I ran WHS originally, loved the drive pooling, hated the indexing / optimization performance hits.
I upgraded to a new server and used 4 2TB drives, installed WHS 2011 and kept data on all separate drives... inconvenient, but it worked.
I am now out of room on my server and purchased 5 3TB drives to replace the 2TB drives and use them elsewhere.
Let me first explain my servers use, and go from there.
I primarily use my server just for holding my music, pictures and most used... movies. I do not backup any of my PCs to the server, I have a separate backup drive with all my music and pictures on it, if and when I put new pics music on I backup then unplug and shelf the drive. The movies however I do not have and can not have backups of (other than the physical disks). I do have a second home server at my fiancees house that has all the movies on it....so really if I ever did go down, or the one there goes down, I can copy them over...so I guess for the most part I do have a off site backup lol... granted though I dont always get to have the exact movies all the time on both (sometimes I end up not ripping the movie to both just out of laziness).
I primarily use my movies and the my movies server plugins.
I didn't used to, but am getting more in to sharing the media across the network to other devices like Xbox 360s, tablets etc. Since my internet now has 30Mbps upload I also started streaming a bit more from home. I'm still hitting a learning curve here on file formats that work with WHS 2011 and streaming over the internet with the home server web portal, or to XBOX 360.
all clients on network are windows 7 and windows 8 boxes running windows media center with My Movies.
I don't care too much about recording TV to the server, I usually watch the recorded TV and then delete it.
So looking at my useage...
Does Server 2012 essentials (the new WHS I suppose you can call it) offer better support for streaming?
I have heard mixed reviews on storage spaces for drive pooling, and have had several other suggestions. Should I avoid all this and just get a decent RAID 5 card?
I have even considered utilizing this 5 bay esata dock I have for the drives and building a lower power server, right now I am runnign a Dell Precision 690 server with dual Xeon CPUs.... it tends to get my closet rather warm, and I'm sure it gobbles up electricity lol
Switching to XBMC is not an option, so please keep suggestions related to WMC and MyMovies.
I'm still researching and was going to start experimenting next week with some configurations, so please feel free to lend some advice