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View Full Version : SL Server VS Windows Home Server




karim7
Feb 24, 2010, 06:59 PM
Hey guys,

I'm going to build a server for my house and I'm a mac user but I wanted to know if it was worth paying the extra money for a mac server vs getting a cheap NAS from newegg running windows home server.

I would mostly be using the server to store data (pictures, music, movies...)

Which server has better features and software available?

Thanks!



ctucci
Feb 24, 2010, 09:05 PM
SlServer is very nice, but a bit more full featured than necessary if you're just storing data in a centralized location.

Having said that, bug your local Business Rep at the Apple Store, and get the demo of SL Server. Using Parallels, virtualize an install of SL Server.

You will have a blast!

hakuryuu
Feb 25, 2010, 01:59 AM
If all you are doing is simple file sharing and maybe setting up a streaming media server then running one of those HP machines running Windows Home Server is just fine. SLS offers WAY more functionality than WHS and encroaches pretty deep into higher end windows server versions. And while SLS is simple to setup it still requires some time and knowledge to properly configure. Though I guess if you get the DNS right and are only really running AFP/SMB with guest access then you likely won't have too many problems. Thats why we have these forums after all.

Jason Beck
Feb 25, 2010, 02:16 AM
If all you are doing is simple file sharing and maybe setting up a streaming media server then running one of those HP machines running Windows Home Server is just fine. SLS offers WAY more functionality than WHS and encroaches pretty deep into higher end windows server versions. And while SLS is simple to setup it still requires some time and knowledge to properly configure. Though I guess if you get the DNS right and are only really running AFP/SMB with guest access then you likely won't have too many problems. Thats why we have these forums after all.

Agreed. I would MUCH rather run a *ix server than a Windows server, any
day.

chaseerry
Feb 25, 2010, 10:26 AM
Either server OS would do just fine for what you want.

To be honest if you are just wanting to do simple file services, like sharing and centralizing your home media, running Snow Leopard itself on a machine would do just fine.

Without the need for the server configurability, services, and access control, there really is no need to run SLS. Unless you just want to :).

jaw04005
Feb 25, 2010, 10:50 AM
Isn’t WHS like $99 compared to $499 for Snow Leopard Server? Big difference. I would just get a Mac mini with regular Snow Leopard, and maybe attach a Drobo to it.

But the HP MediaSmart Servers are very nice and HP has really went out of its way to support Macs and Time Machine.

aristobrat
Feb 25, 2010, 11:09 AM
IMO, Mac OS X Server compares more in features with Microsoft Windows Small Business Server than Windows Home Server.

For what you're doing, I definitely would *not* consider Mac OS X Server. Not that it couldn't do what you want it to, just that it's priced higher because it includes all sorts of things you'd likely never use.

pdjudd
Feb 25, 2010, 11:48 AM
Too add another voice, the aims of WHS and SLS are very different. While SLS does the same thing as WHS can do - you can also say the same about Windows Server 2008. That doesn't mean that you should be spending the money for that either. Snow Leopard Server in the case of the OP is, IMO way more overkill and unless you know a few things about server OS's it can even be frustrating.

I agree with the idea of getting a trial and seeing if it is too complicated or not. Otherwise, simpler is better.

mslide
Feb 25, 2010, 12:35 PM
First off, you're comparing a $100 OS (WHS) to something that is a heck of a lot more ($500?). For the price of SL Server alone (not the hardware), you could build a WHS box (not counting the hard drives). If all you're doing is using it to store data, then you can use virtually anything. You don't need a 'Server' OS to share data.

What WHS gives you is a very easy way to run a headless server that can A) pool your hard drives together so they can show up as a single share, B) provide an easy way to provide redundancy so you are okay if a HD fails (granted it is through file duplication so you'll have to decide if you're okay with that strategy) and C) an easy way to backup Windows machines (you obviously don't care about this one but I believe it is possible to use a WHS box as a time machine backup).

Some people have a problem with WHS because you don't work at a drive level with it. You stick a bunch of hard drives in it and it pools them all together. You don't say "I want this folder on this hard drive, and this folder on that hard drive". It pools your drives together and puts the data where it wants. If you enable folder duplication on a particular shared folder, then it will ensure the data is stored on 2 different drives. It's very easy to install and setup.

My house consists of a mix of Macs and Windows boxes and I run WHS. It works great for what I need it to do. I wanted an easy way to pool a bunch of hard drives together, provide redundancy without going with a traditional RAID setup and let me run a few other simple server-type services. I built my own server instead of using a NAS so I wouldn't be limited to 4 hard drives or whatever. While it is designed to be run headless through an easy interface, I use it like a regular server os. That is, I can log in (from my Mac via Remote Desktop) and run the few other services I want. I could do things like run other VMs on it if I really wanted to.

Don't let the fact that it's a Windows OS deter you. It is a very stable OS and runs great. I log into mine once in a while to install updates and that's it.

The question you need to answer is: What *exactly* do you need your server to do? If you want to run things like DNS, Mail servers, etc then maybe you should step up to something like SL Server.

karim7
Feb 25, 2010, 05:34 PM
Thanks everyone for all the feedback its just what I needed to know

hugothomsen
Feb 25, 2010, 06:12 PM
Hey guys,

I'm going to build a server for my house and I'm a mac user but I wanted to know if it was worth paying the extra money for a mac server vs getting a cheap NAS from newegg running windows home server.

I would mostly be using the server to store data (pictures, music, movies...)

Which server has better features and software available?

Thanks!

Hi Karim,

I have had a WHS running for the last 3 years, providing central store as you describe it, as well as remote access and print service, for 3 PCs, a Linux box and 4 Macs in the family.

I have just bought a NAS (Promise SmartStor DS4600) to replace the WHS (a TranquilPC box) because of the way WHS handles backups is buggy, inconsistent, and almost made me lose 5 years of family photos when a HD crashed. Luckily I had DVD backups.

For your use, there is no reason whatsoever to buy WHS, and rather more reasons NOT to. What you need is a NAS with RAID for resilience, print server function if you want it, and, possibly, media sharing. The Promise SmartStor DS4600 offers all of the above, with 4 HDs in RAID and health monitored you should be safe as a house.

I also have an old Mac Mini with Tiger Server on it - it works rock solid hosting my web site (the WHS can do that, too, but that is IIS or suffering the hassle of installing Apache and all the conflicts between the two ... because WHS depends on IIS for system management). I have not looked much at SLS yet, but know Tiger pretty well - I am using that for DNS etc. and it is bulletproof, for both Windoze and Mac clients. Linux gives me some hassle, but hey ... It did take me a while to migrate from W2K3 Server (WHS is a scaled down W2K3 SBS) to Tiger Server, as I only started on the Macs 2 years ago - one thing MS has gotten right is the wizard setups, which do not exist on Tiger Server, so I had to do everything manually, which took some trial and error - but then you learn as you go.

SLS is quite an investment, if you do not need all the firepower it offers - I would think carefully, avoid anything MS, and probably advise you to get a NAS, provided your router can give you all the network config you need, and that you do not need anything more than file sharing.

Cheers,

Hugo

bigbearf
Feb 25, 2010, 06:29 PM
@Karim.
I have a Mac Mini Server and a Netgear ReadyNAS pro pioneer along with a primarily mac network at home. I got the MMS for about $950 with SL server and 1 TB hard drive space (two 500GB drives). I essentially got SL server for free. I added iLife 09 and I can attest that the MMS does everything that the Mac Mini SL client does and more. I do not use but about 25% of what SLS is capable of but it is great. It works well as a HTPC via HDMI to a HD Sony XBR flat panel TV. I run Plex and use a Harmony One remote and I think this setup is both easy to set up and very functional.
I thought about HP EX495 but I ran the evaluation copy of WHS under Virtualbox on the Mac Mini Server and it seemed to be too locked down for me and not as Mac friendly as advertised. If you like Macs I would get the Mac Mini Server. I do not think you will be unhappy.
bigbearf

ChrisA
Feb 25, 2010, 06:38 PM
I would mostly be using the server to store data (pictures, music, movies...)

Which server has better features and software available?


I'd go with BSD or Linux. Both have better performance and reliability and more available free software then you could even want. And of course both a free.

I would never trust data the Windows and SN server is grossly over prices and has the same features as BSD.

Both BSD and Linux have good support for all types of RAID and good backup sftware available., web based confiuration, remove access and so on.

A simple stand alone NAS would meet you needs but higher end PC server hardware has much better performance if you are using gigabit eithernet. If this is for WiFi or 100BaseT then the NAS is good enough as the network will be the bottle neck.

alphaod
Feb 28, 2010, 11:58 PM
Windows Home Server is pretty easy to set up and use, not to mention it is also cheaper.

IMHO, Linux/Unix may be better [seeing it's also cheaper/free].