HP announces Time Machine-compatible MediaSmart Servers

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by jaw04005, Dec 28, 2008.

  1. jaw04005 macrumors 601

    jaw04005

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    #1
    PALO ALTO, Calif., Dec. 29, 2008 – HP today launched a home server designed for use with both Windows and Mac computers.

    Based on the Microsoft Windows® Home Server platform, the HP MediaSmart Server ex485/ex487 is a central repository for automatically backing up and accessing digital music, videos, photos and documents from multiple computers on a home network.

    The MediaSmart Server automatically organizes files across all PCs, streams media across a home network and the Internet, and publishes photos to popular social networking and photo sharing sites.MediaSmart Server ex485/ex487 features include:

    · HP Media Collector: conveniently schedules the MediaSmart Server to copy and centralize digital files and libraries from networked PCs
    · Media Streaming: remotely streams photos and music to any Internet-connected PC or Mac
    · Server for iTunes: centralizes iTunes music libraries on the server for playback to any networked Mac or PC running iTunes
    · HP Photo Publisher: easily upload photos to Facebook®, PicasaTM Web Albums and Snapfish(3)
    · HP Photo Viewer: allows easy sharing of photos with friends and family
    · PC Hard Drive Backup: backs up networked PCs via the Windows Home Server backup feature
    · Mac Hard Drive Backup: backs up Macs running Leopard using Apple Time Machine software
    · Server Backup: duplicates designated shared folders to a separate hard disk drive
    · Online Backup: duplicates designated folders to Amazon's S3 online backup service for an additional layer of protection
    · Smart Power Management: can schedule times for server to go to "sleep" and "wake up," saving on energy costs
    · Processor: Intel® Celeron®, 2.0 GHz 64-bit. Two gigabytes (GB) of 800-MHz DDR2 DRAM now standard on MediaSmart Server
    · Expandability: additional drives can be added for up to 9 terabytes (TB)

    Manufacturer's suggested retail price for the HP MediaSmart Server ex485 with 750 GB of hard disk storage is $599 while the HP MediaSmart Server ex487 with 1.5 TB is $749. Available for pre-order January 5.

    ****​

    Interesting. I wonder how they got this to work? I suppose Apple knows.

    Here's hope that Apple will update Time Machine to backup to multiple file systems as originally planned.

    You're talking $599 for a Time Machine-compatible network attached storage device that supports 4 drives internally with expansion via USB and eSATA to an unlimited number of external drives.

    Not to mention all the extra things you can install like the iTunes server.

    Nice. It's definitely a Drobo competitor.
     

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  2. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604

    SnowLeopard2008

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    #2
    Looks pretty sleek. I might consider one of these once my iTunes/media libraries get bigger.
     
  3. spacecadet610 macrumors 6502

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  4. SpaceMagic macrumors 68000

    SpaceMagic

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    #4
    Looks good. Was looking at the Drobo, but don't know now! Decisions Decisions!

    Annoying that they release Worldwide but the UK site never updates...
     
  5. mpshay macrumors 6502

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    May 19, 2008
    #5
    I saw this on another website (May engadget?) and they mentioned that you still need a PC to set up the server. Just something to kep in mind if you only use OS X.
     
  6. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #6
    How does the centralized iTunes storage work... is it really a single library that gets its metadata properly updated when multiple users with separate accounts access it? Does it fully support DRM'd content, syncing iPods and iPhones, and can you still seamlessly purchase music / video / apps from iTunes and the App Store and have them go into the central library? That feature sounds quite nice.

    Overall, it seems very nice however you look at it. It could easily be expanded to several terabytes at a very reasonable cost.
     
  7. jaw04005 thread starter macrumors 601

    jaw04005

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    #7
    You still need a PC at least temporarily. The WHS Product Team has already said the next version of Windows Home Server would include a Mac connector since many of their programmers have Macs at home too.

    Maybe it will be announced at CES since it's been almost two years since the original debuted.

    It looks like HP has created a collector program that scans your iTunes folders for new files, then copies them to the server. That would only work on PCs. It streams using the Firefly Media Server.

    http://www.fireflymediaserver.org/

    You could always install iTunes on the server. That's what I've done with my original EX470 MediaSmart Server. I just sync my iPhone to it.
     
  8. 617arg macrumors 6502

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    Mar 3, 2008
    #8
    Interesting. Can someone take a look at my thread here: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=624359
    and let me know if this would work well for what I am looking for?
    Do I need a monitor for this or is it a stand-alone network drive?
    Can it be set up as a Raid drive?
     
  9. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #9
    I actually saw your thread and thought of you because I had read this thread just a few minutes earlier... several people above mentioned Drobo -- since Drobo is an existing product that does a lot of the kinds of things you're talking about, so it might be worth doing some Googling to investigate it. (I think this tool would also do them for you, too, but it's just that it's new at this point).

    As for this device doing what you want... It is primarily a headless device. The review posted in spacecadet610's post may really help clear up what it does and how. It's basically a computer that's been optimized to act as a server for a small environment. It has a Celeron processor and it runs a variant of Windows, but unlike most home computers, they drop most of the graphics and sound and optical drives and all that kind of stuff and focus on running the network connection and the drive system. Also, unlike most computers, you configure it over the network rather than logging into it itself.

    Now jaw04005, I'm still quite confused about the iTunes question. So the device has an "iTunes Server" that can be installed on it. This is not an Apple product, AFAIK. Basically, from what I can see, it just allows you to put the iTunes library on the server and then connect to it. But like any network shared iTunes library, that connection would be read only, and devices would be unable to sync with it. So it really wouldn't be a very good long term central iTunes collection, would it?

    On the other hand, there is the point you raised about "installing iTunes" on it. Is that even possible? Is Windows Home Server sophisticated enough as a PC operating system to run the actual iTunes, and if you did, how would you even connect with it / manipulate it while it lived on a headless media server? If you built your own Media Server and ran OS X or Windows or whatever on it, sure, but I don't quite understand how this would work on a device like this running Windows Home Server.
     
  10. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    #10
    This sounds like an amazing little box but I really don't want to start futzing around with Windows at home. Since leaving my last job, I am Windows free.

    I'd love to see Apple make a device like this. Home networking for the masses.
     
  11. jaw04005 thread starter macrumors 601

    jaw04005

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    #11
    Correct. Using the Firefly built-in streaming software, you would just be "streaming" your library. It works the exact same way "sharing" does in iTunes.

    Windows Home Server is actually a variant of Windows Server 2003 Small Business. It is a full blown operating system except Microsoft has removed some of the more advanced features (Exchange server, roaming profiles, etc) and hidden the others (which can be unlocked).

    You can manage it because you can remote desktop into it using Microsoft's Remote Desktop Connection just like any Windows PC.

    Of course, all that is optional. As it was designed to be used with the supplied "console" software, but the remote desktop is available for more advanced users.

    For example, I used Remote Desktop Connection to log-in to my MediaSmart Server. It pulls up the standard Windows desktop. Then I used Internet Explorer to download iTunes and QuickTime. I installed both applications and now my MediaSmart Server is my main iTunes machine. It streams to my Apple TV, syncs my iPhone and shares its library (using built-in iTunes sharing) to my MacBook. It also downloads all my podcasts. All the while, it's automatically duplicating my iTunes library on additional drives (installed in the server) for backup purposes.
     

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  12. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #12
    Ahhh, that helps a lot -- thank you! Did you have to hack Windows Server Home Edition to get it able to support RDC'ing, or is this an "official" feature?
     
  13. jaw04005 thread starter macrumors 601

    jaw04005

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    #13
    Nope. It's an official feature. HP even installs a shortcut to it (when using their MediaSmart Windows software).

    However, it's purely optional as the server was designed to be administered from the simple console software. Of course, some of us want a little more. :D

    Update: HP just announced that current EX470 and EX475 owners will get a free software update that will add the above features to their existing servers including Time Machine compatibility. By the way, you can pick up the current model EX470 MediaSmart Server for around $440 at www.hpshopping.com. I bought it for around $320 with discount codes three weeks ago.

    http://mswhs.com/2008/12/29/existing-ex470ex475-owners-will-get-updated-features/

    Here's a feature list of what you can and can't do on the Mac.

    http://mswhs.files.wordpress.com/2008/12/hpmacosxfunctionality.png
     
  14. entatlrg macrumors 68040

    entatlrg

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    #14
    A year later, how's everyone liking the HP MediaServer?

    I may buy one this weekend, was considering the Mac Mini Server but the HP seems to be more highly recommended.
     
  15. MAYBL8R macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2007
    #15
    I ended up selling mine. in an all Mac environment was more a pain than it was worth, ended up going the MacMini route and adding FW800 external NAS..
    Much better IMO.
     
  16. rtrt macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2008
    #16
    i'm also interested in any experienced users opinions on these.

    think the new v3 software is available now and it's also on the new 490/495 hardware of course.

    read somewhere that the 47x and 49x variants have a port multiplier capable esata port on the back for expansion further down the line.

    it mentioned that the 48x variants didn't have it tho.
     
  17. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    #17
    It's not difficult to make a file server Time Machine compatible, and it is well-documented by Apple. Basically, you need to support AFP (Apple Filing Protocol) to make it useable as a network storage device for MacOS X in the first place, then you have to support file locking and unlocking (AFP devices _should_ support this anyway, but it is not _required_ for AFP. It is required to support Time Machine), it has to be able to remove all locks held by a client after a crash (for example, if you unplug your MacPro from power while it does a Time Machine backup), and finally, it must actually _tell_ MacOS X that it is Time Machine compatible.

    As I said, all documented by Apple. The hard work is done by MacOS X, not by the storage device.
     
  18. SpeedFleX macrumors 6502

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    #18
    Do you happen to have this working because I can't seem to find out how to do this, I have googled around a little. Maybe you have it setup already?
     
  19. jaw04005 thread starter macrumors 601

    jaw04005

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    #19
    Why you're replying to my year old post I don't know. However, the HP MediaSmart Servers don't support AFP natively. HP's Mac software overwrites Mac OS X's default setting of backing up to AFP shares only. Then their software interjects itself between Time Machine and Finder to mount the proper Samba share (and sparse bundle) for backup when Time Machine needs it.

    HP also patches the share on the server-side to work exactly like Time Machine expects it.

    That's how they get it to work.
     

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