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how you like your HP EX47x? RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • How do you like your HP EX47x?

     

    Let me start with comments on my EX470.

    Hardware-wise:

    1. It's a beautiful piece of hardware. A great addition to your proud home network.
    2. It's quiet.
    3. It has room for future growth.

    Now, on the flip side:

    1. It is under power.
    2. It sorely needs memory upgrade.
    3. Its performance sucks.
    4. (why would one build a machine that barely work coming out of the box?)
    5. Not a home user friendly piece of equipment.
    6. It seems to generate lots of heat.

    Software-wise:

    1. I become a beta tester for MS through purchasing this hardware.
    2. Technical support is ... uh.. this forum, on the best effort.
    3. So poorly documented (typical though with MS).  There some out there, but full of sale pitches, and little useful info.
    4. As I play with the features, I added a hard drive and that went OK.  However, the server became unusable when I attempted to remove that hard drive.  I failed in the middle of the process, and never recovered throughout many attempts to fix the issues.  Well, I don't put any data on it, so it doesn't cause any harm, but it could.
    5. What does the Jakarta ISAPI do in there?  document please!
    6. Why can't I change the name of the server AFTER initial setup?  What has been done in the backgroud during setup that prevents one from changing the server later on?  document please!
    7. Why can't I add shares the way I want them to be?  Why can't I specify where I want them to be stored?
    8. Now come the wizards.  Are manual setup documented some where?  I don't like the wizards as I don't know what they do.
    9. The GUI for configuring backups is terrible.  I can only do one exclusion, and kicks me back to the beginning.  Why can't I do multiple exclusions before I commit?
    10. Where is my customization guide?  I don't want to turn my home network and personal website into an advertise device either for HP and/or Microsoft.

    Man, am I being paranoid?

    You have a comment on your HP?  I like to hear from you.

    Tuesday, August 5, 2008 10:28 PM

All replies

  • Your HP MediaSmart Server isn't a general-purpose server. It's designed for use by people without a broad technical background to be able to take home, plug in, and have it "just work" without requiring any significant configuration. You aren't going to find a lot of documentation of the sort that I think you're looking for for that reason. You may find the Windows Home Server support page of some use, though.

    Regarding your heat issues: the exhaust air from my MediaSmart Server is barely warm. What's the environment around the server like? If you have it stored in a small cupboard, it may not be ventilated sufficiently.

    Regarding your points on the software:
    2 & 3: Windows Home Server isn't a retail product; you can't walk into a store and buy a shrinkwrapped box with the software in it. It's available only from OEMs (preinstalled) and in the system builder channel. Any documentation provided is expected to come from those sources.
    5: It was added by HP, I believe in support of their Photo Webshare application. HP doesn't choose to document the internals of the server.
    6: The name of the server doesn't have any effect on operation.
    7, 8 & 10: Again, it's not a product that's designed to be extensively customized by the average end user.
    9: Backups are intended to be full backups. Windows Home Server backup works best when it backs up the full machine. If you only backed up one or two critical folders, you would be unable to return a failed PC to a working state by simply restoring a backup and rebooting.

    Wednesday, August 6, 2008 4:25 AM
    Moderator
  • I am one of the EX470 buyers that fits Ken's description of the target audience, and am fully satisfied, even enthralled, with the capabilities it gives me to fully utilize my home LAN.

    The full PC backups, the share folder duplications, the remote access, the iTunes server, the media sharing, the photo websharing...these are all things that I needed and now have, and at a reasonable price.

    I will soon upgrade the RAM to 2GB and hope that solves my one complaint: it takes too long for the console to react to clicks when it's doing something else.

    I must say it helped that, before buying, I read all the available documention and closely watched this forum. I knew what I was getting into and my expectations were met.

    I don't expect to further customize the hardware or add a lot of software applications. That's not what it was designed for.

     

    Wednesday, August 6, 2008 8:37 AM
  • I disagree on your assessment about general purpose servers and no documentation needed.  Even a microwave or a TV comes with a full booklet that explains how to use every single features in there, and how to custom their features to one's taste, such as favorite channels. However, as I say, there some decent technical knowledge posted in this forum and elsewhere on the Internet that would help me through.  In my opinion, the software developers who implemented this software are the ones who know the best about their product, should they share their knowledge with their customer to ease up customers' experience?  Well, I can certainly agree on our disagreement and move on.

    My home office is air-conditioned along with the rest of the house.  It is a 12x12 room with office style desks with 2 wide openings to the kitchen+family room and to the living room; the point is it is well ventilated.  There are 2 (recent models) PCs with 24" monitors and a laptop, along with cable modem+router+switches, and a laser printer in the room.  There's only one always-on PC.  Before the addition of the HP EX475, the temperature in the room as indicated by a atomic clock was consistent with the thermostat of the air-conditioning unit.  After the addition of the HP server, the temperature is consistently 1-2 degrees higher than the rest of the house.  The HP EX475 has two original 500GB drives, in addition with a Samsung 1TB drive.  I can even feel the heat coming out of the vent from the server.  The HP server sits on top a modular desktop, next to the wireless AP.

    What are system builder channels? What documentation is available there? Are they more like "do it at your own risks"?

    I disagree with you again on the servername doesn't matter, as I experience it myself.  After changing the server name and its workgroup to match my existing setups, I had problems "connecting to the server", and/or "server is not available".  The pre-installed certificate has a lot to do with that.

    If it is a product not designed to be customized, why is it in the system builder channel?  Am I expected to use it just like a DVD player?

    Finally, in my opinion, there is a big difference between a data backup and and bare metal recovery.  A data backup is, just like what it sounds, a backup of the data; and my data does not include everything on the hard drive.  Why make the distinction? Because it saves time, bandwidth, and server storage. Although WHS has a tool to do PC recovery ( I haven't tried it yet), it certainly not the only tool to do system recovery.  Again, I disagree with you that it's best to do a full backup rather than just a data backup.  That should be an option, rather than the default.
    To further discussion on backup, let me bring up the point of a share folder and WHS backup software. A share is a common place for data that needs to be read and modified by multiple people. For example, my wife and I have a financial document (or database) that we both read and make changes to it.  The approach that WHS-backup takes right now is not supporting that, by providing no auto backup for a share folder.  It does provide fully automated backup to her personal files on her PCs as well as mine. But her copy and my copy of the database are two separate DBs, and they are not consistent as they should be at all times.

    Regarding Bobsie's comment on upgrading the hardware in the HP box.  I really have a problem with underpower systems that need to be upgraded to attain acceptable performance.  Again, do you buy a TV just to figure out that you need an upgrade on the video card to get your picture displayed right?  To make the matter worse, do I want to spend some more money in addition to what I already paid to, hopefully, get to an acceptable performance, knowing that I will forfeit my warranty on the box?  That seems to be very bothersome to me.

    So drop me a line, let me know what you think.

    Dean.
    Thursday, August 7, 2008 5:57 PM
  •  deanjavu wrote:

    Let me start with comments on my EX470.

    Hardware-wise:

    1. It's a beautiful piece of hardware. A great addition to your proud home network.
    2. It's quiet.
    3. It has room for future growth.

    Yep!

     

     deanjavu wrote:

    Now, on the flip side:

    1. It is under power.
    2. It sorely needs memory upgrade.
    3. Its performance sucks.
    4. (why would one build a machine that barely work coming out of the box?)
    5. Not a home user friendly piece of equipment.
    6. It seems to generate lots of heat.

    1. I think it has just the power it needs to do where it was designed for.

    2. Yes, If you want to extend the original functionality, you need at least a memory upgrade.

    3. See 1 and 2

    4. This is not the experience I have form the HPEX470

    5. It is. Plugging in the power and network cable was all I needed to get the server up and running.

    6. Not here! Maybe there is something wrong with your box?

    At this moment I have the box operating in quite a warm environment (25++ degrees Celsius). The case keeps cool and power consumption is low. It is doing even better then my home-build box that I build using carefully selected components that would give me a server that is quiet with low-power consumption.

     

    For the rest, I agree with Ken.

    If you are a HP "user" you don not need (or want) to know the technical details. I should just "work".

    If you have a technical interest in the inner workings of the box and some fair knowledge of Microsoft Server technology and hardware; imho there is plenty of technical documentation, background information and support available. Either through Microsoft/MSDN of through the WHS communities. 

     

    On your original question: Yes, I think the EX470 is a great product. Especially if you consider Windows Home Server to be a brand new product that is unique in its kind!

     

    Personally I like to customize, extend, upgrade and program my server. So that is why I like to build my own box (thanks Microsoft for making this possible through the OEM kit!).  For my parents or anyone else that just needs reliable data storage and backup for their home network, I will certainly recommend buying the HP MediaSmart.

     

    Theo.

    Thursday, August 7, 2008 7:49 PM
    Moderator
  • I love my EX470 WHS.  However, I did upgrade the memory to 2GB to support additional add-ins/software without impacting system performance to much.  Recently I installed a Windows based PBX system from 3CX.  I have two other add-ins and the EX470 CPU doesn't break much of a sweat.

    Thursday, August 7, 2008 9:07 PM