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HP MEDIASMART HOME SERVER CONFERENCE RRS feed

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    This evening I attended a Microsoft/HP conference regarding the new Mediasmart Home Server which is based upon the WHS operating system.  I was able to save the Q & A which may be informative to some of you who are considering purchasing a boxed system.  I was impressed with the presentation, and more are scheduled through the WHS/Microsoft website. 

     

    HP MediaSmart Server - FIRST LOOK: Learn how to access, share and organize your digital life

     

    Q&A:

     

    Question: Does the HP MediaSmart Server have a power save mode or sleep type mode when I'm not using it? Is it quieter than a standard computer?

    Answer: The MediaSmart Server was designed to be as quiet and power efficient as possible. Example: The processor we chose was a special 35W processor. This low power design helps keep noise levels down too. Since the server can be accessed by any network device at any time (locally or remotely) there is no "stand-by" mode.

    Question: If one is using the Hp Mediasmart Home Server (EX470) is it better to replace the first 500GB drive with a larger one if subsequent drives will be larger than 500GB? And 2nd question - will a Semperon processor be adequate to handle multiple clients streaming HD content?

    Answer: The bottom drive has the WHS OS on it and shouldn't be swapped out. All three other drives can be swapped out with larger drives as needed; however, you should be sure to use the "remove drive" feature in the server so you don't lose any data. 2nd Question Answer: Yes. We've had up to 6 HD concurrent streams in the lab.

    Question: Does the HP MediaSmart Server run continuously or is it booted along with a pc?

    Answer: It runs continuously so that any network connected device can access th data (remotely or locally).

    Question: Does the HP Media Smart Server have a Wake-on-Lan NIC?

    Answer: The HP MediaSmart Server does not come natively with a wake on LAN functionality. However, one of the great things about using Windows Home Server OS is that Microsoft released the software developers kit. There have been several software developers that have created wake on LAN add-ins that can be installed

    Question: will there be a dns service available to establish remote connectivity , or will the end user be responsible for finding one on their own

    Answer: The DNS is managed through HP"s partner TZO. Setting up the remote access with the HP MediaSmart Server is an easy wizard process. You get the opportunity to create your own personalized URL through TZO, which is free for the first year. TZO handles the DNS

    Question: Why don't you supply a DVD drive with the HP home server?

    Answer: The Home Server was really designed to be a headless device where all interaction with the Server is accessed via other PC's or networked devices. You really only have to interact physically with the server to add storage or troubleshoot issues. Our philosophy is to keep the optical storage interaction on the PC (client) side.

    Question: since there is no domain structure, how do you manage permissions? Are those permissions the same security layer used for remote access of files?

    Answer: The security permission are managed by the "administrator" in the home. It is a simple process of clicking on the properties for the defines user and then clicking a dialog box to select which file folders the can acess fully (read and write), read only or no access. This security level is maintained through the remote access too

    Question: What happens when one of multiple disks fail? Is the data lost, or are USB drives need to back it up?

    Answer: The Windows Home Server OS has a great feature called "folder duplication" when this is selected, the file folder is copied or mirrored to two different HDDs in the server. Should one HDD fail, the data still resides on the second HDD

    Question: Can you work around Internet providers that block ports used for remote access?

    Answer: Some ISP's block port 80 which is the most commonly used port for hosting a website. We've designed the defaults to use a port 443 which is the secure https port. Fewere ISP's block port 443. In most cases where ports are blocked, users can upgrade their service to unblock those ports.

    Question: How do I view the demo full screen?

    Answer: Please press F5 to enter full screen mode. Press F5 again to get back to standard view.

    Question: Is there any max to the size of the storage devices? Can it accomodate several TBs?

    Answer: There is no limit on the size of storage devices. You are really only limited by the number of drives and the size of those drives. With 4 internal drives, 4 USB drives, and an eSATA drive you could have 9TB's (with drive sizes of today).

    Question: When will the MediaSmart Server ship?

    Answer: Pre-orders started on the past Sunday, and shipments will begin early next week. The first customers who've placed pre-orders should get thier systems well before Thanksgiving.

    Question: With the HP MediaSmart Server, all the DNS info is talked about in terms of TZO. Does that mean that I can no longer use my https://<<myname>>.homeserver.com from the WHS Beta? Also, along those lines, is there anything effectivly removed or limited from the base Windows Home Server OS? Lastly, can you please elaborate on the PhotoShare and the HP "add-ins"?

    Answer: You can indeed still use the existing URL you received through the WHS beta. Please take a look in the WHS fourms off the Microsoft site. HP has not removed any functionality from the base WHS from Microsoft. The HP Photo Webshare allows you to create and share photo albums from the HP MediaSmart Server. The friend or family that you invite to see the photo album receives an email with a secure 128 bit, https link to the server to visit the photo ablum. The other addition is a iTUNES server.

    Question: Will the PPT slides be available for download?

    Answer: You can print a PDF copy once the presenter switches to the slides. There is an icon of a printer in the lower right hand corner. Click that to Print to PDF.

    Question: What does HP's MediaSmart server offer over other vendors Windows Home Servers?

    Answer: The HP MediaSmart Server provides several advantages. The first is the HP MediaSmart Server Control Center. This is a small applet the provide easy access to many features, such as direct links to the file folders, HP Photo Webshare, iTunes server, ability to backup and more. In addition, the HP MediaSmart Server has the HP Photo Webshare that Allen is demonstration right now. We have also included an iTunes server. In addition, the HP MediaSmart Server was designed from the bottom up as a home server. It is very small, about the size of a small book case speaker, the ability to add additiona HDDs is super easy from a door on the front of the device.

    Question: What is the hard drive size limit that this unit can recognize? Can one start off with 4 1 Terabyte drives in the chasis?

    Answer: The ability of the HP MediaSmart Server for capacity is based solely upon the size of HDDs attached. Today, with 1 TB HDDs available, you could grow this to 9TB with four HDD bays, four USB ports and 1 eSATA port

    Question: I have multiple HD TV's, Xbox 360's and I am looking at some media extenders. I have already collected 20 HD DVD's. I hate to have to go find the DVD and load it into the XBOX when I want to watch it. Can I transfer the DVD's to the Media Server if I buy enough disk space so they are always online?

    Answer: We know people are doing this today, but currently there is no legal way to copy your DVD's to a PC or to a Home Server.

    Question: How does the HP MediaSmart Server change the third party developer story? Does it add any features that programmers can take advantage of that a home or competitor built Home Server does not have?

    Answer: Any third party software written for WHS platform will work just fine on the HP MediaSmart Server. Currently there aren't any additional "hooks" or SDK's available for the HP MediaSmart Server.

    Question: What are the average speeds across long distances? USA to Europe?

    Answer: This is a very difficult question to answer since there are so many factors that can affect performance. The factors include the speed of broadband to the home, the number of hops to europe, the amount of othe traffic, etc. I can tell you that until last month I lived in France. I was able to access a HP MediaSmart Server in the States without any speed issues.

    Question: can you add captions to each photo

    Answer: Yes, you can add captions to every photo.

    Question: Suggested the HP Media Smart Server is switched off, can itself be woken up over Wake-On-LAN - so does it's NIC support WOL? (I'm aware of the WOL add-ins)

    Answer: No, the HP MediaSmart Server cannot be waked on LAN. It is designed to run 24x7, so this should not be an issue.

    Question: If I use an Ultimate PC to record a TV show, let's say in the living room, 1) can it be configured to record that show straight to the HS box, and 2) will the program details be populated in the "recorded tv" area of all the other Ultimate boxes so that no matter where I record it, i can watch it any-where?

    Answer: Answer 1) Within Media Center you cannot record directly to a remote or networked storage location (like the HP MediaSmart Server); however, there are some neat power-toys or WHS add-ins out there (not included with HP MSS) that offload the recorded content to the HP MediaSmart Server. Answer 2) Depends on which add-in, but this is very possible (recorded content moved to HP MSS but listing unchanged).

    Question: It appears you can't just share the backed-up files from your computer, or access the files ON your computer. Why do you have to duplicate the data to the server, and why can't you just share files on your computer?

    Answer: You do not have to duplicate the data to the server through backup. Many users may not choose to have 100% of their data on the server or perhaps may use the home server to backup a work laptop. The design is to meet many people's needs and use models.

    Question: In terms of security I know that WHS can monitor other Vista PC's but how secure is the server itself? From virus' or malware?

    Answer: Several 3rd party Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware applications are currently under development through Microsoft's ISV program, and should be available on the market very soon.

    Question: To Follow on, So backup / redundancy is basically Raid 0. So if you want online backup, you need to double you storage requirements?

    Answer: The backup is not RAID 0. The backup process does not duplicate existing files. For example, if the same file exists on two different computers, it will back up one and then have a pointer to the second version. If there exists a difference between the two photos, for example one has red eye removed, that particular bits will be backed up, not the entire file. It is very efficient with the storage space. If you desire to have an offsite backup to be safe against a site disaster, yes a online backup can be beneficial.

    Question: So are you saying you can share files from your computer even if they're not on the MediaSmart? In your demo it looked like you could only share files you had actually copied to the server, not the ones on your desktop.

    Answer: If a computer on the network is running a Windows OS that supports Remote Desktop, such as XP Pro, Vista Business, Vista Ultimate, or Media Center 2004 or higher, you can remotely access the computers through the HP MediaSmart Server.

    Question: does the server come with multiple hard drives? If its the 1TB version, is it two HDDs?

    Answer: Yes, the HP MediaSmart Server model EX475 is a 1 TB solution that has 2 500GB HDDs.

    Question: can a laptop be connected wireless to the server?

    Answer: Yes, a laptop or desktop that is using wireless to connect to the home network can easily access the HP MediaSmart Server. The server is connected to the router through an ethernet cable and talks to all the computers on the network through that router -wireless too!

    Question: Since there is no DVD drive is there is a complete failure of the OS how can it be restored?

    Answer: The HP MediaSmart Server comes with a server restore disc. You simply put this into a computer that is attached to the router with an ethernet and it will restore the server. It is really easy!

    Question: If I have more than two hard drives, can I make more than one copy with the duplication feature?

    Answer: If a HDD is removed from the server, the data will be removed through the removal process.

    Question: what is the max storage capability of unit

    Answer: The maximum capacity of the HP MediaSmart Server is based solely upon connections. There are 4 HDD bays, 4 USB ports and 1 eSATA port. Today there are 1TB HDDs, this means that the maximum today is 9TB.

    Question: please explain more about the backup of different computers running vista and xp - that only one version of each is stored - how is this possible please

    Answer: In the example you illustrate, the HP MediaSmart Server would back up fully each OS fully since there is little existing commonalities. In the case of two computers running Vista Premium, for example, it would back up the first computer fully, then only the differences on the second computer.

    Question: if all four internal drive bays are filled would it be possible to swap one of the drives out with a larger drive without having to purchase an external hard drive?

    Answer: Yes, if there was enough space available on the other three HDDs to off-load the 4th HDD. Proir to removal, the WHS analyses the content and lets you know if it can perform the function.

     

    Friday, November 9, 2007 1:13 AM

All replies

  • I joined yesterday as I have the plans to purchase the HP MediaSmart within the near future (Still might grab one of my older systems and try the trial on that first). One of my main concerns was the access of the home server from a remote location. A feature described that I would find extremely helpful is if I am on a business trip in the states, I can remote into my server and retreive files.

    However I use Telus Enhanced Internet at home and they block ports:
    • TCP 21 (ftp)
    • TCP 25 (smtp)
    • TCP 80 (www)
    • TCP 110 (pop3)
    • TCP 6667 (ircd)
    • TCP/UDP 135-139 (dcom and netbios)
    • TCP/UDP 443 (ssl)
    • TCP/UDP 445 (ms-ds)
    • TCP/UDP 1433-1434 (ms-sql)
    In the conference this question was asked:

    Question: Can you work around Internet providers that block ports used for remote access?

    Answer: Some ISP's block port 80 which is the most commonly used port for hosting a website. We've designed the defaults to use a port 443 which is the secure https port. Fewere ISP's block port 443. In most cases where ports are blocked, users can upgrade their service to unblock those ports.


    How does the remote connect feature work and is there a way to change the port so the server can be accessed remotely?
    Friday, November 9, 2007 5:36 PM
  • The Remote Access web site uses 80 and 443 for the web site, and 4125 for the Remote Desktop proxy and the web console. So if your ISP blocks 80 and 443, you will either have to upgrade your service or change the ports on WHS. The ports can be changed, but if you do so it may interfere with installing the connector on additional client PCs, as the connector install uses those ports for some things.
    Friday, November 9, 2007 6:45 PM
    Moderator
  • Question: If one is using the Hp Mediasmart Home Server (EX470) is it better to replace the first 500GB drive with a larger one if subsequent drives will be larger than 500GB? And 2nd question - will a Semperon processor be adequate to handle multiple clients streaming HD content?

    Answer: The bottom drive has the WHS OS on it and shouldn't be swapped out. All three other drives can be swapped out with larger drives as needed; however, you should be sure to use the "remove drive" feature in the server so you don't lose any data. 2nd Question Answer: Yes. We've had up to 6 HD concurrent streams in the lab.

     

    These were two of my stupid questions at that conference.  So they've had "up to 6 HD concurrent streams in the lab."  Again the question is what additional HD to use for the other bays which will not file all this up.  Any feedback?

     

    Wednesday, November 14, 2007 12:37 AM
  • Do we know of an estimated release date for this in Canada? It is only listed on HP.ca as "Coming Soon!"
    Thursday, November 15, 2007 5:04 AM