coming out.) Hardrive would be also box (1 drive, 2 or 3 mirror drives, etc) and you chain optically one HD box after another – like what Apple is doing already with FireWire 800 today. This time the optical speed would be far above the speed of drives. My wish is rather with big box full of hardrives, with ability to mount/unmount, power ON/power OFF for individual drives and their sets, rather then only 1 big switch.
7) To expand on Apple. Any two Firewire 800 boxes could be assigned as fast (RAID 0) or save (RAID 1) and you can expand them to big numbers (?). You can shutdown some in chain and still run others, You can “logically” with links chain them as one continuos (never-ending drive). What is not in windows (Microsoft protection against pirating), Apple doesn’t care where and how you run OSX or OSX Server OS. Take your boot OS hardrives, data hardrives, plug them to another Apple (be it iMac, MacMini, probably also laptop) and run it from there like nothing happened. You can even boot to hardrive that is on your network.

So, in my journey outside of WHS, I started with Linux and ended up with Apple OSX. For 500$, it gave me not only robust server functions, but also mini Exchange+SharePoint servers +other. Even with the Apple hardware, it is far cheaper then solution from Microsoft, still I suspect cheaper for home user and more robust then Linux+3rd party solutions. (Mind you, I am not IT Linux specialist, just a guy who came from WHS). I run some Windows programs on this server in Parallels.

Fair to say also: 3years ago my household was 100% on Microsoft (HP, Dell, Acer) + little bit of Linux. Then little Trojan horses came: iPod replaced PALM, my viwe’s iPhone, then MacMini. And they all “just worked”. As our PC’s and laptops started to die (just after warranty) due to the great engineering from HP, Acer,… they were replaced with Apple MacBook and MacPro. First we run Windows in BootCamp (old habits die hard). Today, we even don’t bother with that. At this point our household is 50% Microsoft, 50% Apple. Use each, where it makes sense (TV watching MS mediacentre from HTPC, etc.). Microsoft stagnated the invention for home user, whereas Apple exploded with inventions useful in our household. On the other side, they are expanding now so fast, that plenty of holes are left. (Each new product works at 80% of what you would expect, 70%works perfect, 20% is missing). Nevertheless, they improve on each iteration. I am not idealist to receive 100% from Microsoft, Apple or Google. I rather stay open minded and try to choose and cherry pick from each the best that works and is cheapest (in long term) for our family. Each of these companies has a corporate agenda, position for their place in the market and have their ups and downs. I just want a quality hardware, software, longterm support and computing solutions that makes sense for our family. Also, not to be pushed to the cloud, unless I chooses too and find it helpful.

I know, I was long, if anyone cared to read it all. But in this WHS Vail fiasco and post HP MediaSmart era, many are looking for new ideas, inspirations, experiences of others “outside the box” in task, how to reorganize their family digital affairs. So I thought, I would chip in. Again, Alex, thanks for continuing your site.

Robinson December 8, 2010 at 5:59 pm

Great insights here. I am on a uncannily similar path to you, but about 6 months behind you and agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments. I would just add that I was encouraged that HP tried on their own to make their v3.0 software Apple friendly for mixed households, but unfortunately my 475 did not upgrade cleanly (yes I added RAM) and I’m stuck with a half-implemented server without my old backups linked in (can “see” but not use them and new backup does not work), and external SATA drive that will not talk, and a server that doesn’t know how much storage it really has connected to it! Actually, I scared to try and fix anything at this stage in case I lose data (even tried the Amazon s2 storage until HP discontinued their client. I’m mulling the Apple ver but a bit worried that they have dropped the XServe so wonder what’s up in future.

hasi5 December 15, 2010 at 2:00 am

-Sorry to hear about your troubles after your 3.0 update. My ex475 (2Gb) 3.0 update went OK (except that now the machine feels slower and all HP add-ons are little buggy or unusable and I choose to disable them). Otherwise, DROBO-like sharing and DE WHS expansion is still working great. You may try to “Restore Server” from CD.
-I agree, dropping XServe looks rather strange, but it seems, least worried are Apple engineers -walking around saying don’t worry, something better is coming. It may be Light Peak. For myself, I wish for Mac Mini with a fibre coming out. Or, smaller MacPro (less watt) with Light Peak fibre.

Hugh Vail February 5, 2011 at 2:19 pm

hasi5, I have pretty much the same set up that you have. Our family has slowly morphed with 1 Windows 7 Laptop to Apple with the addition of a MacBook 13″ Pro, 24 inch iMac and two iPhones. My server is an HPMSS ex490. It doesn’t look like my ex490 is that right direction anymore as HP is not going to update it so nothing will back up my Macs. I have been looking at the MacMini with OSX Snow Leopard Server and was just about ready to order it when I read your note. I am not near the expert you are but the OSX SL Server looks like a great and stable solution if it works half as well as my Apples do. It appears that that the OSX server is due for an upgrade this year so would you advise waiting?

hasi5 February 6, 2011 at 1:53 am

Hugh, good questions. MacMini is updated 2x a year by Apple (usually January-February ..see ), so, I should say wait a bit. But this year would be very different. You may even buy it now. New Intel Sandy Bridge CPUs and Intel-Apple LightPeak are expected this year on Apple products. But Intel just stopped manufacturing Sandy Bridge until end of February. So, everything is now slipping by another few months for every computer builder. Seems, Apple would have exclusive first take-on on LightPeak. This would suggest that Apple would use this competitive advantage and provide it as fast as possible on all of it’s products (including MacMini). On the other hand, it would be potencionally suicidal to release all the products across the line at the same time. If there are bugs or something wrong with LightPeak, Apple would not have nothing other to sell. So, it may be a little bit or even more longer to see SandyBridge-LightPeak-MacMini than in spring. MacMini could be the first same as the last product updated. My guess is, MacBook laptops + iphones would be the first, then sequentially others.

But yet, we didn’t see any Apple LightPeak product yet. iPad was rumoured for many years before it was reality. In January Intel said that LightPeak is finished and now waits for manufacturers’ (Apple?) implementation. You know Apple, if the implementation is not perfect, they are not going to release it anytime soon. And who knows how the bug and deterioration of Intel SATA ports within the chipset was discovered. If LightPeak is currently really being implemented by Apple and SATA connection run under much higher frequencies (10Gb) then previously possible, I would expect Apple with LightPeak to be the first one to find out that Intel CPU has this flaw. How else than accelerated-high frequencies testing you would find today that in 3 years window failure ratio is 15% ?

You may wait 3-6-9? months for SandyBridge-lightPeak-MacMini. Or you may go ahead and buy today’s MacMini OSX SL server. It works quite well. Connected FireWire hardrives have throuput 80Mb/s – you would be close to 100Mb/s gigabite ethernet limit anyway. The advantage of these firewire hardrives is, they can sleep and consume only 5Watts.

Since you have MacBook laptop and iMac, you can right now, install, boot and run OSX SL server from them for you to test it out. 13″MacBook is like MacMini and it would give you feel for speed of the server. 4Gb of RAM on MacMini Server was enough and fine, 8Gb Ram upgrade for $109 from OWC( ) works just perfect (server stuff + iTunes + Plex + Air Video Server + HandBrake + another OS in virtual in Parallels). All is 64-bit, runs 3TB hardrives,â�¦ OSX is like Linux, runs from iPhone to parallel Xeon CPUs, much better and faster then Windows. When you are done with your server setup and playing on your iMac or MacBook, you simply attach your firewire hardrive with OSX Server installation to MacMini, boot from it and continue to run server from there (Apple doesn’t have any artificial anti-piracy restrictions like you find with Microsoft; in contrary it is designed like that. Take boot hardrive from any Mac, attach it to any other Mac (in firewire enclosure), boot to it and continue working from there like nothing happened. Your motherboard, CPU, RAM could all burn, if you can dig out your (working) hardrive(s) attach them to another Mac and you are OK. Same for OSX server.

I am not OS X server expert at all, but after watching VideoTutorials from ($25 for 1 month) you get detailed video instruction, step by step how to setup OSX 10.6 SL server. They have 13hours on 10.6 and another 11h on 10.5. Trust me these 24h of VideoTuorials give you pretty good and detailed idea what you are doing (click here, click there, fill this and why). To setup home server like WHS you need first 3-4 hours, the rest is for all the goodies (mail, calendar, adressbook, Web, Wiki, ..servers+++, WebDAV, VPN, DHCP, NAT, Radius, Xgrid,+++) that home user will never get from Microsoft on home server. Not knowing at all about OSX server, I spent 1 weekend, watched tutorials, made the setup and I am running like tank ever since (13-14months). Another fantastic site is and their instructions on magic of Apple software RAID ( Drive Cloning ( ) , etc, etc.
Good luck !

hasi5 February 6, 2011 at 11:25 am

Additional Note:
of course, you would not continue running OSX Server on MacMini from external firewire drive (FW800)… What you need is just “carbon copy” content of your FW800 back to internal MacMini drive ( ). Or the best, do the final setup once more on MacMini and separate “boot drive” and “user and data drive” ( ).

Hugh Vail June 26, 2011 at 2:51 pm

I never did thank you for the great comments and great advice last year but I really appreciated them. Now that 6 months has passed Apple will release Lion OSX server in June 2011 and it is advertised for the home and hobbyist. Reading the pre-announcement features it appears it could easily take hover Windows Home Server 2 with a lot more features. Have you looked at the announcements? If so, do you have any thoughts?

Alex Kuretz June 28, 2011 at 9:11 am

Perhaps if you have an all-Mac home then Lion Server is a good fit, but I don’t see it “easily taking over Windows Home Server” since from my limited knowledge it doesn’t have “a lot more features”. The marketing page only has 4 bullets under Lion Server and none seem relevant to the question of WHS vs Lion Server. Wiki Server? Profile Manager? Easy Setup? File Sharing for iPad? Those features don’t replace integrated backup and restore of PCs and the Remote Access and streaming features.

Comp1962 December 1, 2010 at 7:40 pm

Honestly its a very sad point in time for our community. I am pleased that Alex will keep the site up and running and so long as its here so too will I.

This is just a fantastic site populated by a great group of members. I do not know what tomorrow will bring but I do take great comfort knowing this site will still be here. As for the demise of the MSS I still forsee them being around for many years to come as will those running WHS v1. I do not know where MS is going with Vail or what it will look like in the future. All I can do is hope that its easy to use and simple to run as is WHS v1.

I do have a project list to work on that I will have to review after I come to terms with the recent announcements by MS and HP. As I said its a sad time for our community. Lets just see what tomorrow will bring and pray the Vail when released will do what WHS v1 has done so well and that is to run well and be easy to use.

Alpha December 1, 2010 at 10:59 pm

Extremely disappointed in getting this news – I love my MediaSmart Server and rely on it heavily. I don’t know what kind of lifespan I’ll get out of my hardware….which concerns me since I won’t have an obvious upgrade to move to. I guess I’ll stash a spare MediaSmart server in storage and move to it when my current system dies. That should tide me over for a while….and by that time I may not be as disappointed and angry at HP and MS.

I posted something to this effect on the HP for Home page on Facebook. Will be interesting to see if I get any responses.

Rhinoevans December 2, 2010 at 8:12 am

I am waiting for the next announcement that Vail has been cancelled!

Bryce December 3, 2010 at 11:49 am

Alex, I had the old HP Media Vault (2-500GB drives) for several years before one of the two hard drives went bad. Worked great for our home network with 4-5 computers. As I searched for a replacement, I was concerned with the price of the HP Mediaservers and decided to go with 2-2TB Iomega Home Media Drives under the assumption they could be mirrored. To my suprise, they cannot so I plan on taking them back. I was seriously considering the EX490 before I read that they are going away. Should I still consider that model, or look for another solution such as Acer? Main reason for the drive is a central backup/share device. Sounds like the EX490 should be able to do everything I need it to do. Costco still appears to have the EX490 on sale with the extra 1GB drive. Thoughts?

Alex Kuretz December 3, 2010 at 1:15 pm

I’m not sure what answer you are expecting to get from the guy who runs an enthusiast site for the product you are asking about. :) We love the server here, and in my opinion if you can find one it’s a great time to get one with the closeout deals.

Bryce December 5, 2010 at 10:55 am

Thanks Alex. So since I am finding stock outages on the 495 at most places, including HP’s site, and Fry’s Electronics won’t match HP’s site, I think I am going to order the 490 from Costco with the extra 1GB drive. Do you have any words of advice as to removing both 1TB drives from the get go and get 2-2GB drives, or can I use the 2-1TB drives as the main storage area and purchase 1 2TB drive as the duplication drive? Obviously cost is an issue or I would just pay the higher price for the 495 model. For the last few days I’ve watched some videos on HP WHS and it looks like it is the one for us. Thanks for your feedback.

Comp1962 December 5, 2010 at 1:23 pm

If your looking to maximise the storage potential of your planned server and not add external enclosures then populating it with only 2 TB drives will do that. You can start off with the 1 TB drives and later swap them out when you buy 2 TB drives. If you have no issues with adding external enclosures then starting off with the 2 x 1 TB drives should not be an issue.

It really comes down to if your willing to expand outside the box and you can install a variety of different hard drive sizes. Just so you know the EX490 can support upto a 5 Bay eSATA Port Multiplier and you can also add USB Enclosures some hold 8 Drives. WHS will support upto 32 Drives and if they were all 2 TB then you can have 64 TB of capacity.

Not sure how much capacity you require today or two years from now but you can grow your server outside the box and if your willing to do that then leave the 2 x 1 TB drives in the server and add the other 2 x 2 TB drives and start it off with 6 TB of capacity and it will hold you for quite sometime.

jdomi December 7, 2010 at 1:28 pm

Let’s keep going guys!!!

Bryce December 8, 2010 at 9:49 pm

So I ordered the 490 from the other day with the extra 1TB Hitachi drive. Question, if I plan on buying 2 additional 2TB drives right away,
1.) Should I put the 2-2TB drives in slots 1 and 2 and move the 2-1TB units in slots 3 and 4, or doesn’t this matter? Any other configuration that would be better?
2.) Assuming the 2-1TB drives that come with the 490 are 32 cache/7200RPM (tell me if you know what they are), what should I look for in the 2 additional 2TB drives spec-wise? Would 64MB cache make any difference if the 2-1TB drives are only 32MB cache? Obviously the price is about double the 32MB versions.


Steve December 8, 2010 at 9:54 pm

I got my order in from costco on monday. The Seagate Drive preinstalled in the 490 is a ST31000528AS and the Hatachi Drive is a HDS721010CLA332.

beachdog December 9, 2010 at 7:32 pm

I got my 490 from HP directly and it had the same Seagate. Found the identical drive for $45 at Amazon so ordered one but it hasn’t arrived yet. Was trying to determine if there were any reasons to go with another brand like WD or Hitachi but most of the user comments seem to run to the extremes with some hating or loving every brand out there. I had a WD in one of my desktops start throwing errors after 6 months and I have another desktop with 2 Seagate drives (over 6 years old) that have never had any problems so I went with Seagate.

I like the way that the HP site shows the 490 and the 495 out of stock but they keep changing the prices and ask you to come back and check availability later. Obviously they know that there won’t be any more (except for refurbished) but they want to keep you hanging or switch to a DROBO.

John Risney December 11, 2010 at 5:43 pm

You run a GREAT site Alex! It has always been—-and looks like it will continue to be—–a superb support site for the MSS and its enthusiasts. Thank You!!

If Vail comes out—(my take a BIG if)—-I’ll probably look into a DIY with some type of RAID 1 setup.

As long as it can do the Remote Access, PC Backup, File storage and a decent Media Streaming capability…… I think I’d be fine. I may not even NEED to go any further at home and just stay with my 485 and version 3.0—–and instead look at some sort of evolving Cloud solution.

I had an original EX-470—-then went to an EX 485…..Great products—-you should be proud! I also have a 42 in High Def HP MediaSmart TV with a Windows Media Extender buitl in—-also a great product that continues to work GREAT!

Tech evolves so rapidly!

Apple is soooo successful now—-and seems to have the resources and the know how with mobile solutions. Maybe they will jump into this arena with siomething—-tie it to their mobile stuff and AppleTV (which is actually a great little box)….

Again—-thanks for your past and continued efforts!

Bodog WGS December 13, 2010 at 12:54 am

Great to hear Alex – I look forward to your addins and to this community (and others like it such as WGS) thriving and evolving.
You’re dead right that V1 is here for quite sometime to come – its served us well up til now and will continue to do so for a long time to come.
I’m about to retire my EX485 (well sell it to a new home actually) and have bought a X510 to replace it. I for one and very happy to buy a X510 at a great price as HP and their resellers clear out their stock – I really don’t think a lot of people realise what a package they could be buying with the last of the MediaSmarts and X510′s!

Bryce December 14, 2010 at 7:43 am

I’ll be receiving my 490 today from Costco with the extra 1GB Hitachi drive. I purchased 2-2TB Hitachi drives as well. Should I re-arrange the drives, or just ad the 1TB in the second position and the 2-2TB units in the 3rd and 4th positions, or doesn’t this matter? What about jumper settings on the drives if any? Do I just leave them alone? Any other suggestions from the start?

Damian December 14, 2010 at 7:50 am

The position doesn’t matter. Just remember that the O/S drive gets uses last for data storage, so no sense in making your largest drive your O/S drive

The only drives I know of that you would use the jumper settings are the WD EARS drives.

Also, best bet any follow up questions to head over to the forums where there will be more eyeballs to see your questions.

Comp1962 December 14, 2010 at 8:53 pm

Bryce ~ Damian is right about the drives but I would suggest you leave the original system drive in place and just set the server up. Once its setup you can add the other drives. You can additional drives if you need them by adding external enclosure USB upto 8 bay enclosure or eSATA upto 5 bay enclosure. So you can add additional drives as you need them. After you get use to your server you can determine if the System Drive is big enough but a 1 TB drive is plenty big as for the most part the system partition is only 20 GB and the rest goes to the storage pool and your server will for the most part use that drive last to add data. Anyway the point here is that you can grow your server as your needs require. Enjoy your server and please take time to review the information in the forums as they are packed with all sorts of information that will help you get the most from your server.

noora April 13, 2011 at 1:05 am

Hi , i am looking forward a technical server for file sharing .
i am working in the place that we have FTP , portal and …
but we have 400 cliant taht sharing of them causes some problems and we decide to choose file server appliance to solve this problem .we need at least 1TB capacity pliz suggest me a good server of HP for this .

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