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Given that the next version of Windows Home Server isn't going to support Drive Extender (no single storage pool, no software data redundancy) I'm investigating alternative solutions


  • Redundant Storage (at least 1 drive failure)
  • Backup data from machines on the network
    • Must be able to wake machines up
  • Run Squeezebox server software (Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7, WHS, Linux, Netgear Ready NAS NV/Duo/Pro)
  • Act as a file server for my home network (music, photos, video etc.)

Nice to have

  • Fire and forget (everything should be as automated/automatable as possible)
  • Offsite backup
  • Run Zune Software
  • Low power use
  • Ideally I would like to reuse my current homebrew WHS h/w (Intel Core 2, Lots of drives of different sizes and a USB external drive for backing up the server)

My initial thought was to put Win7 on the machine and find some kind of backup solution.
Any other suggestions?

I'm a software developer by trade and I'm comfortable with Linux/Windows

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Are you looking for a hardware box like a nice NAS option? Or building your own setup? Or something just to replace the home server OS? There are some really nice NAS solutions out there that would meet some of your "requirements" such as a QNAP device or Synology, or setting up your own thing using unRAID. What is your price range? – Nori Nov 30 '10 at 17:40
Anything that meets my requirements really. If I can do it for free/cheap that would be perfect I probably don't want to spend more than $500-600 if I can help it but I'm fairly flexible for a great solution – David Hayes Nov 30 '10 at 17:50
I'd wait before ditching the idea of WHS V2 ("Vail"). Steve Ballmer himself said he was going to 'look into' the situation. If I were a betting man, I would say that there is likely to be SOME version of DE (Drive Extender) in WHS but perhaps without the features that home users don't use that were apparently causing problems in Server 2008 and Aurora. – David Dec 2 '10 at 18:20
I ended up building a core i7 2600 machine with a small SSD several large HDDs. I installed Server 2008 and Hyper-v to meet all my needs – David Hayes Feb 17 '11 at 14:52
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Something like a Synology DS410 might work or the higher end DS1010+. It doesn't support Squeezbox but does have a streaming service (among many many other features). ~Edit, it actually does support Squeezbox

One of the Synology devices seems to be the most efficient solutions offering quite a few features for a decent price, and I believe it meets most of your requirements.

There is also comparable boxes from QNAP, such as a TS-419P+, either system costs around $600. Otherwise a custom built server, like the one madmaze mentioned, using a linux distro is probably the cheapest, most flexible (although hardest to setup) option.

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That looks pretty good, if I could find something like it that supported Squeezebox it would be perfect. Maybe the solution is to have a NAS and a seperate machine – David Hayes Nov 30 '10 at 18:10
Oooh looks like it does support Squeezebox – David Hayes Nov 30 '10 at 18:15
That would make setup a bit easier. Have a inexpensive small computer attached to a NAS, maybe even boot from the NAS (pretty sure the QNAP device supports that) then have a Windows 7 or Linux setup with any custom stuff you want. This is something I've been researching for a while to figure out what is the best option. I ended up getting a OWC 4 bay external storage setup and just hooked it up to a existing computer. It is very fast and wasn't took expensive. Its not a NAS but that may not be a problem depending on how you set everything up. – Nori Nov 30 '10 at 18:16
Nice! I like the look of the QNAP and Synology boxes since they have some a very broad set of features and some good RAID setup features(IE. Online expansion and Online RAID level migration). That makes the Synology box even more attractive since you would have support and a "all in one" package that has a small footprint. – Nori Nov 30 '10 at 18:19
A NAS is useful to me, the aim is to have a fileserver for streaming music/videos/photos to the xboxes, PCs etc around the house and have all the Windows 7 machines on the network backed up (from a data perspective). WHS has been pretty ok up until now but I don't really use it's additional features and it's been more troublesome than I'd have liked – David Hayes Nov 30 '10 at 18:26

This is my setup and works great.

Headless Ubuntu server hosted on this:

you have 4 hotswappable bays

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I suggest moving to Ubuntu as well, but for someone used to Windows you may want to stick with Ubuntu desktop edition. It can run all the same things, but offers a GUI out of the box. Try it out with a Live disk, but to run at full speed with all the features you'll need to install.

My box has: FTP, DNS, Samba (windows share), Web serving, SQL, version backups for my code, rsync backup server, etc.

And that's all off a 1.4ghz single core 32-bit processor with a gigabit connection!

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