Print 23 comment(s) - last by HackSacken.. on Sep 17 at 12:29 PM

New MediaSmart servers have improved Mac features built-in

HP has unveiled its latest MediaSmart Servers today including the EX490 and the EX495. Both of the systems are third generation Media Smart Servers with upgraded hardware, new Mac features, and better media collector software.

Both of the new servers runs the Microsoft Windows Home Server platform and have a new refined user interface and a web-based home page for accessing and controlling the server. The new video converter has custom settings and profiles to automatically convert libraries and unprotected DVDs.

“The explosion of digital content is attracting a new kind of buyer to the home server space,” said Jason Zajac, vice president and general manager, Worldwide Attach Group, HP. “This buyer wants all the power and capacity that past buyers wanted, but also wants it to be easy to use. The new MediaSmart EX490 and EX495 give them both.”

The new Media Collector allows users to collect media by computer, media type, or file location and the server will collect and organize the media files from both Mac and PC systems. Users can also stream the media around the home and across the Internet. Mac users get new features with the new MediaServers that include administration, media collection, and new disc recovery utility for a bare metal recovery on a Mac that uses Time machine.

“The new release of HP MediaSmart Server software and hardware continues HP’s leadership in building compelling functionality on top of the Microsoft Windows Home Server Platform,” said Russ Madlener, director, Solutions Marketing, Microsoft. “HP is delivering a true cross-platform product by adding the ability to administer the server from a Mac using Microsoft’s new Remote Desktop Connection Client for Mac 2.”

The EX495 has an Intel Pentium dual-core processor and the EX490 uses a Celeron processor. Both machines can have up to 7TB of internal storage. The EX490 with 1TB is $549 while the EX495 with 1.5TB of storage is $699. The machines will debut in select European markets next month.

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I just dont get Home Server
By Mitch101 on 9/15/2009 11:18:41 AM , Rating: 2
Granted I have a 2008 server at home that I use that for VM's (Hyper-V and VirtualBox) for learning new stuff but I just dont get the market for Microsoft's Home server.

Most people I know will get a NAS or use an existing PC and set up some file shares. Maybe even use SyncToy etc or a USB hard drive. Plenty of remote access/control options in any Windows Version. Am I missing missing something about Home Server that makes someone get it?

RE: I just dont get Home Server
By Zuul on 9/15/2009 11:36:18 AM , Rating: 5
I've been running WHS since it came out - I can tell you my favorite things about it so far.

I use it more than just a NAS - the connector software also allows scheduled, incremental backups of every system joined to WHS and an easy restore over the network.

My primary use for it is as a media server. I have my pictures/videos stored on it, my xbox 360 can pull media direct from the WHS box (including HD content) and bring it to me home theatre. My entire home theatre is controlled w/ a Harmony remote as well. Everything is so easy to use, my wife & kids love it. Additionally, I have a plug in that allows me to watch my videos/listen to music remotely, even from my iphone. has a dynamic dns server for all WHS owners as well, so you can be - perfect for my wife to post public/private family albums using the IIS plug in.

Hardware wise - my first WHS box was an old Pentium 4 1.8ghz machine with a 2 x 250gb drives, 1 x 320gb and 1 x 80gb. It was just a bunch of hardware I had sitting around.

RE: I just dont get Home Server
By Funksultan on 9/15/2009 12:11:47 PM , Rating: 5
The big thing it's missing for me is actually serving as a media center PC. I still need a machine to record and store my TV, run media center plugins (so extenders can reach em) and do other sundry tasks (including playing video on the LCD in the office).

Can't imagine why they didn't just add WMC into the OS, but apparently they are doing it in the next major revision, which could be way down the road. Until then, just a machine with a huge raid array for me. :P

RE: I just dont get Home Server
By aapocketz on 9/16/2009 3:43:55 PM , Rating: 2
it would be nice if it had at least the "backend" to the windows media center. I would like it to capture data from my tv tuners (I currently use an hdhomerun) and stream it to various extenders. Maybe a way to access the TV scheduler from your own dynamic DNS site so you can remote schedule recordings and auto manage built in PCI tuners as well as networked tuners (like monsoon HAVA or an HDHomeRun).

RE: I just dont get Home Server
By Mitch101 on 9/15/2009 12:25:16 PM , Rating: 1
I guess its the ease of use that makes it attractive and a central location for managing a lot of things I would do through various apps and through the router.

I do that through SMB/file shares on a first gen XBox. For HD Content I use a Popcorn Hour/NMT

For DynDNS thats in my router DD-WRT. I also vaguely recall there is a downloadable app to auto update DNS when the IP changes on the router.

IIS plug in? Depending on what its capable of that could be interesting. I currently use MOSS and XAMPP.

Auto Backups - Generally I Ghost the OS drive and then use SyncToy for important data.

Auto Disk Expansion - Can do that through disk manager but like you said its the ease of use for the average user.

file duplications - Hmm that might be something to look at. I tried an app a long time ago but without any success.

Brandon Hill
1) Stream music/movies/TV shows to my PlayStation 3
Already do that with the file shares and an original X-box.

2) Stream videos to my iPhone 3G S
VLC for the existing media on the PC.
I also own a HAVA that does this and allows me to control my Direct TV receiver from my Blackberry.

3) Backup my MacBook Pro with Time Machine
Dont own a MacBook but thats cool that you can do that.

4) Backup my wife's Windows 7 notebook
I havent used the Windows 7 backup yet even though it warns me to do it. Still using ghost/acronis and SyncToy.

5) Dedicated uTorrent server
My Popcorn Hour and PC can do this but I dont torrent.

6) iTunes Server
File share to my Music Directory and either through an X-Box or Popcorn hour can play back the music.

7) Access all the files on my network from anywhere I have an internet connection
Number of applications on the web that can do this. FTP could be configured to do this.

Not trying to dis Home Server its obviously something easy to manage and conveniently tied into a single package which I can see being attractive. I just dont see the killer app/function that makes me say I should get one but maybe I need to try it and see the backup, duplicate, and IIS plug in first hand. Thanks for the heads up I think I will download a copy and see for myself if its right for me.

RE: I just dont get Home Server
By Brandon Hill on 9/15/2009 12:35:00 PM , Rating: 2
The killer feature is ease of use and being in one self-contained unit that doesn't sap the resources of any other computer on your network. My machines don't have to do any work, the server does it all. Also, my MediaSmart server can happily encode/transcode video automatically without user intervention and download torrent files or anything else while I'm happily minding my own business on my PC.

I even log into my server from my iPhone to start/manage torrents.

The MediaSmart server is an all in one appliance that does everything from a single user interface and doesn't require you to have 10 different utilities, software applications, or hardware devices to accomplish a task.

All I had to do was take the server out of the box, plug in the power, plug in the network cable to my router, enter in some security/login information, wait for updates to install, and setup my personal web address and I was up in running. Setting up backups for both my MacBook and my wife's PC took about a minute.

And considering that I got my EX485 for around $280 from after CPP discount and Bing Cashback. Nothing else comes close IMHO.

RE: I just dont get Home Server
By Mitch101 on 9/15/2009 2:46:07 PM , Rating: 2
I'm convinced to download it and give it a try. All for consolidating various apps to a single one.

Thanks everyone.

RE: I just dont get Home Server
By roastmules on 9/15/09, Rating: 0
RE: I just dont get Home Server
By davepermen on 9/15/2009 4:50:53 PM , Rating: 2
about the automatic backups.. i repeat what one below posted:

Automatic incremental backups for your entire home network, with simple easy to use full disk restore system.

you just go to \\server\software\Home Server Connector Software\setup.exe, click sometimes "next", enter the home server password, and you have configured what he stated:

Automatic incremental backups for your entire home network, with simple easy to use full disk restore system.

you don't get that from your ghost and file copies.

if one of my systems now die, i can restore them (or restore some files of one of them to another machine) very easily, getting back to a very actual state. your ghost don't help you if you installed new apps.

with home server and those backups, you can start using your systems like if they are virtual machines. testing out win7? rightclick your homeserver systemtray icon, chose manual backup. afterwards, install win7, fresh downloaded and burned to disk (or to usb stick), test it out, then just boot from disk/usbstick to start the restore, restore the pc back to before. simple, easy, fast.

i have a homeserver exactly because i know i could do it all manually. why should i want to? it's tedious, and useless.

i now administer 3 home servers. one at my parents, one at my home, and one at a friends small business. they, together with vista, resulted in nearly no calls ever, and a savety, that even if a call pops up, i always have backups to be on the save side.

and btw, if you want, you can look at mine. pics are old and get updated during the next weeks:
invisible, inaudible, always there for us.

oh, and, no, i don't want it mixed up with the media center. the media center is at my beamer. an unimportant machine, only there to present stuff. the home server is my home central, don't want to mess around on this one.

RE: I just dont get Home Server
By Brandon Hill on 9/15/2009 5:15:30 PM , Rating: 2
What do you do for ventilation? Seems like it would get stuffy inside that box with just a couple of circular holes to breathe through.

RE: I just dont get Home Server
By davepermen on 9/15/2009 5:20:13 PM , Rating: 2
nothing. completely passive cooled, and never overheats at all, never actually gets more than "a bit warm".

and in the summer, where it could get a bit over the limit (but still far below where anything could overheat), i can just open the front door, letting it cool down rapidly.

normally, it's between 20°C and 40°C, depending on the readout-place. so it's cool.

now if ssds would get more cheap, i could have all ssd's for the storage, then it would be 100% silent even with the door open :)

all my other systems are ssd based and thus, once 100% passive cooled, 100% silent :) and all are nice save.

the only thing that i still have to set up is synching important files from home-server to home-server, so that if one house burns down, we still have a backup of the data on the other house (parents <-> me sync, that is). but i'm not really in a hurry, it's not like we couldn't survive after a burndown without the data.

RE: I just dont get Home Server
By davepermen on 9/15/2009 11:38:16 AM , Rating: 1
yes, you do miss something :) (else you would have one, not?).

reason one: automatic system backups, so that you can restore back to a working system.

reason two: automatic disk expansion and file duplications, so you can just buy another 1tb, or 1.5tb, or 2tb disk when ever you want, plug it in, and it just adds its space.

home server is about ease of use, about automatic handling of the stuff you would have to do manually, and about flexibility.

it looks like a NAS, but it's just so much more. ease of use is important, only then, you get your whole family to do backups, to share it's data on the server instead of locally, etc.

RE: I just dont get Home Server
By Brandon Hill on 9/15/2009 11:43:41 AM , Rating: 2
I love my MediaSmart EX485. I use it to:

1) Stream music/movies/TV shows to my PlayStation 3
2) Stream videos to my iPhone 3G S
3) Backup my MacBook Pro with Time Machine
4) Backup my wife's Windows 7 notebook
5) Dedicated uTorrent server
6) iTunes Server
7) Access all the files on my network from anywhere I have an internet connection

The list goes on and on

RE: I just dont get Home Server
By Source9 on 9/15/2009 8:10:20 PM , Rating: 2
I just purchased a Synology DS109j that should do all that the HP does and more for a fraction of the cost. One of the only things it doesnt do is transcode for media server, it just streams.

It also does alot more as in Wev server wise. I was debating between these 2 devices for a while. I will let you all know how I like the Synology and what its Pros and Cons end up being.

By Brandon Hill on 9/16/2009 7:27:50 AM , Rating: 2
It has just one internal HDD bay and only support USB 2.0 externally. No eSATA either?

I guess if you have limited storage needs it's an OK solution.

RE: I just dont get Home Server
By VooDooAddict on 9/15/2009 12:06:30 PM , Rating: 2
For me, here are the benefits of over a NAS:
1) Automatic incremental backups for your entire home network.
2) Always on low power media server to Xbox 360.

For family/friends for whom a linux based NAS would be difficult to use:
1) It reduces the support you need to give family/friends. You can remote in and see the health of the backups.
4) Automatic incremental backups for your entire home network, with simple easy to use full disk restore system.
3) Centralized easy to use file share.
5) Always on low power media server to Xbox 360.

My mother got nailed by a virus over the weekend. She wiped her drive and restored in just over an hour. This saved me: - The hour drive there
- The hour drive back
- Hours and Hours trying to manually remove the new virus, spyware, ect. (Without the auto backup, wiping her drive would cause the loss of loads of data.)

This also empowers friends and family who are afraid of computers to take a bit more control. Just leave a simple instruction sheet, with two bootable CDs:
- Boot with the scary red disk. It will wipe your hard drive and remove all traces of the virus.
- Plug into the network at your desk.
- Boot with the Windows Home Server PC Restore Disk.
- Select your computer and restore from the day before.
- You Kick Butt! You have now fixed your computer.

Warning ... getting a Home Server for friends or family that call you often will cause you not to hear from them as much.

By VooDooAddict on 9/15/2009 12:08:54 PM , Rating: 2
Hmm. Somehow my numbering got screwy on that last one. Sorry about that.

Severs ?
By WT on 9/15/2009 11:21:47 AM , Rating: 3
I love my HP 470EX server (modded with a 1640 CPU and 2gb RAM).
I wonder if these new fangled devices known as severs are any better ?

Grammar Nazis, UNTIE !!

RE: Severs ?
By Turas on 9/15/2009 11:31:18 AM , Rating: 2
I love mine also. I may upgrade but I will miss the photoalbum from the original version. I prefer the webshare and wish they would update that as it does not seem to work on Windows 7 to upload photos.

RE: Severs ?
By cjc1103 on 9/15/2009 1:15:12 PM , Rating: 2
Grammar Nazis, UNTIE !!

What about Spelling Nazis?

RE: Severs ?
By Spivonious on 9/15/2009 1:22:37 PM , Rating: 2
But if I untie my shoes, won't they fall off? And what does that have to do with grammar?

RE: Severs ?
By amanojaku on 9/15/2009 4:13:48 PM , Rating: 2
From what I can tell the original article had a spelling (speeling?) error: "severs" intead of "servers," which the OP was making fun of.

@ cjc1103, a spelling Nazi is considered to be the same as a grammar Nazi: a nitpick.

Disk Efficiency Use - WHS
By HackSacken on 9/17/2009 12:29:18 PM , Rating: 2
I'm quite surprised no one mentioned the perk of getting more from your HDDs (unless I overlooked it). While you may take a minor performance hit, WHS establishes redundancy with minimal disk space loss when up against a RAID'ed NAS solution.

WHS gives you the ability to duplicate data on a per-share basis. At first, I didn't like this, but it became clear that it is rather ideal. I only duplicate the data I NEED/WANT to as opposed to a whole loss of an HDD to RAID 1 mirroring. Versus RAID 5, I don't lose a complete disk to parity. This also opens up the ease of expansion at a low cost. Sure an array in a RAID 5 can be expanded; but from my experience, you pay big time for this functionality. When upgrading disk space in WHS, you simply add a disk to the storage pool. If you are out of ports, you can remove a drive from the disk pool in which it will dump the data elsewhere and you can swap a smaller disk with a much larger one.

More bang for you buck to sum it all up. RAID is nice, but more and likely overkill and costly when talking about a home user environment.

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