HP’s new MediaSmart server reviewed

Over at ZDNet, I’ve just published a full review of HP’s new MediaSmart Server, built on the Windows Home Server platform:

I’ve been running the final OEM release on my own server, using a spare PC as the hardware platform, since the code was released to manufacturing nearly three months ago. In that three months, it’s become an indispensable part of my home network. So when Hewlett Packard called last month and asked whether I wanted some hands-on time with a MediaSmart review unit, I jumped at the chance.

To see the MediaSmart server in action, visit my exclusive image gallery as well.

And if that’s not enough for you, circle November 29 on your calendar. That’s when I’ll be hosting a webcast with representatives from HP and Microsoft to discuss the MediaSmart server and Windows Home Server software. To participate and ask questions about either product, sign up for the webcast.

[Note: I am not being compensated in any way for this event and I have complete editorial control over the questions I ask.]

7 thoughts on “HP’s new MediaSmart server reviewed

  1. Does the HP system support printers? Either through a parallel port or USB?

    I built my WHS system with a $150 motherboard, processor, memory package off Mwave.com. I then added two 250gb IDE drives I had laying around from a failed attempt with the Netgear SC101. I bought the cheapest case I could find and took the DVD-drive from another machine just for installation. My wife works for MSFT, so I got the OEM at the company store like you recommended.

    I plugged an old HP Laserjet printer into the parallel port and the system recognized the printer and installed the drivers by itself. I didn’t even have to pull out the monitor and keyboard. The kids can finally print whatever they want and I don’t have to worry about constantly buying ink cartridges.

    The system sits in an unfinished part of our basement with the cable modem and router. Its been running for over a month and I haven’t had a single issue.

    We have 4 pc’s in addition to the server. I use it for backups and storing all our digital pictures and music. It is so nice to have a central repository for everything that can run 24/7. WHS is probably the best product out of Microsoft in a while.

  2. I’m also interested in the printer-sharing aspect of both the HP product as well as stand-alone DIY versions of Windows Home Server. The simple disk imaging solution is a really strong selling point. Maybe not enough to justify the cost for me, though; printer-sharing would be icing on the cake.

    I’m also considering an ASUS wireless router which has a USB port and can be flashed with DD-WRT (or a similar OS, presumably allowing me to share the printer). I really can’t justify both purchases, so WHS might win out.

    As I write this, Amazon’s entry price is about $35 more than the article mentioned. Amusingly, Amazon’s “more technical details” page states this tidbit: “Processor, Memory, and Motherboard Hardware Platform: Linux” Perhaps they’re saying the board’s chipset works with Linux … but, huh?

  3. I’ve been quite interested in the Home Server product, probably since I first heard you mention it. Being a Sys Admin type, I’ve actually got a Windows 2003 domain setup here at home, and I’ve been wondering how a Home Server would fit into the mix.

    Being the expert Ed, do you have any comment on how the two might co-exist? Really file sharing is taken care of, but it’s some of the other automated backup features I’d be more interested in. Do you think the two would do well side-by-side?

  4. Ed,

    What are you using or what do you recommend for virus protection and/or a firewall on WHS? Or, if you’re not going to enable Remote Access, do you even need to worry?


  5. Aaron, I don’t believe third-party AV or firewall tools are necessary on WHS. The built-in firewall is more than adequate, and every computer that is connected to the server internally has its own AV software running. The only threat I can see is that someone could upload a virus-infected file to a shared location. Given that I control remote access rights I see that as a very low risk.

  6. Chris, that’s an interesting question. If you’re using Server 2003 as a domain controller, you might run into problems, because WHS uses a form of domain membership as its way of controlling access. I’ll ask about this on my webcast on Nov 29th.

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