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I'm about to invest in something that will help me with backups etc.

So, NAS vs. Windows Home Server? It feels like I'm getting a bit more with Windows Home Server - but I'm really not sure.

Can I use Mac clients with Windows Home Server or any NAS?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 8 down vote accepted

A lot depends on what the scope of your project is.

If you're just backing up one system and that's all you want to do, then NAS is probably the right solution.

If you have multiple computers, I can't recommend WHS highly enough. It's been a GODSEND in my house. Here's what it does for me:

  • Backs up ALL my PCs automatically (1 laptop, 2 desktops, occasionally more) with no redundancy (i.e the same file on 3 PCS means one copy of the file and 3 pointers - saves a lot of space)

  • Streams video to all PCs and extenders (XBox 360s and a Blu-Ray player that supports MKV)

  • Conveniently pools all drives together into one 'letter' so that I don't have to remember which drive I put a file on.

  • Gives me remote access to ANY PC on the network. I logged on to my desktop through my WHS box while on vacation in Florida using my laptop and the hotel's wifi.

  • Gives me a basic website where I can manage anything. Also allows me to put more websites on my WHS box without having to pay a hosting company.

  • Gives me 'bare metal restore'. HD on my laptop went bad. Got new HD. Installed. Booted via CD that WHS makes available. Identified my WHS box over the LAN. A little over an hour later, I had a completely restored PC without having to reinstall anything.

There are also other add-ins that I haven't yet had the chance to try out - for things like sharing my iTunes collection in the house, controlling devices via X10, etc.

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Personally i would go for the NAS, Modern day NAS systems can be really powerfull, meaning they could even download your favourite torrents. And host a website complete with PHP/mysql etc.

All modern day NAS systems will support MAC/Windows/Linux etc (either trough shared folders or FTP etc)

Offcourse it really comes down to your budget and what you really want to do with it. But for backups/storage use i would most certainly go for a NAS with a RAID setup for maximum reliability.

If you want a media/streaming server and other extra's i would lean more towards the Windows Home Server because in the end it will offer more flexibility and power.

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A decent NAS like the Thecus 5500 will do samba for windows, and NFS for *NIX. It also does iSCSI, but that's a bit extreme for home users. –  Dentrasi May 9 '10 at 20:47
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It depends upon the firmware in that NAS. If it is a commercial NAS, they support all clients: linux, windows, Mac. From linux, you can use mount.cifs; from windows, it is like any share; from Mac, samba share.

You can build your own NAS: buy a motherboard that supports RAID and which got > 4 SATA slots. Buy a few HD's from frys or newegg (I just bought 1 TB 7200rpm, 32mb, barracuda hd for $60 + tax from fry's store). Install freenas, you are done with it.

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If your technical skills are up to it, another option is to build a linux system based on something like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813186194

Then you can add as many drives as you want, and the cost is not much different from what a good NAS unit would run you.

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tho with that board "as many drives as you want" should be 2 or less. if you want more aim for something with more onboard SATA ports like this one: newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813500048 –  quack quixote Jun 2 '10 at 16:03
    
I was also thinking usb or addon card, but good point –  Joel Coehoorn Jun 3 '10 at 1:32
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