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best alternatives to Windows Home Server?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by cheeryfool View Post
    Has anyone tried putting WHS 2011 on one of the HP MediaSmart servers? I have one of the EX475 (I think) models which I gave a faster chip and more RAM. I still use it for storage, but I can't get the true WHS functionality to work anymore.
    I did on my Easy Home server, which is almost the same thing. the processors would generally sit at 40% utilized...doing NOTHING. Luckily the Easy Home was made with all true server grade stuff - lots of hardware acceleration. So, it did not affect the perceived performance from external accesses (accessing file shares). However, logging in, or running a remote backup was terribly slow.

    I'm much happier now that it is running FreeNas. What is great about that, if you change a few jumpers, you get write access to the onboard WHS recover drive. I just wiped that, placed FreeNas in there and that is what I boot from. All 4 ports in that box are now being used as a ZFS drive pool. The hope is that I will have similar capabilities as with the Drive Pooling software I am using on my main server (StableBit Drive Pool).
    Tasker, to a person who does Homeautomation...is like walking up to a Crack Treatment facility with a truck full of 3lb bags of crack. Then for each person that walks in and out smack them in the face with an open bag.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by bdraper View Post
      What do you mean by true WHS functionality?



      I have one of the EX487 models and changed the CPU added more memory, still running like a champ. Had a power supply go out last year, bought one for 19.95 (if memory serves). It still runs great, and has been very useful when I needed to grab a deleted file or restore a laptop due to a virus.

      I can't get the console to install on Win 7 or 8.1 nor the RDP server to work. I can RDP on to the server itself and I am using it as a large storage volume but I don't have the auto-backup capabilities. I actually ran HS2 on it for a while years ago!

      So, I was thinking about whether it's possible to run WHS 2011 or some sort of NAS OS on the hardware.
      cheeryfool

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      • #18
        Originally posted by cheeryfool View Post
        I can't get the console to install on Win 7 or 8.1 nor the RDP server to work. I can RDP on to the server itself and I am using it as a large storage volume but I don't have the auto-backup capabilities. I actually ran HS2 on it for a while years ago!

        So, I was thinking about whether it's possible to run WHS 2011 or some sort of NAS OS on the hardware.
        Interesting, I had no problem installing the WHS (2003) console on any of my computers. I have Window XP, Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. Do you get an error when you try to install? Are you installing from a CD or from the file share on the WHS? If you install from the file share from WHS, right click on the EXE and run as administrator. I believe that one got me for a while...
        Billy Draper

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        • #19
          Here today originally had two Wintel NAS boxes. One with embedded Wintel server which worked OK for me. Today using only one with a 4 drive hot swap cage in it and 2 with embedded Linux (each have 4-5 drive cages) and 1 with Linux (with an 8 drive cage in it).

          1 - Wintel embedded server - 4 drive hot swap NAS in a 1U case - Off today - Any interest in purchasing contact me - its heavy and for pick up only in the midwest.
          2 - Wintel Server - 4 drive hot swap cage - On but not really utilized much - I want to fit it in a smaller case and have never found something that would fit the drive cage.
          3 - Linux Embedded - 4 drive raid / 5 drive cage - used today
          4 - Linux Embedded - 4 drive raid box - used today
          5 - Linux Ubuntu 64 bit or FreeNAS - 8 drive raid box, AMD E350-8Gb Ram, LSL SATA3 RAID card - used today

          Personally for storage (NAS) most functional for me are the Linux NAS boxes and specfically the 8 drive box running today with an AMD E350 / 8 Gb of memory. Its the pure meat of a network connected NAS box. It functions fine today.

          Homeseer 2 is running on two boxes with a light version of Windows 2003 standard 32 bit server. Its been running fine over the last few years (well around 10?). These have 2 drive 2.5" raid cages and used to swap drives or for raid 1 drives. HS2 sits on a 20 Gb partition / 120Gb 2.5" SATA drive.
          - Pete

          Auto mator
          Homeseer 3 Pro - 3.0.0.548 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e 64 bit Intel Haswell CPU 16Gb- Mono 6.8X
          Homeseer Zee2 (Lite) - 3.0.0.548 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e - CherryTrail x5-Z8350 BeeLink 4Gb BT3 Pro - Mono 6.8X
          HS4 Pro - V4.0.9.0 - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e 64 bit Intel Kaby Lake CPU - 32Gb - Mono 6.8X
          HS4 Lite -

          X10, UPB, Zigbee, ZWave and Wifi MQTT automation. OmniPro 2, Russound zoned audio, Smartthings hub, Hubitat Hub, and Home Assistant

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          • #20
            I've been a Windows Home Server user since the early betas of the initial version. It was a great concept and it's unfortunate that Microsoft decided to kill it off, but it never captured enough market share to survive. I never ran HomeSeer on WHS because I've got almost everything else running on WHS and wanted to maintain HomeSeer on it's own system.

            I'm planning to upgrade my WHS 2011 to Windows Server Essentials 2012 R2 in the next month or so for a few reasons:
            • Limited C: partition - I keep running out of space in the 60GB C: partition that WHS 2011 creates on install
            • Limited RAM - WHS 2011 can only use 8GB of RAM and I want to do more with VMs
            • End of support April 12, 2016 - http://support2.microsoft.com/lifecy...ilter=FilterNO

            Like I said above, it's a great platform but it's time for me to move on.

            -Chris

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            • #21
              Originally posted by cjohlandt View Post
              Great to have the source info. Looks to me like all support ends April 12, 2016. Is that how you read it also? Looks like it would have been longer had there been follow-on products in the same product line (e.g. if there had been a "Windows Home Server 2015" or some such, because according to cjohlandt's link basic support ordinarily continues through product N+2).
              Last edited by NeverDie; January 13th, 2015, 05:52 PM.

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              • #22
                Well, anyhow, regarding the OP: I tried Clonezilla (Linux based and free) last night, and it seems roughly equivalent to home-use Acronis TrueImage. CloneZilla can even boot Windows 8.1 from a thumb drive in UEFI secure boot mode. Clonezilla's GUI, if you can call it that, is a lot more textual and 1980's looking though. I'm afraid Clonezilla will need some UI polishing before I become a fan of it. Though popular, it seems like it's more for manual backups.

                In terms of replacing the backup functionality of Windows Home Server, I've read that FOG is good, though I haven't tried it yet. So, unless someone has a better suggestion, FOG is possibly my default roadmap for replacing WHS backup once the music stops in 16 months--or whenever it happens. Ideally, I'd like to find one thing that incrementally backs up windows, linux, and android (tablets and phones) automatically, every day. Not sure if that exists, or if I'll need to have different software for each.

                Anyhow, a server based "time machine" that syncs in real-time would be nice, as opposed to the usual snapshots. Any Linux distro's do that? After all, why not migrate to something even better than WHS rather than just the same.

                In terms of replacing the file serving aspect of WHS, I imagine Linux has that covered, though I'd be happy to hear suggestions if anyone wants to nominate favorite server distro's that work especially well with Microsoft Windows. Anyone? My main requirement is that it keeps the files scrubbed often enough that bit rot doesn't become an issue. WHS had that functionality, but it was removed prior to WHS 2011. 3rd part bolt-ons made up for that shortcoming, at least until obsolescence overtakes and it all fades to black.

                Anyhow, based on the postings so far, it sounds like most people want to stay with a Microsoft-based server solution, no matter what the price is. So, perhaps there's good reason for that. Who knows, if the linux solutions all look like Clonezilla, maybe I'll end up caving in as well.
                Last edited by NeverDie; January 13th, 2015, 05:59 PM.

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                • #23
                  After looking into it, OpenSUSE 13.2 seems to do everything on my wishlist. It uses BTRFS by default, so hopefully that will manage any potential bit rot. It also comes with Snapper to do snapshots and rollbacks, and even allows booting directly into a snapshot.

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                  • #24
                    If you are looking for something simple take a look at xpenology works really well

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                    • #25
                      Here using FreeNAS (BSD) for years. Geez just noticed that I am running BSD now for a Firewall/Router and a NAS box.

                      Runs great; never breaks and pampers my hard drives; what else could ask for?

                      What is FreeNAS?

                      FreeNAS is a Free and Open Source Network Attached Storage (NAS) software appliance. This means that you can use FreeNAS to share data over file-based sharing protocols, including CIFS for Windows users, NFS for Unix-like operating systems, and AFP for Mac OS X users. FreeNAS uses the ZFS file system to store, manage, and protect data. ZFS provides advanced features like snapshots to keep old versions of files, incremental remote backups to keep your data safe on another device without huge file transfers, and intelligent compression, which reduces the size of files so quickly and efficiently that it actually helps transfers happen faster.

                      Thinking Dan (Drozwood90) is also running FreeNAS (years now)

                      Some reading stuff....The RAID Reliability Anthology (note not Jan & Dean's Anthology) – Part 1 – The Primer

                      More reading....

                      5 Free or Open NAS Servers

                      I originally paid less than $200 for my 8 slot case a couple of years back. Its a bit tight and uses a regular 1U server power supply.



                      Now I am seeing 4 drive all metal NAS cases in a cube for around $100 these days. (4TB X4 = 16TB or 4TB X 8 = 32TB of NAS space).

                      You can also now build a mini NAS box with 2 3.5" slots and use 8 2.5" SATA drives in it.
                      Last edited by Pete; January 15th, 2015, 08:30 AM.
                      - Pete

                      Auto mator
                      Homeseer 3 Pro - 3.0.0.548 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e 64 bit Intel Haswell CPU 16Gb- Mono 6.8X
                      Homeseer Zee2 (Lite) - 3.0.0.548 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e - CherryTrail x5-Z8350 BeeLink 4Gb BT3 Pro - Mono 6.8X
                      HS4 Pro - V4.0.9.0 - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e 64 bit Intel Kaby Lake CPU - 32Gb - Mono 6.8X
                      HS4 Lite -

                      X10, UPB, Zigbee, ZWave and Wifi MQTT automation. OmniPro 2, Russound zoned audio, Smartthings hub, Hubitat Hub, and Home Assistant

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Thanks for the link. His graphs convinced me to go with triple parity raid (raidz3). Also, it convinced me of the need for ECC memory.

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