windows home server alternative

Discussion in 'macOS' started by cichlid81, Dec 25, 2011.

  1. cichlid81 macrumors newbie

    Nov 7, 2009
    I currently use a windows home server and desperately want to move away from it, I just can't seem to find a device that will do everything I would like it to do. I need the typical stuff like nightly backups and remote access, but would also like a more integrated solution for accessing itunes remotely. Right now I'm using plex but it just isn't working very well. Does a solution exist that would provide access to all my media remotely through my iphone and ipad? My home server has a function called drive extender which basically allows hard drive pooling, I can load up hard drives and windows treats them as a single hard drive, it makes removing and swapping drives really easy. I would appreciate any suggestions on a setup, as this home server is quickly becoming the bane of my existence.

    By the way, I have looked into icloud but it is just not feasible with the amount of data I have. Besides I would rather have more control over my data than icloud would allow. What would be nice is something like a "local icloud" function with the interface and functionality of icloud but have the data reside on my home mac/server. That would be nice.
  2. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    WHS drive pooling is a very nice feature. That's how MS hooks you. They offer a very nice feature and you have to take the bad with the good. There are a lot of options to consider, some cost more, some cost less but you have to do more work.

    1 - Use Linux and Plex for Linux. You won't get drive pooling, but you can add and remove drives pretty easily. Linux can share files with OS X and Windows.

    2 - Use Time Capsule or AEBS and a USB hard disk. This method would require you to leave iTunes running to act as your "plex" server only you would be using airplay instead of DLNA.

    3 - Purchase a DLNA capable NAS drive. There are many to choose from including low end models from WD, LaCie and others. As you spend more, the quality of the drives gets substantially better. For instance, the some of the + series of Synology drives cost over $600 just for the housing and the drives cost extra, but they intel based models can run Plex media server (Linux version).

    4 - Keep using Windows home server.

    5 - Get a Mac Mini and use it as a home server, possibly running the OS X version of Plex.

    I have a lower end Synology diskstation. It is ARM based and can't run PLEX but it runs well enough and uses only 16 watts in operation and 6 watts in standby. This is the key reason you might consider a relatively expensive "network appliance" instead of Windows home server. A computer typically sits there burning through 100 watts or more.

    My rough calculations show that to run a 100 watt device night and day for a year costs almost $100 at a typical electric rate of $0.10 / KWH but to run my Synology costs 1/6 as much. At what I paid, the payoff is 3 years but I also get better reliability than I could expect if I simply loaded Win home server on a PC and stuck it in a closet and left it running. I get about the same reliability that I could expect running Linux but I don't have to do much of the configuration. If something does go wrong, I take my drives out and send it in for repair and my data never leaves my home. Lastly the device doesn't take up much space.

    I might just switch from DLNA to AppleTV one of these days, but for now I get the ability to stream media to two of my LG TV's without any add-on boxes and I don't have to leave iTunes running on any of our Macs. I don't get the features of PLEX, but I find the NAS built in DLNA support to be more than adequate.

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