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NAS or Windows Home Server (Vail)??


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#1 of 5 TN09

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Posted April 08 2011 - 11:28 AM

Looking for some feedback to this dilemma. Hope to get some feedback from people who actually went through this process. Trying to do this correctly since it involves money and probably lots of time. The dilemma is, which is a better setup: setting up a NAS or Windows Home Server (Vail)? Here are my goals: Be able to stream ISOs (want to preserve highest quality) for my movies, share photos and music thought out the house, back-up many PCs in my house. I have a home office which I can keep either the NAS or WHS in. All of my PCs are hard wired to a switch. Only one PC in my house will do most (90%) of the movie streaming. This PC that will do most of the streaming is a Windows 7 setup just for HTPC. PC running AMD Phenom 2,  Nvidia GT430 GPU,  with 4GB RAM plenty of horsepower to handle anything I wish to throw at it. Thinking about running XBMC has my media center software. The good thing with WHS is, there are plenty of software that can run on this server…example would be My Movies and TVersity. Not sure what software can run on a NAS besides the software that is bundled with it. Bundled software are okay, but 3rd party software tends to give you more freedom with various plugins.


Planning on mounting the ISOs on the NAS or WHS with Virtual Clone Drive software from AnyDVD. I have been reading on this forum and other forum, people have been expierecning some shutter issues while playing their blu-ray ISO movies. Some of the users have pin pointed that their NAS is not fast enough to handle blu-ray streaming. From reading the many NAS specs, all NAS are equal in spec. Maybe once these units are tested in real word scenario, things are a bit different. Some users suggested to get a switch with QoS to be able to better handle the traffic demands. I have kids, so while I am streaming I am sure they are surfing the web on the same network.


Just looking for any thoughts….



#2 of 5 mattCR

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Posted April 08 2011 - 11:48 AM

First, there are several solutions (Like FreeNAS and Amahi) which are very good and free.    Windows Home Server (VERSION 1, NOT VAIL) is an incredible, phenomenal product.    Windows Vail (WHS2011) has some significant limitations I don't care for as much.  However, Vail also supports DLNA natively, web based transcoding and a better remote webspace.     Both Vail and WHSv1 provide native state backups, which you won't find in any other (free) product which are very good.   Comparable to say, acronis.   WHS will have better driver level support and often perform very well at gigabit speed in comparison to the same configuration with other software.. you can tweak a linux option (like Amahi and FreeNAS) but driver support will never be as good.




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#3 of 5 TN09

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Posted April 09 2011 - 02:23 AM

I can either build a PC to run WHS or look into buying a NAS from Netgear. I thinking building one will cost a bit more by the time you add all the pieces like MBO, case, RAM...etc..


What I like about the NAS is, some are RAID 1 configuration like the Netgear. Which is awesome for backup...I always believe in a backup for a backup. Not sure what type of redundancy WHS has.


#4 of 5 mattCR

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Posted April 09 2011 - 02:48 AM



Originally Posted by TN09 

I can either build a PC to run WHS or look into buying a NAS from Netgear. I thinking building one will cost a bit more by the time you add all the pieces like MBO, case, RAM...etc..


What I like about the NAS is, some are RAID 1 configuration like the Netgear. Which is awesome for backup...I always believe in a backup for a backup. Not sure what type of redundancy WHS has.



WHS uses storage pools for folder and file level redundancy.   It allows you to keep redundant what you want.. and not others.    It's a mix.   For those storing super large volumes of data, a WHSv1 is really ideal because you can do so and worry about folder duplication on critical items and not on others.


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#5 of 5 Al.Anderson

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Posted April 12 2011 - 12:04 AM

To my mind the NAS and HTPC are two different beasts.  The NAS is primarily a storage device with some server/streaming capability thrown in.  It's primary feature is the ability to manage RAID in both 0 and 1 configurations.  (It's a server, so you can load other things on it, but it's not what it was designed for.)  The HTPC is a media hub.  It provides the heavy processing power and all your I/O functionality with DVD and BR drives and video card support.


If all you want to do is stream video/audio, and you have the ability to decode the content at the TV, then a NAS will work.  I use a Seagate Theater+ along with a NAS and that works fine for me.  However if you want full control from one location, then you want a HTPC.  The two are compatible, you can run your HTPC attached to a NAS for storage, so you start with the NAS and build up from there if you want more capability.


By the way, while I like the mirrowing capabilties of RAID, but it's not really a backup.  It provides the ability for a real-time recovery from a disk failure.  So if you want to pick up right where you left off, it has you covered.  But a backup provides historical recovery, and allows recovery from a complete system failure.






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