HP MediaSmart Redeployment

Well this is the first post of my new blog, so let me wish you a welcome, I am still playing about with the themes and formatting. Let me know what you think.

This first blog post, is a bit off topic, but UC will be the general topic of things.

I purchased HP MediaSmart Server quite sometime ago and have been using it for client backups and general storage. It shipped with Windows Home Server (version 1.0) at the time, however recently I have had some issues with it crashing plus I thought now would be a good time to look at WHS2011 and SBS2011 Essentials.

This is basically a headless server with just HDD’s, (i.e. it has no video output) so installing most OS ‘s are somewhat difficult without seeing the screen, Although it is possible to mod the unit to add it.

Windows Home Server 2011 supports headless server installs so the sister server products SBS 2011 Essentials and WSS2008 R2 Essential as they share the same code base. The headless installs are different from a standard OS install or scripted unattended as the screen can be viewed from another machine over the network.

2GB of RAM is the minimum requirement.

Feature

SBS 2011 Essential (Aurora)

Windows Home Server 2011 (Vail)

Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials

(Breckinridge)

Image Based Backup & Restore

Yes

Yes

Yes

Server Backup Support

Yes

Yes

Yes

Dashboard Based Management

Yes

Yes

Yes

Users & Clients Supported

25

10

25

Active Directory Support

Must be a Domain Controller

Create (Domain Root Only)

Limited additional DC for migration

No, Workgroup Only

Workgroup or Domain Join

Homegroup Support

No

Yes

No

Launchpad on Client PC

Yes (Auto Logs-in)

Yes

Yes

Simplified Storage Management

Yes

Yes

Yes

System Health Alerts

Yes

Yes

Yes

Media Streaming

No

Enhanced support with Silverlight Enabled Media Player

Unknown

Windows Media Center Integration

No

Partial (Library Support)

No

Extensibility

Yes, via SDK

Yes, via SDK

Yes, via SDK

On-Premise Exchange, SharePoint, Lync Server

No

No

No

Off-Premise Exchange, SharePoint, Lync Server Support

Yes, via Office 365 Subscription

No

No

Easy Remote Web Access to Server

Yes

Yes

Yes

Apple Mac Support

Yes

Yes

Yes

DHCP Server

Yes

Yes

Yes

Other Notes

Client are made member of the Active Directory upon connection to server

 

No SCSI Target Support

Primary Usage

Small Businesses for On-Premise File/Print Server

Personal/Home Use

Additional storage and Client Backup for Small Business (Probably already  running SBS2011 Standard or Premium with On-Premise Exchange, SharePoint, Lync Server)

1.Download ISO from TechNet

2.Create Bootable USB Flash Drive (you will need an 8GB Flash drive)

  1. Insert your USB thumb-drive into your Windows 7 machine
  1. Open the command prompt)
  1. type diskpart
  1. Within diskpart:
    1. list disk (remember the disk number for they key, we’ll call this X)
    1. select disk X
    1. clean (WARNING: this will erase the whole thumb-drive)
    1. create part pri (this creates a new primary partition)
    1. select part 1
    1. format fs=ntfs quick
    1. Active
    1. Exit
  1. Close the command prompt

3.Copy content from ISO to USB Flash Drive

4.Create cfg.ini in root of the Flash Drive

[WinPE]

ConfigDisk=1

CheckReqs=0

WindowsPartitionSize=61440

[InitialConfiguration]

Language=en-GB

Locale=en-GB

Country=UK

Keyboard=00000809

AcceptEula=true

ServerName=WHS2011

PlainTextPassword=Password1

PasswordHint=password hint

Settings=All

[WinPE]

ConfigDisk=1

CheckReqs=0

WindowsPartitionSize=61440

[InitialConfiguration]

Language=en-GB

Locale=en-GB

Country=UK

Keyboard=00000809

AcceptEula=true

CompanyName=Company Name

ServerName=SERVERNAME

NetbiosName=COMPANY

DNSName=COMPANYDNS.local

UserName=Administrator

PlainTextPassword=Password1

StdUserName=User1

StdUserPlainTextPassword=Password1

Settings=All

  1. Insert USB drive into rear bottom USB port and power-on
  1. Wait 10 minutes and you should hear the HDD should be busy
  1. Check DHCP leases
  1. Open http://ipaddress and follow setup
  1. RDP to server

Although the partition was create to the correct size per the unattended file, I would have expected the whole setup to be unattended, rather than having to follow setup (step6), maybe I did something wrong. Oh the HDD need to be blank for the MediaSmart Server to boot from the USB drive

So what about Drive Extended…yeah, it’s gone, hardware RAID is somewhat the way forward for OEM’s now for new kit, however the HP MediaSmart server doesn’t support RAID (well unless you can see POST and get to the BIOS and even then the system wasn’t indeed to run with RAID given the CPU). There are a couple 3rd party Drive Extended equivalents Drive Bender and StableBit DrivePool being two. Firstly RAID isn’t a backup but nor is folder duplication, ask yourself what do I need to protect and how do I protect the data stored on my server but also if your backing up client machines, are they typically located in the same as the server and do I need to backup the backup.

I did kind of like the idea of the SBS2011 Essentials add-in for Office 365, however this is just a domain sync for Single Sign-On, however I don’t really have the need, so I decided to go with WHS2011 on my HP MediaSmart plus I didn’t like having my client machines a member of a domain and client backup didn’t work if they weren’t in the domain.

Server Backups (via the Dashboard) can only backup to any attached drive (i.e. USB) however Windows Server Backup (via console) can backup to a network drive (i.e. NAS).

A uPnP router is need for automatic setup of remote web access, however manual port forwarding is possible via TCP/80 and 443.

SSL Certificate is required to use personal domain for Remote Web Access ($49.99 with Go Daddy)

Sadly as the time of writing, WSS2008R2 Essentials wasn’t available for download from TechNet.

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