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Just Bought A Server - Couple Questions RRS feed

  • Question

  • I'd been researching WHS a while back and was all set on building my own, but $500 for the cheaper HP was too, uh, cheap to pass up.  So I ordered one tonight.  Once it gets here I'll be adding my own hard drives.  The server will be used mostly for backing up my computers and valuable files, etc.  Perhaps serving up video and such one day, if I can figure that out.  :)

    Couple questions/opinions would be appreciated:

    1. What do you consider an indespensible add-in that I should look in to first?
    2. I had the demo software and I created a personal domain name, but I don't recall what it was.  How do I get that information?  I'd probably like to use the same name.  Just can't remember what it was, heh.

    Actually, that's all I can think of at the moment.

    Thanks for the help!

    Thursday, April 16, 2009 5:04 AM

Answers

  • Thanks for that answer.

    Another question: if all my PCs are protected with anti-virus, why would WHS need it?

    And my first question still stands, for the community here, what are the best add-ons that you've found thus far?
    The "best" add-in: No such thing. I have avast! installed (anti-virus, addressed below in detail) and a Wake-On-LAN add-in that will awaken my home computers, because my wife tends to shut her computer down and it never gets backed up (or scanned for viruses). The WOL add-in lets me wake her computer occasionally for a backup and full virus scan. Those are add-ins that provide essential additional services for me. They may provide no benefit at all for you. My advice is don't choose add-ins because they sound cool, or because you "wonder if that might be useful" or because "your good buddy Ken says it's a great tool". Also, don't choose an add-in because it lets you tweak your server in ways that the Windows Home Server console itself doesn't, unless of course that tweak is part of "essential additional services".

    Antivirus: I want all the data and computers in my home to be protected from malware. If all I have to worry about are the computers we own, I probably wouldn't need antivirus software on my home server. But I have house guests fairly regularly. They may stay for a few hours, or a few days, and they may bring a computer which they want to connect to our network. As a one-time, part-time security consultant, I'm quite concerned about, and aware of, the possibility that someone may have some form of malware on their computer that they don't know about. So I have a couple of choices.

    First (and most secure) I can simply not permit guests to connect their own computers to my network. Initial problem solved, but my guests are extremely unhappy and don't come to stay as often (or perhaps at all). Fewer guests means my wife is unhappy, and by extension I become less happy rather rapidly. Nobody likes me when I'm not happy...

    Next, I could require my guests to run a full scan of their computers with software of my choosing, before connecting to my network. My server is probably still safe after this procedure (unless the guest takes the computer off-premises and brings it back), so the level of risk is acceptable. This is almost as unpopular an idea as the first; it will take (typically) one to several hours, and is fairly invasive. Wife Acceptance Factor (WAF) is still low. :)

    So I've got antivirus software on my server instead. I don't have to run long, invasive scans of my guests' computers before they connect to the network, though I mention that if they haven't scanned recently, I do happen to have a free scanner on this USB flash drive... (Well, anti-malware, really; there aren't a lot of products that protect only against a traditional computer virus any more...)

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    • Edited by Ken WarrenModerator Saturday, April 18, 2009 1:55 PM more info about add-ins
    • Marked as answer by Matt Greer Friday, April 24, 2009 4:16 AM
    Saturday, April 18, 2009 1:44 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • I'd been researching WHS a while back and was all set on building my own, but $500 for the cheaper HP was too, uh, cheap to pass up.  So I ordered one tonight.  Once it gets here I'll be adding my own hard drives.  The server will be used mostly for backing up my computers and valuable files, etc.  Perhaps serving up video and such one day, if I can figure that out.  :)

    Couple questions/opinions would be appreciated:

    1. What do you consider an indespensible add-in that I should look in to first?
    2. I had the demo software and I created a personal domain name, but I don't recall what it was.  How do I get that information?  I'd probably like to use the same name.  Just can't remember what it was, heh.

     

    You shouldn't have to remember your domain name.  Just set it up with your Live ID username/password and it should automatically locate your domain name.

     

    Actually, that's all I can think of at the moment.

    Thanks for the help!

    Thursday, April 16, 2009 5:30 AM
    Moderator
  • Thanks for that answer.

    Another question: if all my PCs are protected with anti-virus, why would WHS need it?

    And my first question still stands, for the community here, what are the best add-ons that you've found thus far?
    Friday, April 17, 2009 1:03 PM
  • Next question: have performance gains been proven using a defragger?
    Friday, April 17, 2009 3:47 PM
  • Thanks for that answer.

    Another question: if all my PCs are protected with anti-virus, why would WHS need it?

    If you didn't allow Remote Access at all, you would probably be ok without it.  However, keep in mind that this box is, in theory, where you will be keeping all of your data (videos, pics, music, personal documents, etc).  Do you really want to trust your most valued data to a box that is not protected with an A/V?

    And my first question still stands, for the community here, what are the best add-ons that you've found thus far?

    Friday, April 17, 2009 10:07 PM
    Moderator
  • Thanks for that answer.

    Another question: if all my PCs are protected with anti-virus, why would WHS need it?

    And my first question still stands, for the community here, what are the best add-ons that you've found thus far?
    The "best" add-in: No such thing. I have avast! installed (anti-virus, addressed below in detail) and a Wake-On-LAN add-in that will awaken my home computers, because my wife tends to shut her computer down and it never gets backed up (or scanned for viruses). The WOL add-in lets me wake her computer occasionally for a backup and full virus scan. Those are add-ins that provide essential additional services for me. They may provide no benefit at all for you. My advice is don't choose add-ins because they sound cool, or because you "wonder if that might be useful" or because "your good buddy Ken says it's a great tool". Also, don't choose an add-in because it lets you tweak your server in ways that the Windows Home Server console itself doesn't, unless of course that tweak is part of "essential additional services".

    Antivirus: I want all the data and computers in my home to be protected from malware. If all I have to worry about are the computers we own, I probably wouldn't need antivirus software on my home server. But I have house guests fairly regularly. They may stay for a few hours, or a few days, and they may bring a computer which they want to connect to our network. As a one-time, part-time security consultant, I'm quite concerned about, and aware of, the possibility that someone may have some form of malware on their computer that they don't know about. So I have a couple of choices.

    First (and most secure) I can simply not permit guests to connect their own computers to my network. Initial problem solved, but my guests are extremely unhappy and don't come to stay as often (or perhaps at all). Fewer guests means my wife is unhappy, and by extension I become less happy rather rapidly. Nobody likes me when I'm not happy...

    Next, I could require my guests to run a full scan of their computers with software of my choosing, before connecting to my network. My server is probably still safe after this procedure (unless the guest takes the computer off-premises and brings it back), so the level of risk is acceptable. This is almost as unpopular an idea as the first; it will take (typically) one to several hours, and is fairly invasive. Wife Acceptance Factor (WAF) is still low. :)

    So I've got antivirus software on my server instead. I don't have to run long, invasive scans of my guests' computers before they connect to the network, though I mention that if they haven't scanned recently, I do happen to have a free scanner on this USB flash drive... (Well, anti-malware, really; there aren't a lot of products that protect only against a traditional computer virus any more...)

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    • Edited by Ken WarrenModerator Saturday, April 18, 2009 1:55 PM more info about add-ins
    • Marked as answer by Matt Greer Friday, April 24, 2009 4:16 AM
    Saturday, April 18, 2009 1:44 PM
    Moderator
  • Next question: have performance gains been proven using a defragger?
    In my opinion, no. It's possible (rather easy) to construct a test case where running a defragmenting utility will significantly (10% or more overall) improve load performance of end-user applications like office suites, games that make extremely heavy use of your disk, etc. That test case is the rough equivalent of using a computer daily, several hours per day for several years without cleaning anything off of it. So for a desktop computer, it's possible that you will eventually see a benefit to defragmenting your hard drive(s), though many people replace their computers before it becomes an actual issue.

    For servers the question is rather different. There are additional latencies and bottlenecks that make it unlikely that you will ever see benefit from defragmenting your server's hard drives.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Saturday, April 18, 2009 1:52 PM
    Moderator