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Could I get a little info and perhaps some guidance. RRS feed

  • Question

  • I am about to purchase an HP Media Smart EX470 and I have a few questions as to whether can I do certain things or how do I go about doing certain things and I'm hoping I can find some help on this forum. All of these questions I believe have to do with Home Server software capability and that is why I ams asking these questions here.

    First of all I am buying this for home use. I have 4 laptops and 2 desktops that use my home network. The desktops run XP Pro and 3 of the laptops run Vista Home and 1 runs XP Home. The laptops are not always on the network. They will be taken to work or school and then when they are brought home they are wirelessly attached to the network. I use a DLink 655 router and a Trendnet cable modem . The laptops are either Toshibas or Acers.

    1. I want to be able to backup all 6 computers on to the EX470 in such a way that if I need to do a restore of any of them I can do a bare metal restore. So that would mean (I guess) that when they are attached to my home network, a backup would begin for that computer.

    2. I understand I can make part of the EX470 available for storage off the internet (remote access?). What I would like to do is be able to map a drive letter for the part of the EX470 that is available via the internet so that primarily Word documents can be saved on it and therefore be accessed by any of the other network users either while they are on the network at home or while they are on the internet at some other location. Is this possible (via a mapped drive letter) or do I have to setup something else in order to access files on the EX470?

    3. Can backups be done over the internet. For example if one of my laptops is at a remote site (my office) is there anyway to start a backup from there to the EX470?

    4. At one time there was a software glitch in the Home Server software that caused problems either in  doing a good restore or something like that. Has that glitch been fixed? Are there any other "major" bugs in either the software or hardware?

    That is about it except for the fact that I was thinking about building my own Home Server but I think I have talked my self out of doing that. But I would appreciate any thoughts on this.

    Monday, December 29, 2008 1:23 AM

Answers

  • I'm no expert...but I'll take a crack at this for you:

    1) With the WHS extender software, you can schedule your automated back-ups to occur at any time. It is possible to manually back-up at any time as well. Should you miss a scheduled back-up, WHS will notify the owner of that laptop/computer to back-up as soon as possible.

    2) WHS has a web interface in which you can share any of your shared folders out on the internet. It would be no issue to create a web-sharable directory for your word documents. On top of this, you can use the Microsoft Mesh Beta preview to further sync documents over multiple computers on the public internet.

    3) As far as I know, back-ups to the WHS cannot be done over the internet. You must be on the same network as the WHS.

    4) That "software glitch" was actually fairly minor, and has been resolved. Honestly, WHS is one of the best products that Microsoft has created...I highly recommend it!

    5) I built my own home server and it's fantastic. I bought the OEM software from Newegg and just tossed some old hardware I had together. It runs great!! (knock on wood). I even use it to stream all of my media to my Xbox...I couldn't live without it :).

    Good luck!!
    Monday, December 29, 2008 1:53 AM
  • jmw45 said:

    I am about to purchase an HP Media Smart EX470 and I have a few questions as to whether can I do certain things or how do I go about doing certain things and I'm hoping I can find some help on this forum. All of these questions I believe have to do with Home Server software capability and that is why I ams asking these questions here.

    First of all I am buying this for home use. I have 4 laptops and 2 desktops that use my home network. The desktops run XP Pro and 3 of the laptops run Vista Home and 1 runs XP Home. The laptops are not always on the network. They will be taken to work or school and then when they are brought home they are wirelessly attached to the network. I use a DLink 655 router and a Trendnet cable modem . The laptops are either Toshibas or Acers.

    1. I want to be able to backup all 6 computers on to the EX470 in such a way that if I need to do a restore of any of them I can do a bare metal restore. So that would mean (I guess) that when they are attached to my home network, a backup would begin for that computer.

    Correct (as long as the client is not turned off).

    jmw45 said:

    2. I understand I can make part of the EX470 available for storage off the internet (remote access?). What I would like to do is be able to map a drive letter for the part of the EX470 that is available via the internet so that primarily Word documents can be saved on it and therefore be accessed by any of the other network users either while they are on the network at home or while they are on the internet at some other location. Is this possible (via a mapped drive letter) or do I have to setup something else in order to access files on the EX470?

    Not out of the box.  You can use the Remote Access website, but it has nothing to do with mapping drive letters.  If you really want to map a drive letter through the internet, you would need to use an add-in like Web Folders 4 WHS.

    jmw45 said:

    3. Can backups be done over the internet. For example if one of my laptops is at a remote site (my office) is there anyway to start a backup from there to the EX470?

    Again, not out of the box.  You would have to install something like Hamachi (which would mean you would need to logon to the server desktop to install it and logging into the server desktop for any reason is unsupported).  Not to mention it is not the simplest thing to set up....

    jmw45 said:

    4. At one time there was a software glitch in the Home Server software that caused problems either in  doing a good restore or something like that. Has that glitch been fixed? Are there any other "major" bugs in either the software or hardware?

    Not completely.  There are still a few users who are having problems with restoring backups (the most common is it locks up at 81%).  Apparently MS has sent a potential fix to at least some of those users who have reported that problem.  However, there is no official update on MS Update for it yet.

    jmw45 said:

    That is about it except for the fact that I was thinking about building my own Home Server but I think I have talked my self out of doing that. But I would appreciate any thoughts on this.



    Monday, December 29, 2008 4:14 AM
    Moderator
  • jmw45 said:

    You've certainly painted a much better picture of WHS than I have been getting from this forum. All of these restore bugs that I just read about (especially the 72% and 81% bugs) have really scared the bejesus out of me.  However, I haven't seen any alternative product out on the marketplace. Sure there are lots of NAS drives but it seems like the backup software they have doesn't have all of the features of WHS.

    I will say that I was impressed with the quick response on this site. The % restore problem thread started on Dec 19 and it seems like they have a bug fix already.  That's pretty fast.

    I may take your advice and build my own because I have a server box I never used and it's just setting there.  I built my own Asterisk system for my business and it has worked much better than expected (I did have to find the right "flavor" of Asterisk before I got what I needed), but it works great.  I did the same thing you did though, I had an old Dell system which I was not using and installed it on that.  Asterisk doesn't need any horsepower so I recycled an otherwise trashbox destined computer.

    Do you have any suggestions or recommendations concerning the hardware?
     

    Yes.  Get new hardware. :)  IMO, I would never trust any hardware that has never been used and "it's just setting there".  Keep in mind that you are, in theory, trusting your most valuable data (pics, personal documents, etc) to reside on your server.  Do you want to trust that data to hardware that is old (and maybe obsolete)?

    jmw45 said:

    Anything I need to stay away from or should be sure to use?
     

    Make sure all of your hardware has drivers for Windows Server 2003 (which is the underlying OS).

    jmw45 said:

    I am thinking about starting out with 2 1TB drives. Do I need a special drive controller or NIC?
     

    Nope.  Just make sure it supports 1 TB drives.  The one I bought didn't so I had to flash the firmware.

    jmw45 said:

    I understand WHS supports RAID.
     

    No, RAID is not supported on WHS.

    jmw45 said:

    If that is true, should I design my hardware for that?

    I will say I like the small form factor of the HP EX470, but I can't find a box that small. 

    Thanks for the info. I appreciate it.



    Monday, December 29, 2008 4:22 AM
    Moderator

All replies

  • I'm no expert...but I'll take a crack at this for you:

    1) With the WHS extender software, you can schedule your automated back-ups to occur at any time. It is possible to manually back-up at any time as well. Should you miss a scheduled back-up, WHS will notify the owner of that laptop/computer to back-up as soon as possible.

    2) WHS has a web interface in which you can share any of your shared folders out on the internet. It would be no issue to create a web-sharable directory for your word documents. On top of this, you can use the Microsoft Mesh Beta preview to further sync documents over multiple computers on the public internet.

    3) As far as I know, back-ups to the WHS cannot be done over the internet. You must be on the same network as the WHS.

    4) That "software glitch" was actually fairly minor, and has been resolved. Honestly, WHS is one of the best products that Microsoft has created...I highly recommend it!

    5) I built my own home server and it's fantastic. I bought the OEM software from Newegg and just tossed some old hardware I had together. It runs great!! (knock on wood). I even use it to stream all of my media to my Xbox...I couldn't live without it :).

    Good luck!!
    Monday, December 29, 2008 1:53 AM
  • You've certainly painted a much better picture of WHS than I have been getting from this forum. All of these restore bugs that I just read about (especially the 72% and 81% bugs) have really scared the bejesus out of me.  However, I haven't seen any alternative product out on the marketplace. Sure there are lots of NAS drives but it seems like the backup software they have doesn't have all of the features of WHS.

    I will say that I was impressed with the quick response on this site. The % restore problem thread started on Dec 19 and it seems like they have a bug fix already.  That's pretty fast.

    I may take your advice and build my own because I have a server box I never used and it's just setting there.  I built my own Asterisk system for my business and it has worked much better than expected (I did have to find the right "flavor" of Asterisk before I got what I needed), but it works great.  I did the same thing you did though, I had an old Dell system which I was not using and installed it on that.  Asterisk doesn't need any horsepower so I recycled an otherwise trashbox destined computer.

    Do you have any suggestions or recommendations concerning the hardware? Anything I need to stay away from or should be sure to use? I am thinking about starting out with 2 1TB drives. Do I need a special drive controller or NIC? I understand WHS supports RAID. If that is true, should I design my hardware for that?

    I will say I like the small form factor of the HP EX470, but I can't find a box that small. 

    Thanks for the info. I appreciate it.



    Monday, December 29, 2008 2:41 AM
  • jmw45 said:

    I am about to purchase an HP Media Smart EX470 and I have a few questions as to whether can I do certain things or how do I go about doing certain things and I'm hoping I can find some help on this forum. All of these questions I believe have to do with Home Server software capability and that is why I ams asking these questions here.

    First of all I am buying this for home use. I have 4 laptops and 2 desktops that use my home network. The desktops run XP Pro and 3 of the laptops run Vista Home and 1 runs XP Home. The laptops are not always on the network. They will be taken to work or school and then when they are brought home they are wirelessly attached to the network. I use a DLink 655 router and a Trendnet cable modem . The laptops are either Toshibas or Acers.

    1. I want to be able to backup all 6 computers on to the EX470 in such a way that if I need to do a restore of any of them I can do a bare metal restore. So that would mean (I guess) that when they are attached to my home network, a backup would begin for that computer.

    Correct (as long as the client is not turned off).

    jmw45 said:

    2. I understand I can make part of the EX470 available for storage off the internet (remote access?). What I would like to do is be able to map a drive letter for the part of the EX470 that is available via the internet so that primarily Word documents can be saved on it and therefore be accessed by any of the other network users either while they are on the network at home or while they are on the internet at some other location. Is this possible (via a mapped drive letter) or do I have to setup something else in order to access files on the EX470?

    Not out of the box.  You can use the Remote Access website, but it has nothing to do with mapping drive letters.  If you really want to map a drive letter through the internet, you would need to use an add-in like Web Folders 4 WHS.

    jmw45 said:

    3. Can backups be done over the internet. For example if one of my laptops is at a remote site (my office) is there anyway to start a backup from there to the EX470?

    Again, not out of the box.  You would have to install something like Hamachi (which would mean you would need to logon to the server desktop to install it and logging into the server desktop for any reason is unsupported).  Not to mention it is not the simplest thing to set up....

    jmw45 said:

    4. At one time there was a software glitch in the Home Server software that caused problems either in  doing a good restore or something like that. Has that glitch been fixed? Are there any other "major" bugs in either the software or hardware?

    Not completely.  There are still a few users who are having problems with restoring backups (the most common is it locks up at 81%).  Apparently MS has sent a potential fix to at least some of those users who have reported that problem.  However, there is no official update on MS Update for it yet.

    jmw45 said:

    That is about it except for the fact that I was thinking about building my own Home Server but I think I have talked my self out of doing that. But I would appreciate any thoughts on this.



    Monday, December 29, 2008 4:14 AM
    Moderator
  • jmw45 said:

    You've certainly painted a much better picture of WHS than I have been getting from this forum. All of these restore bugs that I just read about (especially the 72% and 81% bugs) have really scared the bejesus out of me.  However, I haven't seen any alternative product out on the marketplace. Sure there are lots of NAS drives but it seems like the backup software they have doesn't have all of the features of WHS.

    I will say that I was impressed with the quick response on this site. The % restore problem thread started on Dec 19 and it seems like they have a bug fix already.  That's pretty fast.

    I may take your advice and build my own because I have a server box I never used and it's just setting there.  I built my own Asterisk system for my business and it has worked much better than expected (I did have to find the right "flavor" of Asterisk before I got what I needed), but it works great.  I did the same thing you did though, I had an old Dell system which I was not using and installed it on that.  Asterisk doesn't need any horsepower so I recycled an otherwise trashbox destined computer.

    Do you have any suggestions or recommendations concerning the hardware?
     

    Yes.  Get new hardware. :)  IMO, I would never trust any hardware that has never been used and "it's just setting there".  Keep in mind that you are, in theory, trusting your most valuable data (pics, personal documents, etc) to reside on your server.  Do you want to trust that data to hardware that is old (and maybe obsolete)?

    jmw45 said:

    Anything I need to stay away from or should be sure to use?
     

    Make sure all of your hardware has drivers for Windows Server 2003 (which is the underlying OS).

    jmw45 said:

    I am thinking about starting out with 2 1TB drives. Do I need a special drive controller or NIC?
     

    Nope.  Just make sure it supports 1 TB drives.  The one I bought didn't so I had to flash the firmware.

    jmw45 said:

    I understand WHS supports RAID.
     

    No, RAID is not supported on WHS.

    jmw45 said:

    If that is true, should I design my hardware for that?

    I will say I like the small form factor of the HP EX470, but I can't find a box that small. 

    Thanks for the info. I appreciate it.



    Monday, December 29, 2008 4:22 AM
    Moderator
  • Hi,
    besides all the stuff already mentioned, a restore will not work over an encrypted Wireless LAN.
    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    Monday, December 29, 2008 4:47 AM
    Moderator
  • I want to thank everyone for the quick response to my questions and the quality information you have given me. This is what a forum should be doing, and you guys are doing a great job.

    Of course all answers usually bring up more questions and these answers do cause me to need to ask a couple more questions.

    Updating WHS. If I build my own server and I install WHS on it, is the network setup basically the same as XP or Vista? I ask that because it sounds like I will need to download some updates from the internet immediately (before doing any backups or setting up WHS very much at all).  Also, I am thinking about using a separate drive for WHS (probably a 250GB which is already in the case) and then doing my backups on the 2 1TB drives. Is this a good plan or am I doing something that probably doesn't need to be done.

    I also take it that there is no backup for the backup. That is why I thought RAID was available. Is there a backup redundency solution available?

    Thanking all of you again for your help/
    Monday, December 29, 2008 4:06 PM
  • jmw45 said:

    I want to thank everyone for the quick response to my questions and the quality information you have given me. This is what a forum should be doing, and you guys are doing a great job.

    Of course all answers usually bring up more questions and these answers do cause me to need to ask a couple more questions.

    Updating WHS. If I build my own server and I install WHS on it, is the network setup basically the same as XP or Vista?
     

    Yes.

    jmw45 said:

    I ask that because it sounds like I will need to download some updates from the internet immediately (before doing any backups or setting up WHS very much at all).

    Yep.

    jmw45 said:

    Also, I am thinking about using a separate drive for WHS (probably a 250GB which is already in the case) and then doing my backups on the 2 1TB drives. Is this a good plan or am I doing something that probably doesn't need to be done.

    If, by "doing my backups on the 2 1 TB drives", you mean that is where you want the backup database to be stored, it doesn't work like that.  You must relinquish all control of all drives to the server.  You don't get to pick what files are stored where (unless you are referring to backing up the data stored in the network shares to an external drive).  Otherwise, WHS will put the data and backups wherever it wants to.

    jmw45 said:

    I also take it that there is no backup for the backup. That is why I thought RAID was available. Is there a backup redundency solution available?

    Thanking all of you again for your help/

    Yes.  The clients backup the backup database and vice versa. :)  There is also an add-in called WHS BDBB that allows you to backup your backup database to another location.

    Tuesday, December 30, 2008 4:43 AM
    Moderator
  • Thanks again. That was extremely useful information. As for "backing up the backup" I saw the announcement for the new EX480/485 machine and it has access to Amazon S3 Backup.  I take it this is for backing up the backup?

    I also discovered yesterday that Intel has a MoBo out with the Atom dual core chip. I bought an Acer Netbook that uses that chip and I cannot believe how cool and quiet it runs. I am thinking about buying that Mobo (Intel 945GC Mini ITX $70.00 including the Atom chip) and building my home server with it. Does anyone know if there is any reason that this should not work.  BTW, I found that MoBo at NewEgg but the specs said the LAN speed was only 10/100mbps but when I went to the Intel site it says it goes up to 1000mbps. So I am going to have to verify that.  If I do build it, I will keep everyone posted on here about what transpires.
    Tuesday, December 30, 2008 5:56 PM
  • jmw45 said:

    Thanks again. That was extremely useful information. As for "backing up the backup" I saw the announcement for the new EX480/485 machine and it has access to Amazon S3 Backup.  I take it this is for backing up the backup?

    This is just speculation on my part, but I highly doubt it.  It is most likely only for the network shares (just like Jungle Disk for WHS, which is also by Amazon).  However, you might be able to get the WHS BDBB add-in to work with it.

    jmw45 said:

    I also discovered yesterday that Intel has a MoBo out with the Atom dual core chip. I bought an Acer Netbook that uses that chip and I cannot believe how cool and quiet it runs. I am thinking about buying that Mobo (Intel 945GC Mini ITX $70.00 including the Atom chip) and building my home server with it. Does anyone know if there is any reason that this should not work.  BTW, I found that MoBo at NewEgg but the specs said the LAN speed was only 10/100mbps but when I went to the Intel site it says it goes up to 1000mbps. So I am going to have to verify that.  If I do build it, I will keep everyone posted on here about what transpires.



    Wednesday, December 31, 2008 4:47 AM
    Moderator
  • I agree with kariya here, if we consider the size of the average backup database and the bandwidth to upload from home, it seems to be impossible in most cases, to backup such files consistently to an online location.
    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf

    Wednesday, December 31, 2008 7:23 AM
    Moderator