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PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 10:54 am 
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What's left for us depends probably on our level of involvement when the home server tide has hit us. If you have not invested much in machines, disks and other devices, you have some choices:

- You can organize your home network so machines are more integrated and storage shared
- You can invest in a server that is very user friendly, and was not abandoned by its mother ship, like a Mac server; or other kinds of similar solution
- You can stream your media directly from the Internet and just have an external disk to back up your personal data
- There are probably other kinds of solution available that I don't know of

Some will argue that you can also rely on the Cloud, the new kid on the block. But for home users, it depends on available technologies and ISP’s policies. For example, my ISP has just upgraded my account to the almost biggest plan available (there is just another one left over mine). They did it for free for one year because of my good track record. Do you think I believe them? Not a second, they want me to forget about it and in a year they will start charging and I won’t see the difference much, and pay for ...little benefit. But this is not the point I want to make; I asked them how much GB I had a month on the upload side – 150 GB was the answer. That means if I want to backup, let’s say 300 GB of data on the Cloud, I have to spilt it in two or three months or I’ll be overcharged, and my ISP will lift a red flag claiming I should purchase a business account. Plus, there is BigData, but that's another story.

But if you have invested time and money on Microsoft’s home server adventure, where are you left at?

Unless you do a whole bunch of transcoding on your server, its technical requirements will be a lot less than for a desktop or laptop. This probably means that the life of a server is much longer than its (*)top counterparts, as long as you can add or upgrade your storage. Furthermore, if you have bought hardware (WHS boxes, media streaming devices, disks, eSata towers or enclosures, memory, processors, VGA cables and such, etc.), if you have paid for some add-ins or other software, if you have invested time tinkering with your machine, if you have gathered a big collection of media or other data, you probably don’t want to “move on”, just because MS has abandoned its WHS line of products.

What are the benefits of staying in the MS boat? (one or more reasons can apply)

- Keep your investments alive (time …and money)
- Avoid the complexity and probably uncertainty of transferring to another platform, unless you already are in a mixed environment (Macs, MS machines, Linux machines)
- Secure your home IT environment made up only of laptops (therefore you can’t add storage without relying on a “storage box”, this is my case!)
- Rely on "server services" integration under the same software, instead of having to choose and obtain a bunch of third party additions (I’m not talking about add-ins here, which are usually quite integrated)

Well then, what can we do?

- Stay with WHS v.1 or v.3; knowing DE has flaws
- Jump in WHS 2011; no DE, but can back up the server, simpler on a technological stand point, but you have to move shares around as you grow
- Build a Windows 8 server that includes Storage Spaces (40$ as an upgrade), but you will have to tinker to get it to do backups and restores, not mentioning the time to configure it (users, RDP, etc.) and the clients limitation (same as ws2012e, if I’m correct)
- Bite the bullet and buy Windows server 2012 Essentials (425$) and upgrade your clients; limited to Windows 7 and Windows 8 clients and OS X 10.5 to 10.7; you then buy a business server that can do “home” tricks
- Try to get a Windows server 2012 Foundation (cheaper than Essentials, but only through OEM resellers); it seems there is a limitation of 15 clients, instead of 25 for Essentials, which is closer to the Home and Small business needs; but you are left without a Dashboard, therefore you need advanced knowledge in server management to use it; unless some good people start to write scripts to facilitate some “home” tasks and share it with us, noobs! But it cannot replace the missing dashboard.

Maybe I’m completely out in the field with my analysis. What is your situation? What do you intend to do with your server software, hardware and data? Are there other simpler solutions? Is this a dinosaur perspective? What is your take on this?

VJ

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:40 pm 
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Well, from my 48 hours of of using V3 (2012 Essentials) I have to say that I love it.

I think MS did the right thing by not calling it a "home server", because truth be told, it is much more than that. The DE technology so far is nothing short of amazing...it's as flexible as I could've ever imagined...and I have to say that so far, I'm really liking it. Granted that this is from a two day experience.

Now the 400$ plus tag is insane, but this product isn't a 100$ server, I can tell you that much. The fact that it lets you keep versions of your files (Windows 8 exclusive) for years and even forever, is truly amazing!! The Storage system is unlike anything I've ever seen for a small business or "home" environment, and the GUI is simple enough to be used by an average person.

If it continues to work as advertised, I think a 200-250$ price tag is granted, but I can't see myself paying 400 dollars for it, especially when I V1 can still work fairly well.

V2 wasn't great for me, cause lack of DE really messed up my large collection of data (over 12TB), but with V3, I'm going back to my pre powepack1 days of V1! :D corruption bug and all.

Also, while V1 and V2 were "home" products, I have to say that if you want to get the most out of V3, you need to have some server knowledge, especially when you talk about domains.

I will write a decent review once I play around a bit more.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:14 pm 
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Seems there are already horror stories about storage spaces (aka drive extender). Am sticking with hardware RAID.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:58 am 
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I've moved on.
I moved my 10TB to a Synology DiskStation 1512+ and DS510 extender. Running RAID. Many (free) addon apps.
Ported all my files, video, music, etc. -- only loss was old PC backups.
Started new backup scheme and all is now well.

Maybe not the choice for everyone - but this is working for me.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 10:37 am 
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Interesting ...and diverging perspectives! :-k I was curious at what happened to all those HP and WHS enthousiasts, cause it seems somewhat more quiet since about a year .

I wonder how many have "moved on" like Loren did. I have not explored Synology but my supposition is that it requires more technical oriented people to go that route. Correct me if I'm wrong. Because it could be an interesting alternative.

On my side of things, I still have to come to a decision, eventually. I am (slowly) exploring 2012 Essentials like MetaLRasaM seems to be doing (I like his first impressions, and am eagerly waiting for his review... sometime). But I have not come to a conclusion, yet (it still is in beta stage). There effectively are some bugs, but is it the whole system that is buggy or just beta normal course?

Since miles267 mentions that there are horror stories about storage spaces, and since I'm trying to experiment, could you give me some indications so I can experiment.

I have succeded to change an old disk for a new one without loosing data (which was one of the critics about SSpaces, but that was only on a small file). It required to play with physical disks, PowerShell, Disk Management, and Pool Manager, but, while not intuitive, it can be done. But I want to try other tasks and see if it causes problems.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:18 am 
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miles267 wrote:
Seems there are already horror stories about storage spaces (aka drive extender). Am sticking with hardware RAID.


Got links? I'm sure more than me would be interested to read others experiences.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:55 am 
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http://forum.wegotserved.com/index.php? ... s-Crashing!


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:16 pm 
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The poster has also reported the problem at microsoft ws2012e beta forum, where the story continues... Not sure if that unexplained crash can be reproduced. It certainly did not happen on my system, and I even hot-uplugged and hot-plugged drives (usually I don't do that :wink: ) in the MSS and it was immediately reflected in ws2012e.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 10:41 pm 
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When my parents V1 LX195 dies/reaches end of life next year it will be replaced with a simple raid nas. When my ex487 dies, it too will be replaced with a simple raid nas. WS2012 Essentials is priced out my budget.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2012 12:15 pm 
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Loren wrote:
I've moved on.
I moved my 10TB to a Synology DiskStation 1512+ and DS510 extender. Running RAID. Many (free) addon apps.
Ported all my files, video, music, etc. -- only loss was old PC backups.
Started new backup scheme and all is now well.

Maybe not the choice for everyone - but this is working for me.
This is the same route I'm considering. I'd like to hear more about your backup scheme. Can you share the details?

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2012 12:36 pm 
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VieuxJules wrote:
...I have not explored Synology but my supposition is that it requires more technical oriented people to go that route. Correct me if I'm wrong. Because it could be an interesting alternative...
It appears to me that Synology has a pretty good interface and would be pretty easy to administer. The down side I think is the cost. The DS1512+ is $820 which is pretty steep. The DX510 extender runs between $450 and $550 depending on where you buy it. Of course you don't need it unless you have more than 5 drives.

What I keep going back & forth about is;
$425 for Essentials on current EX490 understanding that if it craps out, it could be impossible to fix. If that happens, I then have to spend more on some other piece of hardware.
or
$820 for the DS1512+ with the belief that Synology is committed to this market and will continue to improve the DSM software. Selling the EX490 would offset some of the cost.

Still debating...

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2012 3:57 pm 
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It’s a bit premature to say what I will do next, because there are no viable options for upgrading from Windows Home Server V. 1 until Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 Essentials are actually released to the consumer later this year. Then we shall see. Perhaps there will be a vendor (Acer?) with a relatively low cost server to support the new software. If not, I will likely stay with what I have for as long as I possibly can, since there are no new features I need that I don’t already have. (USB 3.0 and Advanced Format Drive capability above 2 TBs would be nice, however).

I was in a different frame of mind a few weeks ago. My feisty old EX470, upgraded to 2.0 GB RAM and the 3.0 software update, had been ticking along nicely, when it suddenly began shutting down erratically. I thought it was the power supply failing but, having ordered a replacement from England and installed it, I found the problem unresolved. On further investigation, it turned out that the thermal compound between the CPU and the heat sink had dried out. With the server cleaned up and new thermal compound in place, I am back in business, now with a spare power supply in reserve to last me for another five years if push comes to shove. If AM2 socket CPUs were still on the market, I’d be tempted to try the BIOS and 64 bit upgrade, which apparently will allow Windows Server 2012 Essentials to be installed on it. It’s amazing how powerful a little workhorse the EX470 has turned out to be. Aesthetically, it’s also the best looking computer HP ever produced.

I agree that the cost of the new Microsoft server software is outrageous for the typical home user, a market Microsoft appears intent on abandoning on all fronts (through sheer incompetence it seems) to Apple. But the upgrade cost pales in comparison to the money I’ve already spent on hard drives and external boxes to store them: 20 hard drives or 30TB (15TB duplicated) in total. I don’t see how the higher price of what appears to be much improved software justifies walking away from my investment to date, which above all else allows me to access and enjoy my entire video, music and photo library from the comfort of my recliner. (That’s what HP’s Mediasmart line of products was supposed to be for: media storage and streaming.) The idiotic decision to kill the brilliant Drive Extender in Windows Home Server 2011 before there was a viable replacement for it in the form of Storage Spaces destroyed the home server as a viable consumer product, and turned it instead into a computer hobbyist’s toy. Absent some common sense from Microsoft, it is destined to stay that way.

Those who claim that home servers have been superseded or made obsolete by new data streaming technology off “the Cloud” are dreaming in Technicolor, given the prohibitive cost of offsite online storage and the high speed broadband internet access needed to stream high definition video, here in Canada metered at a usurious 1.5 cents per GB on some wireless plans.

Finally, there is another contributing factor. The Blu-ray and DVD industry have shot themselves and the home server market in the foot with their overzealous application of DRM technology, forcing consumers to buy a product in an archaic format they don’t want (physical discs) while making it illegal to break the digital locks on those discs to allow the content (which is what we pay for, not the envelope it came in) to be converted into the format people already prefer for their music: electronic computer files able to be streamed over a home network or loaded onto a personal portable device. I am certainly not a pirate and own the LPs, cassettes, CDs, Laserdiscs, DVDs, HD DVDs and Blu-ray discs that I have converted and uploaded onto my server, but I have stopped buying movies as the cries of “illegal copying” have become increasingly shrill and menacing. There should be no difference between buying a CD (or an iTunes album) and loading it onto a home server and buying a DVD or Blu-ray disc and loading it onto the same server. But as long as the copying of purchased videos in the privacy of one’s home is deemed (or is widely believed) to be a criminal offence, the home server market is good as dead.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 7:12 am 
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Qnap NAS. Does everything my MSS did and provides software for client back ups. Actually using one right now to back up my MSS. Fast fast and the version of Twonky running on it doesn't choke and puke on files like the Twonky running on my current X510 Data Vault :/

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 9:31 am 
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TxDot wrote:
Loren wrote:
I've moved on.
I moved my 10TB to a Synology DiskStation 1512+ and DS510 extender. Running RAID. Many (free) addon apps.
Ported all my files, video, music, etc. -- only loss was old PC backups.
Started new backup scheme and all is now well.

Maybe not the choice for everyone - but this is working for me.
This is the same route I'm considering. I'd like to hear more about your backup scheme. Can you share the details?

Currently I am using Windows 7 backup on a day/time schedule. It works fine and does both file by file and image backup.
Synology also has Data Replicator 3 which I have not yet tried. I am sure almost any third part backup would also work.

Pricewise the DS1512+ cost a little less than I paid for my HP495 (new). So I think that is a wash.
Adding on is more costly though with the DS510 being around $450 vs TowerRAID TR4M-B at $150. But then you buy what you need.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2012 9:35 am 
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About two years ago I started my addiction to WHS and a digital living room. Thanks to Alex and his great members :) Flash forward to today and I'm still running WHS v1 on an el cheapo DIY box and of the many devices I'm still using an EOL Netgear Eva 9150 for media streaming and it works fine. I Beta Tested WHS 2011 and could see what or guess what MS was planning so I never deployed it.

I'm going to start playing with Windows Server 2012 Essentials (RC1) on my HP ProLiant server which has just been waiting for the correct OS to migrate. Two quick questions:

- Will My Movies for WHS2011 run on WS2012E ???

- When WS2012E is RTM will my TeckNet Key let me upgrade from the RC to Gold or must I due a new clean install?

Thanks in advance,

Steve


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