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Best Media Server


Renny
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Listened live to todays podcast which got me thinking.

I note with interest that Microsoft has just release the RC for WHS 2011.

Given that WHS2011 no longer has Drive Extender I will be sticking with Version 1 for data and backup (via BdBB) redundancy, coupled with an Amazon S3 account because I am paranoid. This I have decided as I really don’t want to play around with RAID or cop the expense of doing so.

Apart from Backup, my primary use for WHS V1 is as a media server for a number of devices including other HTPCs, connected TVs, a Yamaha receiver an XBOX and soon a WD media renderer. I use Twonky for DLNA support, Any DVD for ripping to .iso and have My Movies installed on the server as well.

My network is all Cat6 and gigabit NICs and switches.

My WHS is cobbled together from old AMD and Asus parts but performs pretty well …….if a tad power hungry. I also have a Sans Digital, 4 drive DAS attached to the server for additional storage over ESATA.

The advent of WHS 2011 has got me thinking that I could re-task another PC as a pure media server using WHS 2011.

I have about 1TB of media files at the moment.

A few Questions if I may:

• Will WHS 2011 back up to WHS version 1?

• Is WHS 2011 a competent media server

o Any improvement over WHS V1 apart from DLNA support?

o Speed?

• Are there other NAS devices out there that are likely to out-perform WHS2011 purely from a media serving perspective?

• Is there anything I need to be wary of in this dual server approach?

I should add that I have not yet installed any Vail or RC 2011 OSs as I dont want to reinvent the wheel.

Thanks in anticipation

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If you are purely after a media delivery device, why does it have to be a server at all? For me, the value of using WHS V1 is that it pools all the drives together so you don't have to manage what drive you put your media on. Using vail, you would have to select the drive you want to rip it to. Given that, why not use W7. Given you would aways want it on, due to the media on it, you could also set it up to be the MC you link your xbox to and wouldn't have to leave a separate computer on.

 

Vail will be faster than V1 because it is 64 bit, however it will not increase your HDD speed, which is usually your limiting factor. So if you don't use V1 for it, then I would look at just using W7.

 

 

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WHS2011 also will not have demigrator.exe running in the background and interrupting streams. That's the biggest reason I hear from enthusiasts that will force them to WHS2011.

 

A media delivery device could be anything. Depending on how much data you have it could be a NAS box like the DS211+ I will be reviewing.

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For media streaming I can tell that it is a big improvement. As for upgradeable storage, that can also be done it will be just be done differently than DE used too. A bunch of new ways will out to support it such as self contained raid boxes (check by CES post). Personally I love it and it will not be long before I am not looking back. Just a few more concerns to work out...

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ITTOG, Dave and PCdoc

Thanks for getting back and my appologies for being slow to respond (I'm on the other side of the planet)

From what ITTOG and Dave said I could probably retask my spare PC which already has W7Pro 64bit on it as my media server.

At the moment I am just using it as a video editing setup and not very often so that could work.

I guess I will have to put My Movies Server on it too.

I take PCdoc's point that 2011 is a better streamer than V1, but am I right in assuming that W7 64 bit would be as responsive as WHS2011?

I would like to try 2011 just for the hell of it but dont want to break my video editing box to do it just yet.

VM is also out of the question as I appear to be running the only Intel quad core which does not support it (Q8200)

Anyone tried backing up WHS 2011 to V1?

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  • 2 weeks later...

ITTOG, Dave and PCdoc

Thanks for getting back and my appologies for being slow to respond (I'm on the other side of the planet)

From what ITTOG and Dave said I could probably retask my spare PC which already has W7Pro 64bit on it as my media server.

At the moment I am just using it as a video editing setup and not very often so that could work.

I guess I will have to put My Movies Server on it too.

I take PCdoc's point that 2011 is a better streamer than V1, but am I right in assuming that W7 64 bit would be as responsive as WHS2011?

I would like to try 2011 just for the hell of it but dont want to break my video editing box to do it just yet.

VM is also out of the question as I appear to be running the only Intel quad core which does not support it (Q8200)

Anyone tried backing up WHS 2011 to V1?

 

Yes, For the heck of it I am backing up WHS2011 to my V1. It does not register as a backup through WHS2011, however. I simply installed the V1 console as if it were a standard PC and backed it up like any other PC. I have not done a restore yet.

 

Win7 will of course have the advantage of WMC, but only your Xbox (assuming it is a 360) would even use/need that. Since you're already using Twonky, I assume you don't want or need WMC. If you are willing to do some minor codec install, WHS2011 can stream most Mpeg4 derivative files whether in MKV, AVI or MP4 containers. It also does this over the Internet using Silverlight, a nice addition.

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Thanks for the reply Timekills.

OTI streaming is not that important to me, mainly because our network infrastructure here in Australia is so poor

streaming can be a hit and miss affair.

The more I think about this the more I think that I would be hard pressed to do better than my current setup.

Twonky works for DNLA support. I use my desktop W7 PC as the media server for the Xbox and a couple of Samsung TVs (even though the physical media is on the WHS)

Codecs, for once, are not an issue for me, although all the consumer devices have playback limitations of one kind or another.

But between the Xbox and connected HTPCs I can play anything without any drama. I have never encountered the Disk Demigrator activity causing playback problems so I guess my WHS is beefy enough to cope.

I dont have any Mpeg4 type files on the server so must track some down and do a test to see if they work.

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Thanks for the reply Timekills.

OTI streaming is not that important to me, mainly because our network infrastructure here in Australia is so poor

streaming can be a hit and miss affair.

The more I think about this the more I think that I would be hard pressed to do better than my current setup.

Twonky works for DNLA support. I use my desktop W7 PC as the media server for the Xbox and a couple of Samsung TVs (even though the physical media is on the WHS)

Codecs, for once, are not an issue for me, although all the consumer devices have playback limitations of one kind or another.

But between the Xbox and connected HTPCs I can play anything without any drama. I have never encountered the Disk Demigrator activity causing playback problems so I guess my WHS is beefy enough to cope.

I dont have any Mpeg4 type files on the server so must track some down and do a test to see if they work.

 

I have tested several file formats and currently have setteled on MP4 for my recorded TV as a good "all round" HD / SD format. It streams nicely to my Win 7 64 HTPC (running XBMC), Win 7 and Vista, laptops, Western Digital Live, iPad (hooray!), Asrock (Atom / Ion). All this via various Cat 6, Homeplug, and Wi-Fi (g). (The HD struggles over the Wi-Fi, so we only use this on the HTPC which is on the Cat6).

 

For DVD / Bluray rips I use folder format to keep them "original" in terms of quality. (I only play the Bluray rips on the HTPC with XBMC due to the automatic 24p frame synchronisation)

 

This is all served from a WHS V1 running on a Dual Core Atom with WD Green Drives. Demigrator dosent appear to have any noticeable effect except at midnight on Saturdays, if watching 1080p (Bluray).

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