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HP Microserver N40L

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hey guys,
Just picked this up on special at the Egg...came with an extra 2 gigs of RAM. I am looking to combine all my photos, music, some video...Plex, MP12, for access accross my network. (Possibly adiding XBMC in the future...if I could ever figure it out.). Possibly ripping some of my dvd/future blu ray collection. (not a priority)
I have all my music ripped in WMA Losless, right now. Currently, everything is stored on a 320 gig WD MyBook. It is difficult to access and store via my home network, because it is constantly losing connection. I wanted an ease of use, all in one solution, and have been watching these for a while. There is a pretty good community for them, and I would ask on those forums, but am more comfortable here.

1. Do I want WHS 11? Why?
2. Do I want Raid? Why?


I have a Sapphire 5450 ready to install, for an audio solution, as well as taking some of the load off the CPU.
I have the 250 gig HDD that came with the Microserver, that is blank
I have a WD Black 1TB that already has Win 7, and is currently configured in my aging Dell Desktop.
I also have the original 40 gig WD that came with the Dell.

1. Can I rip the WD out of my Dell, install in the Microserver, and be up an running? (other than driver install, etc....) Or will this lead to problems down the road?
2. Should I do a clean install of Win 7, (or WHS 11) on the 40 gig (or the 250 gig), and use the 1TB as storage to start?
2. a. Can I mirror my current configuration on the WD Black, to transfer to another HDD? (possibly the 250?)...so I don't lose everything
2.b. How do I install the OS on one disc, then add programs, andupdates on another? I don't have a clue how you guys are running ssd's for the OS, because the default locations for programs always add to the "c." drive...???


SSD is not in the picture
Additional drives will be added as I go along (all because I had to talk the wife in to needing this as it is....additional funds are not there at this time.)
May add Blu Ray drive
I can talk her in to WHS, if I need it.
Please advise
Thanks guys.
post #2 of 14
I run Unraid on one of these. Either way it is best to start a build like that from scratch. You can decide on what you want to run as people will debate forever on which is better and why.
Options:
Win7
Win7 with flexraid
WHS

Non windows based:
Unraid - free for 3 drives
Vortexbox - free
Freenas - free

I have run WHS/Freenas/Vortexbox in the past. I had always wanted to switch to Unraid and once I bought my HPn40l I did. Before that I was running vortexbox.
post #3 of 14
I've been quite interested in the HP microservers for a long time (I think they were showing them off at teched 2 or 3 years ago, they looked very cool, and with the price drops more recently they look quite attractive) so will be interested to know how you get on.

For OS on my home server (running 24x7 on an old Dell with a bunch of disks in it) I've had good experiences running Amahi (Ubuntu version) and Greyhole for storage pooling. Works great with the other computers\tablets\phones in our house: 2 windows desktops (one win7 other 8) an HTPC (win 7 running XBMC), android tablet, 2x android phones and an ubuntu laptop. Great for media storage, backups, crashplan runs well on it, vpn and dynamic dns out of the box and IMO was very easy to set up. I believe it works well on the N40L.

If you're not comfortable with a non-windows home server, these days I'd just go Win7 possibly with flexraid - seems to get some good press around here.
post #4 of 14
You don't need WHS2011 but it's pretty cheap. Cheaper than Windows 7. For a pure server it's a better option IMO.

You can add flexraid anytime. It does not sound like you have enough drives to do that now yet.

I would use the 250GB you have as your OS drive- install WHS11 to that. Then just transplant the 1TB black. Or buy a 3TB and install that. Copy over from the black. Then wipe the black clean to remove the windows folders and files.

I assume you don't want the Dell anymore- Otherwise you would not mention you had parts from it.
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thank you for all the excellent tips, guys...
I played with Freenas for a bit, but the machine I transplanted it on, was never up to the task. I am kind of a sucker for GUI, so I was moderately unimpressed with the "DOS" feel of it. (I know that's not really a qualification, but....)
No experience with Linux or Ubuntu...I have researched a bit, but am afraid of the learning curve. (am I wrong?) Windows 7 with Flexraid intrigues me. Am I not able to utilize the supplied raid 1 or 0 after 7 is installed?
Mfusick,
I have a 3 user copy of 7 that I will be using one sub for the server, if I go that route. And the Dell still is in the mix upstairs, and will be the recipient of the shared material from the server. I just planned to switch some stuff around to keep it going, thinking, with the server, the Dell will need less drive space.

I did see the WHS non-supported version, is around 50 bux, which is ok....and I'm still looking at it...

If I use my copy of 7, with flexraid, will I keep the machine headless? It will run 24-7 also for access.
Also, This machine is sans-dvd drive...can I install 7 via a shared network ODD? I have never created a usb boot drive, and, right now, don't have one large enough...(I've been told 32 gig?)
post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by kevin g. View Post

No experience with Linux or Ubuntu...I have researched a bit, but am afraid of the learning curve.
.....
I have never created a usb boot drive, and, right now, don't have one large enough...(I've been told 32 gig?)

Yeah there is still a bit of a learning curve; windows probably easier if you're used to it. Having said that I spend 95% of my time working (and playing) in Windows, but find the Amahi\Ubuntu combination very easy to run. Most of the Amahi management is done through a fairly nice web interface so most of the time no need for commandline or linux specific stuff. There are occasions though where I do VNC into ubuntu to do something (e.g. recently setting up and checking on crashplan) or need to run a couple of things on the commandline (often things to do with Greyhole storage pooling) so there is a bit of a learning curve, but the wikis usually have things covered pretty well.


To install windows from USB shouldn't require a huge usb drive. I'm pretty sure 8GB was plenty last time I did it and I think it was even less than 4.
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the heads-up on the usb drive size...4 gigs it is...completed the necessary boot commands, and installed the disc on my thumb drive. It took a while, and I figured it out late, so I let it run, and went to bed. I woke up to having most of it copied...except for a couple things that said I needed admin permissions, and to try again. I ran the cmd utility as admin, but not sure how I could run the copy as admin. It looks like I am missing the "autorun" in the copy folder on the drive...but that's the only thing I see.
I had to get to work, so I'm unsure if the Microserver will detect it. We will see tonight.
post #8 of 14
You can use windows 7 if you already own it
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Well, again, Thanks everyone for all the assistance.
Up and running...added Plex, and am in the middle of re-mapping drives and transferring all my goodies over. I hope to purchase a couple extra drives when they come on sale, as well as Flexraid. (possibly even a Blu Ray drive.)
Right now I am trying to come up with a way of making it headless. I don't have a way of RDP-ing in...(Home Premium, does not allow...) I have "Team Viewer" for my PC, and have added it to my parents' PC's, so I can dial in and help them with any problems they may have...(five states away...) But it is kinda klunky...you have to use a key that each PC is assigned, and a "Password of the Day" kind of thing....
Any ideas?
post #10 of 14
I use TightVNC for running my W7 server headless, with TightVNC viewer on my desktop.
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
Looked over TightVNC, and downloaded...I have not had a chance to mess with it yet, but do I need it on both the server, and the "client" side, to make the connection?
post #12 of 14
You only need TightVNC Viewer on the remote client computer.
Edited by DanPackMan - 12/12/12 at 12:11am
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Found it...added on to my client side...Here's a question that arises...The server (if headless) should not have a sign in/log in, with password? I was running more MS updates yesterday, and had to sign back in a couple times...while I was setting up TVNC Viewer, and thought..."how am I to log in if I have to re-start for any reason, in the future..."
post #14 of 14
I do not have a password on my server, so I have not problem re-booting from VNC right back in to windows. Not sure if VNC will show you the password screen or not if you require one.

FYI - I set my server screen resolution to a low setting to make it easier to work with.
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