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PostPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 9:04 pm 
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Hey everyone,

I'm the proud new owner of an EX495, and I just finished setting it up and have begun the process of transferring all of my media onto it. I have a pretty good technical background (computer engineering and computer science major), but this is my first dive into the world of home servers, so I apologize if these are dumb questions. I haven't found the user manual to be that helpful, though, so I'm turning to forums.

I'm mainly wanting to use the MSS for the following reasons:

- Local and remote music and video streaming (to an HTPC or my roommates' and my computers locally, to wherever remotely)
- Host files for friends to download via their browsers remotely
- Backups of my Macbook Pro
- Eventually hosting a personal website and some personal webapp projects (basic stuff, just messing around/learning)

Any software or add-in suggestions that might help with that right off the bat would be greatly appreciated. Now onto the more targeted questions:

1. It's easiest for me to access the server and organize my files by using the Connect to Server in Finder and entering my User Account name and password. Where do I need to put files so that anyone already logged into my home network can access them (or watch/listen if it's a movie/a song) on a computer WITHOUT needing a User Account on the MSS, and how do I direct them to do so (do I need to enable Guest access, will the folders show up in the "shared network folders" area of their OS, etc)?

2. When should I actually set up a User Account for a roommate or friend rather than the approach outlined above? I never plan on letting anyone but me upload files to the MSS, so they would be read-only accounts, so what're the differences between the two approaches as far as what they allow and support?

3. I like the idea of having my iTunes library on the MSS so I can stream the music to any device connected to the network. However, I definitely want a local copy of the music on my laptop for when I take it with me and might not have access to the Internet. Is there any way to sync the MSS with my laptop so any new songs I add to my local library get reflected on the MSS as well, without me having to manually add new songs to both?

4. Remote streaming and remote access: how does this work? Reading about it in the guide makes it seem like you have to pay and sign up for a service in order to use any of it. I'd just like to be able to host files for friends to download who aren't on my network, and I'd like to be able to download or stream my own media files that I've stored on the MSS on computers if I'm not at home. I guess hosting a website would also be lumped into this category.

5. How fully featured is the WHS Console functionality in OS X achieved via http://blogs.technet.com/b/homeserver/a ... a-mac.aspx ? It's annoying to have to either reboot my computer into Windows or to start a virtual machine using Parallels just to edit the configuration and settings. Also, I'm planning on wiping this laptop with a clean install of Snow Leopard pretty soon. Should I stick with Windows XP for my Boot Camp and Parallels or upgrade to Windows 7?

Thanks in advance for any help or advice!


Last edited by 404Ender on Wed Jun 16, 2010 10:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 9:56 pm 
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I've been working on my EX495 for a couple months. I have a MacPro and a MacBook Pro also on the home network.

1. Haven't tried it but I assume you put them in the 'Public' folder.
2. You control if the account is read only or R/W. What access you grant is up to you.
3. I'm fighting with this at the moment. It's easy to copy the iTunes files up to the server, but with 10.6.3 I have issues trying to simply point the Macs at the files on the server to run iTunes using them. You need to connect to the server from the Mac first to get things to work right (not user friendly). I use Chronosync to sync the non-itunes files I want between the Mac and the server, it should work for iTunes too. (Not there yet)
4. For remote access you have to pay to set up the site you want. I think I saw some post (do a search) that indicated there was a way to not use the built-in tool, but it looked non-trivial so I simple paid the money (that was trivial)
5. Console access is trivial from OSX. It will create an icon up on the menu bar. You right click, select launch console and you are in. I just wish the window could be re-sized.

Setting up the EX495 forTime Machine is very easy. You simply need the disk space to do it and to know that the timemachine space lives in the normal 'shares' pool and not on the disk you establish for Windows backups. Add the new disk you want to use to the pool, and the quickly access it and set up the size time machine you want from the Mac. The timemachine space can not be bigger than the disk. If you do a search you'll find more details.

I'm less than thrilled with using the EX495 as a home theater media server (so far). To access it directly from my receiver or TV it provides a crappy user interface and not simple, intuitive use. I'm considering a new mini to use as a front-end to make things easy.

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404Ender
PostPosted: Thu Jun 17, 2010 7:48 pm 
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Welcome 404ender. This forum is great and Alex does a great job with it.
I'm glad you decided on an hp, I personally have the ex490 and I love it. I have been doing everything you are looking to do and more! :encore:

Ok, now to answer your questions.

Quote:
1. It's easiest for me to access the server and organize my files by using the Connect to Server in Finder and entering my User Account name and password. Where do I need to put files so that anyone already logged into my home network can access them (or watch/listen if it's a movie/a song) on a computer WITHOUT needing a User Account on the MSS, and how do I direct them to do so (do I need to enable Guest access, will the folders show up in the "shared network folders" area of their OS, etc)?


You will notice there are default shares on the server called Music, Photos, Public, Video etc...

You can organize these folders however you wish. I pointed Itunes to my Music folder on the mss and let it do all the organizing creating this folder structure(Artist name\album name). Photos are kid of just thrown in subfolders based on events\dates. You get the Idea.

The twonky media server is always keeping tabs on all these folders and updating its index. For example if I browse my mss from my ps3, it will find the media server automatically and show me everything it's indexed. Newly copied items won't show up immediately. It uses DLNA to communicate with other devices on your network without having to worry about permissions and guest accounts etc.

Quote:
2. When should I actually set up a User Account for a roommate or friend rather than the approach outlined above? I never plan on letting anyone but me upload files to the MSS, so they would be read-only accounts, so what're the differences between the two approaches as far as what they allow and support?


That would be up to you. If you want your friends to be able to access the server remotely from the web interface to stream music or vids etc they will need an account (with the exception of photos that are made public via albums) and Unless you give them yours which is not recommended.
note: Creating them an account will provide them a personal folder and you can control read/write/modify access.


Quote:
3. I like the idea of having my iTunes library on the MSS so I can stream the music to any device connected to the network. However, I definitely want a local copy of the music on my laptop for when I take it with me and might not have access to the Internet. Is there any way to sync the MSS with my laptop so any new songs I add to my local library get reflected on the MSS as well, without me having to manually add new songs to both?


There's no easy way to do this. Especially when your music library gets as big as mine. The only solution I can think of is to use Synctoy or similar Mac app. It's a microsoft app that will allow you to pick the two directories and will one, or two way (sync). Google it. Then you can find its mac counterpart.

Quote:
4. Remote streaming and remote access: how does this work? Reading about it in the guide makes it seem like you have to pay and sign up for a service in order to use any of it. I'd just like to be able to host files for friends to download who aren't on my network, and I'd like to be able to download or stream my own media files that I've stored on the MSS on computers if I'm not at home. I guess hosting a website would also be lumped into this category.


You can do this. The reason the guide makes it sound like a paid service is because most people have dsl or cable internet at home. They are not given static IP's. So if you register a domain with your IP today, It might change a day, week, or months from now. Hp resolved this issue with domain registration. All ms owners get free registration thru TZO for a year and I think a discounted rate after that. (someone correct me if I'm wrong). I use the microsoft homeserver domain registration which is free and I don't think they charge anything at all (again someone can correct me if I'm wrong.) It also updates my ip automatically.

Quote:
5. How fully featured is the WHS Console functionality in OS X achieved via http://blogs.technet.com/b/homeserver/a ... a-mac.aspx ? It's annoying to have to either reboot my computer into Windows or to start a virtual machine using Parallels just to edit the configuration and settings. Also, I'm planning on wiping this laptop with a clean install of Snow Leopard pretty soon. Should I stick with Windows XP for my Boot Camp and Parallels or upgrade to Windows 7?


Get yourself an RDP client for mac and just log in directly into the mss. That's what I do and I haven't had a problem. Everything can be done that way. As long as you know what you're doing you will be fine. Unless you need parallels for other reasons, save the hd space.

I installed PHP and Mysql this way by logging directly into the mss via rdp and I'm hosting my own Wordpress blog as well. Check it out. http://avillacampa.homeserver.com/blog/

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404Ender
PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 12:42 am 
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Thank you both for your responses! I have a few follow-ups to some of them:

Likebutter wrote:
You will notice there are default shares on the server called Music, Photos, Public, Video etc...

You can organize these folders however you wish. I pointed Itunes to my Music folder on the mss and let it do all the organizing creating this folder structure(Artist name\album name). Photos are kid of just thrown in subfolders based on events\dates. You get the Idea.

The twonky media server is always keeping tabs on all these folders and updating its index. For example if I browse my mss from my ps3, it will find the media server automatically and show me everything it's indexed. Newly copied items won't show up immediately. It uses DLNA to communicate with other devices on your network without having to worry about permissions and guest accounts etc.


I'm actually not a fan of Twonky's interface at all, and kind of want to get rid of it. Will that mess up the ability for devices like a PS3 or Xbox 360 to recognize those folders and get media from them? Would I have to install a replacement for Twonky?

If/when I get rid of Twonky, how can my friends access media in those default share folders? Will they just show up under shared network folders on their computers that they can access without a User Account?

Likebutter wrote:
There's no easy way to do this. Especially when your music library gets as big as mine. The only solution I can think of is to use Synctoy or similar Mac app. It's a microsoft app that will allow you to pick the two directories and will one, or two way (sync). Google it. Then you can find its mac counterpart.


Ah ok, that's too bad. I'll look into those apps though.

Likebutter wrote:
Get yourself an RDP client for mac and just log in directly into the mss. That's what I do and I haven't had a problem. Everything can be done that way. As long as you know what you're doing you will be fine. Unless you need parallels for other reasons, save the hd space.


Well, I'll probably install Parallels anyway just in case I need to use something that's Windows-only (setting up the MSS for the first time, for example). If I use an RDP client though, I'll get the same menus/options/interface as if I ran the WHS Console in Windows?


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 7:43 am 
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I will have to turn off twonky when I get home and see if the PS3 still sees the shares. I'll get back to you on that.

If you rdp into the mss you get the whs client, plus your logged in to windows so you can manage IIS etc. If you only use the whs client from a vm on your mac you are limited to what's provided within the client.



Hit the button at the bottom of the post to thank.


Cheers :cheers:

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 9:07 am 
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Quote:
I will have to turn off twonky when I get home and see if the PS3 still sees the shares. I'll get back to you on that.


Had quite a busy weekend. I'll give this a try tonight.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 7:04 pm 
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Another (random) question about the "Folder Duplication" feature. If I turn this on, does the duplicated data show up in any way that I can see, or are the duplicated files hidden from me? Also, is it a 1:1 duplication as far as how much space it takes up (so if I turn the feature on for 500 GB of files, I need 1 TB of space) or is it compressed somehow, and if so, how much?


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 12:46 pm 
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No, you do not/will not see the duplicates if you access the files the normal way via SMB services.
Yes, it's 1:1.

You would be able to see the duplicates if you went into the server and looked at individual file shares on each disk but that's not how you would normally view or access files.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 29, 2010 7:29 am 
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404Ender wrote:
Another (random) question about the "Folder Duplication" feature. If I turn this on, does the duplicated data show up in any way that I can see, or are the duplicated files hidden from me? Also, is it a 1:1 duplication as far as how much space it takes up (so if I turn the feature on for 500 GB of files, I need 1 TB of space) or is it compressed somehow, and if so, how much?


There is actually an add-in for that. Is call duplication information and it will tell you in which HDDs the file is. I have mac as well and the best solution i found to rdp was to use win 7 installed in vmware fusion. Duplication is a 1:1 which means that 500GB is 1 TB. The good thing is that you can choose what to duplicate.
For music remote streaming i would use subsonic. You will love it. Its 500% better that the media streamer that comes with the server.

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