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Setting it all up!


Michaelinho
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Ahoy Microserver'ers!

 

My name is Michael and today, after what felt like an eternity of waiting I have finally ordered a HP Microserver (N40L)

I am usually great at following steps or videos, just not when I don't know anything about what they are saying! :P

 

In the world of Computers I can play at Medium difficulty, I understand quite a bit but there is still I lot I need to learn, so I would be honoured to be your student!

 

Okay, the following are what I want to do with the Microserver - If it's possible!

  • Be a central storage unit where I can store all of my files using all the devices around the house (Windows PCs, Laptops, Android Phones)
  • Stream/Transcode to players like the PS3, Xbox and my Panasonic Bluray player - which can play MKV's
  • Allow me to access/upload files even when I am away from home.
  • Allow me to control it using my laptop/computer as I won't be able to attach a monitor to it.

 

Things I am not sure about are as follows

  • I don't know if I need RAID as I don't know much about it, I will store a lot of family pictures and videos - what are the chances of me losing them?
  • What OS do I need?
  • What kind of speeds can I expect?
  • How will I stream videos, music and photos to media players?

 

Things I think I need to buy

  • A 16/32GB Flash Drive to install the OS
  • A Gigabit Switch
  • Extra Hard Drives - I have 2 (1TB and 2TB) Apparently the Microserver can take 3TB's too, that would be great
  • An OS

 

I know this is a long thread as this is the first ever time I am buying something like this but your help would be greatly, greatly appreciated! I am used to using PS3 Media Server on my laptop to stream to my PS3 so this is a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge step forward!

 

I look forward to begin my training to be a Home Server Master!

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Welcome Michaelinho! You've got a great machine in the N40L.

 

IMHO, a good place to start http://homeservershow.com/forums/index.php?/topic/3506-more-interesting-microserver-links/ and go through all the various links to learn more what you can do with the MicroServer from the MANY ways people have set theirs up.

 

It sounds like the OS you should be looking at is WHS 2011 which is what a number of people here are running on their MicroServer's. There have been sales on WHS 2011 so it should be possible to get it fairly cheaply. WHS 2011 is basically a consumer version of Server 2008R2 Foundation. So it comes from a very good family that runs well on the MicroServer. I did a write-up on how I initially set up my MicroServer -- I even installed Server 2008R2 Enterprise onto it just to see if I could. It was a silly experiment in a way but I thought it proved just how versatile these machines are. Since then I've experimented with other OS's.

 

I don't use a flash drive to install my OS -- instead I use an external USB DVD drive --- so an expensive flash drive isn't a necessary item -- just depends on what you want to do. Check through the threads in the MicroServer Forum and the WHS 2011 Forum -- I'd suggest starting at the back and work forward.

 

Don't be shy about asking questions -- the people here are very knowledgable and most importantly IMHO they are very agreable to work with and talk to -- I think we're all here to learn and have fun with technology and enjoy helping others.

 

Have a great day!

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Things I am not sure about are as follows

  • I don't know if I need RAID as I don't know much about it, I will store a lot of family pictures and videos - what are the chances of me losing them?

 

The chances of losing them a fairly good if you don't have a good backup strategy in place. RAID, of any kind, is NOT a backup - it is a form of redundancy. The 2 are different things. Don't get me wrong; RAID is great; it's just not a form of backup.

 

Your strategy should include offsite backup. This can take different forms: online backup to a service, internet backup to a friend's or relative's server, backup to physical drives that are then taken to another location for safekeeping, etc.

 

I have at least 4 copies of everything and I have 2 sets of physical backup drives that I rotate to another location.

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Thank you so much for the help Joe and ikon, I will be needing all the help I can get :D

 

Hmm, so does the device boot from disc every time then Joe? I don't know much yet but I know that if I can install the OS on an external device I would be able to use the 4 bays just for hard drives and that would simply be the best! :D

 

Okay, so does having your hard drives in a NAS increase the chances of losing data then? I currently back up my pictures and documents to CD's as they are the most important.

 

I am really happy that I found this site! Thanks guys!

 

BTW, how do I edit the main post?

Edited by Michaelinho
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-snip-

Hmm, so does the device boot from disc every time then Joe? I don't know much yet but I know that if I can install the OS on an external device I would be able to use the 4 bays just for hard drives and that would simply be the best! :D

-snip-

 

I'm running my OS off of an SSD I mounted below the Optical Disk Drive ("ODD") bay resting on top of the frame for the main 4 HD drive assembly. You can also install a HD in the ODD for an additional data drive or use it as your OS drive. There's an interesting discussion at http://homeservershow.com/forums/index.php?/topic/3774-how-many-hdds-is-possible-with-the-hp-microserver-9/ on how many drives can be installed in a MicroServer.

 

MicroServer061.jpg

 

MicroServer058.jpg

 

MicroServer060.jpg

 

MicroServer062.jpg

 

Below show's a drive in the ODD bay (with the SSD mounted below it)

nMicroServer034.jpg

 

nMicroServer032.jpg

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Okay, so does having your hard drives in a NAS increase the chances of losing data then? I currently back up my pictures and documents to CD's as they are the most important.

 

I wouldn't say it increases the chances. A RAID 5 can help make the drive sub-system more resiliant by allowing for the failure and replacement of a single drive. As I said earlier, it doesn't replace a backup.

 

Speaking of which, you might want to be careful about using CD's as a backup medium. They are known to fade and become unreadable after a number of years. If you're regularly backing them up to new CD's then you should be OK but, if you've got CD's that are several years old and that have data you don't have anywhere else, you might want to verify that they're still readable and think about copying them to new CD's.

 

I follow the doctrine that data should be at least 3 copies of all important data and they should reside in at least 2 different locations.

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I ordered my Microserver a couple of days ago for a total of £257 but £150 after all cashback, was supposed to have it today but due to stock issues I will be getting it a bit later on :(

 

Thanks for the pictures, I can't wait to get mine!

 

Hmm okay, I back up files I know I won't need for a while on discs, I update them about once every 3 months or so, depending on its importance, files like pictures and documents are all stored on my Dropbox, which I absolutely love!

 

So now that I have purchased the Microserver itself what else would I need? Sorry for the amount of questions LOL, I just wanna get this right! :D

  • I think my laptop doesn't support Gigabit Ethernet, if so would it be good to buy a switch? (Is there a proper way to check?)
  • If I want a drive in the ODD bay would I need extra cables? (Is this hard?)
  • As an alternative to using the ODD bay is it possible to install on a 32GB Flash Drive/ USB (I checked online and it says it requires 160GB, is this easy to do?) - I haven't purchased the OS yet.
  • What OS do I need if I want to use the Microserver for storage, streaming, transcoding and a range of other features?
  • Do I need more than 2GB of RAM for the above purposes?

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Dropbox is a decent form of offsite backup.

 

If you 'refresh' your CD backups every 3 months or so I can't see you having any issues with them, at least not from age. I would question the wisdom of doing the backups to CDs since it seems it would be more expensive, and take longer, than simply having a USB hard drive around for backups.

 

I don't understand the question about the laptop & switch. Why would the port speed of the laptop be important to what switch you get, unless you were thinking of getting a 100Mb switch instead of gigabit. I would advise getting a gigabit switch anyway. You will be replacing that laptop one of these days and the new one will undoubtedly have gigabit. It's a bit of future-proofing.

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Hey guys,

 

I got my Microserver this morning but I have decided to install the OS on the 250GB for the time being, I have one question before I begin installing though, if I was to install Windows Home Server 2011, (Going to buy a copy from PCWorld) can I install a Hard Drive at any time, even when it is on?

 

How does that work?

 

And what brand memory should I buy?

 

:D

Edited by Michaelinho
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