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Fix or Build?


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Just trying to figure out my next step...

 

My Mediasmart EX490 bit it the other day. Although the discussions I have had lead me to believe it is the PSU, It lead me to start thinking about my options. Fix and upgrade the 490... buy a used 495 (second server can be kept for spare parts)... build my own...

 

I really like the EX490, but there are some 495's out there for not too much more than what it would cost to repair. I have also thought about building my own... it's the most expensive option but would be much more future proof.

 

If I built my own, I could put WHS 2011, which is at least supported by MS. The problem with this is that I don't know what else I'd lose out of the HP package other than DE (I can get Drive Pool though). Can anyone point me to a list of what HP's WHS v1 has that I would have to find an alternative to if I switched to WHS 2011? I've looked on the net but I'm either having no luck or I'm not asking it correctly.

 

I have also read some on running Windows 8 Pro as a server. It is by far the most current OS option, but I was wondering if anyone out there has used it and can comment on how good a job it does.

 

Finally... hardware. In for a penny, in for a pound - but I don't want to break the bank either. Any suggestions on hardware would be fantastic. I'd still like to keep the box as small as I can but I'd also still like at least 4 - if not 6 - SATA HDD connections. Here is what I've been considering:

 

Small form factor case - suggestions welcome

Intel i5, ivy Bridge processor... 2500K? Faster if price diff is negligible.
Ram - 8GB DDR3-1333
Motherboard - Ivy Bridge - ASUS P8H77-I Deluxe Mini ITX

HDD's I have

OS - Windows Home Server 2011 or Windows 8 Pro

 

Thanks and Cheers,

Grant

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diehard

Since you have a MediaSmart Server, you would have to consider a replacement for the HP Media Collector and HP Video Converter if you use these products.

 

I enjoy using the WHSv1 builtin option to backup the shares incrementally, again are you using this function ?

 

HP's WHS could backup Mac computers with OS 10.4 but not higher. Do you need this ?

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Joe_Miner

Just trying to figure out my next step...

 

My Mediasmart EX490 bit it the other day. Although the discussions I have had lead me to believe it is the PSU, It lead me to start thinking about my options. Fix and upgrade the 490... buy a used 495 (second server can be kept for spare parts)... build my own...

 

I really like the EX490, but there are some 495's out there for not too much more than what it would cost to repair. I have also thought about building my own... it's the most expensive option but would be much more future proof.

 

If I built my own, I could put WHS 2011, which is at least supported by MS. The problem with this is that I don't know what else I'd lose out of the HP package other than DE (I can get Drive Pool though). Can anyone point me to a list of what HP's WHS v1 has that I would have to find an alternative to if I switched to WHS 2011? I've looked on the net but I'm either having no luck or I'm not asking it correctly.

 

I have also read some on running Windows 8 Pro as a server. It is by far the most current OS option, but I was wondering if anyone out there has used it and can comment on how good a job it does.

 

Finally... hardware. In for a penny, in for a pound - but I don't want to break the bank either. Any suggestions on hardware would be fantastic. I'd still like to keep the box as small as I can but I'd also still like at least 4 - if not 6 - SATA HDD connections. Here is what I've been considering:

 

Small form factor case - suggestions welcome

Intel i5, ivy Bridge processor... 2500K? Faster if price diff is negligible.

Ram - 8GB DDR3-1333

Motherboard - Ivy Bridge - ASUS P8H77-I Deluxe Mini ITX

HDD's I have

OS - Windows Home Server 2011 or Windows 8 Pro

 

Thanks and Cheers,

Grant

 

 

Hi Grant!  Welcome back to the Forums!

 

If you do want to replace your PSU I've done it before and it's not too bad :)check out this write-up of my experience 

 

To learn more what WHS-2011 can do for you check out these resources by MS

 

Here's several Threads on buying or building -- A LOT depends on what you want to do with your Server 

 

N54L vs another Off-the-shelf vs Custom Build

Another New 2012E build... several getting started questions

 

And if you want to check out the MicroServer here are a couple of links to data to get you started

MicroServer Links & Reference

MicroServer Hardware Links

 

I'm sure other's will have additional info and encouragement

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Diehard, Joe_Miner,

 

Thanks for the replies.

 

I had originally wanted to purchase a EX495, but ended up purchasing the 490 instead. It's been a good unit - did everything I wanted it to do. Quite frankly, I wouldn't be discussing this with you if it were still operational... I would probably be trying to source out a compatible 4GB stick of Ram (Still might) and a faster processor. Once I'm up and running again, I'll definitely look at replacing the power supply on the 490 and perhaps keeping it as a backup or selling it.

 

I have the opportunity to purchase a 495 for a decent price, but to cover my bases, I am also looking at a custom build as well.

 

Currently, I am using my for file storage and access as well as streaming to a PS3 and a WD TV live box. I usually do ripping and encoding on my PC - just because it is faster. I don't back up my PC's to the server... I copy the files I want to keep on the server and back that up (and yes - I do like that incremental backup feature on the mediasmart). I have my whole music collection on it but I've never played with the ITunes on it.

 

Heck, I might have just talked myself into buying the 495 for the interim and building another :) I want to make you move in a couple of days but I'm concerned with how many hoops I'd need to jump through to use WHS 2011 or Win 8 Pro.

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If you use WHS2011, or continue with WHSv1 for that matter, I recommend you consider making use of their excellent client computer backup facility; not to back up your data files; to back up the System Drive on each of your client computers. You didn't say how many client computers you have in your house, but being able to restore one in 15 to 30 min sure beats doing fresh installs whenever a system gets messed up. A fresh install from scratch can take an entire day, or even more.

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My only concern with backing up an entire client is that the problem (virus, other) existed prior to the problem and was backed up with all the rest.

 

Currently I have 4 client laptops and a desktop that I use as a test bed.

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How 'bout this as a starting point: you install a system from scratch, do all the updates, and install all your basic apps. Now, you back it up using WHS. If, at some point in the future, that system gets malwared, or just starts suffering from bitrot, you can restore it to the state it was when you made that initial backup. You can do this almost certainly in less than an hour; most often in less than 30 min.; sometimes in less than 15 min. Now, compare that to reinstalling from scratch again.

 

Remember, WHS client backups are incremental, so you can restore back to any date you like.

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That sounds pretty good actually. I was thinking of doing just that to 2 of my systems...

 

The more I have thought about it, the more I think I will pick up that EX495 that I was looking at. I will use it while I figure you my next step as far as building and configuring a "new" server. WHS v1 has always served me well in the past and I can also pay with my "dead" 490 (new PSU, upgrade CPU/ram). Once I have a home built serve up and running, I can always sell one or both of them.

 

Thanks for all the info - it's been really helpful. If I can ask a few more questions...

 

When the 495 arrives, would it be possible to put the HDD's from the dead server into it and boot up with everything operational (like if I replaced the PSU on the 490 and booted it up)? Or would that not work or be discouraged? I have stuff that was on the server that I had not backed up yet and I am dreading trying to find it all and take it off the drives.

 

Do you know of anywhere I can get a couple of 4GB ram sticks that are compatible with the 490 and 495 without spending a fortune??

 

Thanks,

Grant

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diehard

Since  each server has a different CPU, it's best to put all the drives into the new 495 and then do a "Server Recovery", not a "Factory Reset" to reinstall the OS.

 

By doing this, you will have to uninstall the connector software on all PC. Recreate the Users, and install all the Windows Updates. If you have the HP v 3.0 disk, they will have a lot of the Windows Updates and Power Pack 2. You need to get PP3 and the rest.

 

If you really want to protect the PC backups, then install BDBB addin before the transfer and backup the database.

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diehard

How 'bout this as a starting point: you install a system from scratch, do all the updates, and install all your basic apps. Now, you back it up using WHS. If, at some point in the future, that system gets malwared, or just starts suffering from bitrot, you can restore it to the state it was when you made that initial backup. You can do this almost certainly in less than an hour; most often in less than 30 min.; sometimes in less than 15 min. Now, compare that to reinstalling from scratch again.

 

Remember, WHS client backups are incremental, so you can restore back to any date you like.

This is a good idea, I do this because I have a lot of extra software on my server. However it's not possible to use WHS to backup the OS of WHSv1, I use Acronis True Image Echo Server Backup.

 

The other tricky thing is that you can NOT run the connector software. Because that's the point when WHS links to the hard drive models and disk ID's. So if you do a reinstall in the future, you must have ALL the same drives including the OS drive. If you don't run the connector than any drive can be different including the OS drive. You have to remote into the server to do the Windows Updates since you shouldn't install the connector.

 

The other point to note is that the new server has to have the same hardware including the CPU. If you doing this on a HP MediaSmart then note that the HP driver for the case lights is different on each generation not model  and they will fail to work on a different generation, so from a EX490 to EX495, that's ok. The issue becomes the different CPU.

 

So the best way to use this method is if your restoring to the same server hardware but different or same hard drives.

 

Then the next big thing is " How do you start the Restore on a headless server ?" If my server can still run, then I can start acronis and point to the restore image. It will reboot and do it's thing.

 

If the OS drive is toast, then I do have a VGA cable and can boot Acronis from a USB CD drive and point to the recovery image on a USB thumb drive.

 

Phew.

 

PS, Oh, there is an other method of doing this other than using Acronis. Setup is harder but restoring is as easy as the default way.

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