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Best OS for HP Microserver N54L NAS?


pandemonium
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Hello again!

 

I've been away for a while and have come back home to a NAS which is annoying the crap out of my family. So, here's the current setup:

 

HP Microserver N54L

16Gb RAM

5 x 1Tb HDD drives

HP dual gigabit port upgrade (total 3 gigabit ports - but using only default network port)

FreeNAS 9.2.1.7

 

I'm currently in the process of copying all my data off the NAS. The NAS was initially extremely reliable and quick. However, it seems that in the past 3-6 months, its steadily gone from fast >> bearable >> slow >> unbearably slow! Also, the number of permission related problems on files/folder on the NAS has gone up from none >> few >> many >> ridiculously too many!

 

I am thinking of starting from scratch and setting the NAS up all over again. I'm trying to figure out my options... and need some help please. I know I'll have to reformat all my drives once I move my data off. After that, I can either...

  • Re-install FreeNAS
  • Install Windows Home Server 2011 (or 2012?) - But, MS have stopped supporting WHS... is Win 7 an option? What about Win 8?
  • Do I have any other options?

The primary usage of the server would be as a... and anything else I can get it to do !!

  • NAS Server
  • DLNA Server

Given that we are now going to start from scratch again, I'd like to have the ability to access the server using a bluetooth mouse & keyboard.

 

Please advise. All help much appreciated.

Edited by pandemonium
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Cheers Ikon. Perhaps my dilemma really is - What OS should I install to get the best out of the server?

 

I recall somewhat that to make the best use of WHS as a NAS one needed to install a raid card... or was that some other OS...?

 

Is it possible to install Win 8 (or W8.1 even) and is it as good as (and hopefully easier than) WHS2012E ?

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Check the links pages for the MicroServer -- I've run Win 7 64b Pro as well as Win 8.1 update Pro 64b on the N40L/N54L without problem (for Win 8.1 as well as S2012R2 & S2012R2E You WILL need to load the most current BIOS -- again check the links pages for the MicroServer)  -- Win 8.1 update is light years easier than S2012R2E and many times cheaper than either S2012R2 or S2012R2E.  The big advantage, for me, of Win 8.1 Update Pro 64b over Win 7 64b Pro is Win 8.1 Pro has Hyper-V enabling you to experiment with/run VM's -- the big disadvantage is if you want to be able to read/play DVD's off of Win 8.1 (or S2012R2 & S2012R2E for that matter) you will need additional software, I use PowerDVD 13 & 14 on my 8.1's.

 

A RAID card isn't necessary -- you can use StableBit DrivePool and I would suggest consider pairing that with StableBit Scanner.  LOTS of info about those in the Links threads and Forums (& Blog) so I don't need to get into that here.  There are HSS Blog posts showing the NAS performance indexes using Stablebit DrivePool but the bottom line is the network is your limiting factor not HDD access with DrivePool.

 

I've used wireless keyboards and mice with my N40L's and N54L with no problem.

Edited by Joe_Miner
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I agree, you certainly don't need a RAID card. You can use one if your want, but even WHS2011 itself will span drives together to make large volumes. I agree with Joe_Miner though, it's even better to use something like DrivePool. Bottom line: WHS2011 makes a fine NAS.

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Cheers guys! Some juicy chunks of information here! It looks like Windows should be my route... will need to ensure I've got the latest bios, of course (thanks Joe_Miner). Will also use DrivePool with StableBit (not explored these yet).

 

Don't really care about DVD playback... Will usually be listening to music or watching divx/avi/mov files.

 

So, narrowing down... W8.1 or WHS2011 or WHS2012E?

 

Please consider:

1) Ease of installation

2) Ease of setup

3) Reliability

 

Also, a related question - I intend to get myself a 256Gb USB Flash drive... will the N54L's internal USB recognise this (I see no reason why not, but hey... you never know!), and, is this going to be enough for the 8.1 / WHS2011 / WHS2012E installation (again, don't see why not!)?

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Are you suggesting that you want to run the Windows OS from a flash drive? If so, I think that's a really bad idea. Windows writes to the OS drive pretty much 24/7. You'll burn the drive out pretty quickly IMHO. You be much better to get an SSD.

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Ikon's definitely right here. Most usb flash drives are not meant for prolonged usage.

Not to mention, performance. USB2 is going to top out at 10MB/s. A regular, spinning HDD will get ~10x that (at close to 100MB/s depending on usage). And a SSD will get MUCH faster than that.

 

At BEST, if you do this, disable the pagefile. Or move it to another drive.

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Thanks Ikon/Drashna... ! You've just saved me some money!

 

What if I used a 128GB or 250GB SSD with the internal USB? Would that fare any better?

 

Basically, I'd like to use all 4+1 drives for data. If this is an option - I wonder if I'll be able to fit the SSD internally... if not, somehow route the cable out of the cabinet...

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