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Questions re: HP MediaSmart Server RRS feed

  • Question

  • This looks promising, a vendor supported, convenient, and affordable solution instead of setting up a home-brewed server. However, I have a few questions/concerns:

    a. Can you access songs in an iTunes library hosted on a MediaSmart server from an OS X box?
    b. Can you access files stored on a MediaSmart server from an OS X box?
    c. Do you have access to IIS, or are you limited to the photo and file sharing capabilities that HP
        provides? I want to set up my own web server.
    d. Is the machine as quiet as some people have claimed (with respect to the built-in fans)?
    e. How many memory slots are used/available?
    f. Can you replace the CPU with a faster model? I know that this may not be necessary for the
       box as shipped, but once you've installed a few add-ons (SQL database, PVR, etc), who knows?
    g. Has anybody seen problems similar to what people are reporting in the "One week after OEM
        install... STILL BALANCING!" thread on their MediaSmart server?

    Thx,
    Frank
    Monday, December 3, 2007 8:23 PM

Answers

    1. Yes. The iTunes server on the HP MediaSmart server is Firefly, which is a fairly standard DAAP server.
    2. Yes, but some people have been having issues accessing SMB shares from Leopard. Do a Google search for "SMB Leopard Windows".
    3. You can access IIS, but WHS is definitely not intended to be a general purpose server. You will be more or less on your own as far as advanced configuration.
    4. My MediaSmart Server sits about 8' from my desk, and I can't hear it.
    5. 1/1.
    6. No. The MediaSmart Server is not upgradable by the end user.
    7. I have never experienced a problem with balancing. Things that affect balancing: how much data there is on your server, how full your storage pool is, how many drives you have, how frequently files change, etc. I suspect at least some of those problems are related to flaky drivers or hardware. Most of the rest are likely related to how people use their server.
    Monday, December 3, 2007 11:04 PM
    Moderator
  • As I said above, Windows Home Server is not designed to be extended other than by the installation of add-ins. That's not to say you can't do so, but unless you're quite familiar with configuring Internet Information Server, and installing additional server applications, you might not find Windows Home Server the best platform. In exchange for it being so easy to set up and configure for the average home user, it's less flexible overall.

    As for home automation, there's one home automation add-in for WHS that I'm aware of: mControl. It appears to be worth a look, and it's way easier than trying to roll your own.
    Tuesday, December 4, 2007 4:52 AM
    Moderator
  • I've found several useful plugins that accomplish most of what you're looking for: http://www.wegotserved.co.uk/windows-home-server-add-ins/

     

    For multiple websites, I use Whiist which seems to do the job nicely and even creates photo ablbum sites quite nicely. I still end up going into IIS now and again to get at something it can't handle, but it works well. There's a new one I haven't tried yet that's even more straightforward (called Add Website). If you have something like X10's web solution you may have a problem since it runs separately from IIS. If you have an IIS-based web interface for your stand-alone program, you should be okay, you just need to expose it.

     

    Under "C:\Inetpub" you'll find the public and private versions of your WHS website ('home' and 'remote' folders, respectively). In each is a file called "WebSites.xml". Once you have added a virtual webserver (or already have one running as the case may be) you can add the URL for it in one of these files. If you add it to C:\Inetpub\home\WebSites.xml it will be available to anyone that can access your server's homepage (unless you require login first, of course). If you add it to C:\Inetpub\remote\WebSites.xml, it will be accessible after you log in. For a home automation web interface, I'd personally choose the latter, even if it requires authentication, but that's just me.

     

    Here's what you're WebSites.xml will look after you add, say, Microsoft.com:

     

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>

    <WebSites>

       <WebSite name="Microsoft Corporation" uri="http://www.malanfamily.com" absolute="True" />

    </WebSites>

     

    You can also add a graphic to the displayed link by adding "imageUrl='favicon.gif'" (or whatever) to the Website tag like this:

     

    <WebSite name="Malan Family Online" uri="http://www.malanfamily.com" absolute="True" imageUrl="favicon.gif" />

     .

    'Hope that helps!
    Tuesday, December 4, 2007 8:18 PM
  • Yes, if you've got some familiarity already, then you can probably figure everything out. I recommend just leaving the current WHS web sites alone; anything you decide to do should probably be a new site on a different port.

    Regarding your home automation interface, I would take a look at mControl anyway. It plugs in to the WHS console, which means that you can control it through the WHS Remote Access web site from anywhere that has an internet connection and a browser. No extra tweaking required...
    Wednesday, December 5, 2007 1:50 AM
    Moderator

All replies

    1. Yes. The iTunes server on the HP MediaSmart server is Firefly, which is a fairly standard DAAP server.
    2. Yes, but some people have been having issues accessing SMB shares from Leopard. Do a Google search for "SMB Leopard Windows".
    3. You can access IIS, but WHS is definitely not intended to be a general purpose server. You will be more or less on your own as far as advanced configuration.
    4. My MediaSmart Server sits about 8' from my desk, and I can't hear it.
    5. 1/1.
    6. No. The MediaSmart Server is not upgradable by the end user.
    7. I have never experienced a problem with balancing. Things that affect balancing: how much data there is on your server, how full your storage pool is, how many drives you have, how frequently files change, etc. I suspect at least some of those problems are related to flaky drivers or hardware. Most of the rest are likely related to how people use their server.
    Monday, December 3, 2007 11:04 PM
    Moderator
  • Thanks, Ken!

    My use of WHS as a web server is to have access to personal info (media collection, part/model numbers, and the like), set a recording on a video recorder, and control my home automation. In other words, not many users, but definitely would want to have ASP and some sort of light database server running. I also want to be able to access and update the site from OS X machines on my home network.

    Is this possible on the MediaSmart server?

    Tuesday, December 4, 2007 3:55 AM
  • As I said above, Windows Home Server is not designed to be extended other than by the installation of add-ins. That's not to say you can't do so, but unless you're quite familiar with configuring Internet Information Server, and installing additional server applications, you might not find Windows Home Server the best platform. In exchange for it being so easy to set up and configure for the average home user, it's less flexible overall.

    As for home automation, there's one home automation add-in for WHS that I'm aware of: mControl. It appears to be worth a look, and it's way easier than trying to roll your own.
    Tuesday, December 4, 2007 4:52 AM
    Moderator
  • I used to be an MCSE back in the 90s, and I've tinkered with IIS, so as long as I can get to the underlying OS and configure IIS, install and control services, schedule batch jobs and the like I'm pretty sure I can get it to work. Sounds like that can be done if I interpret you correctly.

    The home automation software already exists for my system, but is usually run as a stand-alone (Windows) program (which I can run via remote desktop, correct?), or via a web interface, which should also work. They interact with the home automation system via a hardware interface and probably requires a special driver to be installed, so as long as I can do that I'm ok.

    Thx,
    Frank

    Tuesday, December 4, 2007 7:48 PM
  • I've found several useful plugins that accomplish most of what you're looking for: http://www.wegotserved.co.uk/windows-home-server-add-ins/

     

    For multiple websites, I use Whiist which seems to do the job nicely and even creates photo ablbum sites quite nicely. I still end up going into IIS now and again to get at something it can't handle, but it works well. There's a new one I haven't tried yet that's even more straightforward (called Add Website). If you have something like X10's web solution you may have a problem since it runs separately from IIS. If you have an IIS-based web interface for your stand-alone program, you should be okay, you just need to expose it.

     

    Under "C:\Inetpub" you'll find the public and private versions of your WHS website ('home' and 'remote' folders, respectively). In each is a file called "WebSites.xml". Once you have added a virtual webserver (or already have one running as the case may be) you can add the URL for it in one of these files. If you add it to C:\Inetpub\home\WebSites.xml it will be available to anyone that can access your server's homepage (unless you require login first, of course). If you add it to C:\Inetpub\remote\WebSites.xml, it will be accessible after you log in. For a home automation web interface, I'd personally choose the latter, even if it requires authentication, but that's just me.

     

    Here's what you're WebSites.xml will look after you add, say, Microsoft.com:

     

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>

    <WebSites>

       <WebSite name="Microsoft Corporation" uri="http://www.malanfamily.com" absolute="True" />

    </WebSites>

     

    You can also add a graphic to the displayed link by adding "imageUrl='favicon.gif'" (or whatever) to the Website tag like this:

     

    <WebSite name="Malan Family Online" uri="http://www.malanfamily.com" absolute="True" imageUrl="favicon.gif" />

     .

    'Hope that helps!
    Tuesday, December 4, 2007 8:18 PM
  • Yes, if you've got some familiarity already, then you can probably figure everything out. I recommend just leaving the current WHS web sites alone; anything you decide to do should probably be a new site on a different port.

    Regarding your home automation interface, I would take a look at mControl anyway. It plugs in to the WHS console, which means that you can control it through the WHS Remote Access web site from anywhere that has an internet connection and a browser. No extra tweaking required...
    Wednesday, December 5, 2007 1:50 AM
    Moderator
  • Thanks, Traek, very helpful!

    Ken, I took a glance at mControl, that may come in handy for lighting as I'm converting from X-10 to Insteon. Doesn't look like it will interface with my security system (HAI Aegis), but I may switch 
    to something else anyway. Thanks again for all your help!
    Thursday, December 6, 2007 5:12 AM
  • Since all of the home automation vendors are fairly small operations, you might want to ask them if they've considered an interface for your security system. They may just never have had a request for it.
    Thursday, December 6, 2007 1:06 PM
    Moderator