Local streaming is seamless, but how about remote access? Or should I say; do you have a Windows Live ID? You’ll need one if you want to use the WHS remote access feature without a complicated mess of port forwarding to SMB shares. Microsoft provides a service that dishes out free insert-your-own-subdomain-here.homeserver.com domains allowing you to connect to the (not all that intuitive) remote access interface.
Third party DNS services such as DynDNS are not supported. I found that the WHS web interface lacks features found in other competing products, such as device configuration and in-browser streaming of media files. Indeed, it appears the only function of the web interface is to offer file management.
On the local set up side, the Windows Home Server Console is fairly straightforward, providing an intuitive interface, which will appeal to the average user. Configurable features include multiple user accounts, shared folders, disk management, power management and backup management.
The unit also comes bundled with McAfee Total
bloatware Protection, which will nag you indefinitely until you register it. It then leaves you alone until the trial period ends, only to start harassing you again to buy a license. At first this seems normal, PC manufacturers have been doing it for years, but in order to remove it, the user must use RDC and manually access the Add/Remove Programs facility, as this “feature” is not listed as an Add-in by the Windows Home Server Console.
In addition to streaming, facilities are provided for automated backups of any configured machine on the network, along with statistics such as uptime provided by the “Lights-Out” add-in. This feature manages the power consumption of the server by using calendar events (i.e. backups) or pre-set timings to wake the server and send it back to sleep once a task has completed.
Data Throughput Results
512k file tests - throughput in Megabytes per Second (MB/s)
Longer bars are better
In short, Lights Out allows a user to run overnight backups without having to leave the server on constantly. Furthermore, detailed system statistics – such as CPU/RAM/HDD usage, system temperatures, fan speeds and rail voltages – are also available using the Windows Home Server Console. It is also possible to configure an email alert to inform you when usage thresholds are reached.
No RAID, no interest, couldn't you have said that on the first page though so I didn't waste my time reading all 3 pages....
For the price, £400 for the 2TB - recently built myself something similar using the nicer looking Chenbro ES34069 and a Jetway Atom JNC92-330 which has a RAID5 4-port SATA daughter board, being the 330 it has a little more "umf" than the Acer and the RAID array allows me to use four 1.5TB drives in RAID5 for 4.5TB of redundant storage - the difference in price for 2TB drives was a little much to justify the extra space, which frankly isn't really needed anyway as this is only half full. Used WD Green drives to save a little more power too.
All these slight improvements though ended up costing me around £850, so really I could've had two of those and been £50 better off ;)
Still - the Chenbro looks tons better, great little case.
Chenbro ES34069: http://www.mini-itx.com/store/?c=42
Jetway Atom JNC92-330: http://www.mini-itx.com/store/?c=47#jnc92-330 daughter board: http://www.mini-itx.com/store/?c=34#modules
How can losing all your data when a disk crashes be an improvement over RAID for a home user? (As opposed to a business user? You mean, home users WANT to risk all their data on a single drive? )
On Linux, I avoid RAID hardware and use software RAID (for 2- or 4-disk servers, simple mirrored disks rather than RAID-5). Why on earth can't WHS do anything like this? (Answer: perhaps because if it weren't a useless toy, it would eat into sales of expensive "proper" windows servers?).
Anyway, if it doesn't have redundancy to protect your data from one failed disk, it's less use than a chocolate teapot.