Windows Home Server
I've been going through my old bits box at home and think I have enough bits and pieces to build a Windows Home Server box for myself so I was wondering if anyone has done this already and what they think of it. As for the spec of my box I have listed it below so let me know what you think I know its fairly low but I'm only connecting 2 machines to it and it would be rare that both are connected at once.
Pentium 4 1.4Ghz
1Gb PC800 RIMMS (4*256Mb)
40Gb IDE HDD (System Drive)
PCI SATA Card
1*400Gb and 1*320Gb SATA HDD's (Data Drives)
I used to have a home server but now simply use a nas.
Shared drives and shared printers are a doddle and the spacethat it takes up is minimal.
YOu get get a 500gb NAs for about £70
RIMMS? Wow!! Not seen them for years... although they were a bit of a flash in the pan really, weren't they?
Looks like a decent spec really, but you haven't said what you plan to do with it. I have a pc at home that I use as a development webserver, I call it Donkey. It's an AMD K6-2 400Mhz with 384Mb RAM and a smallish hard drive running Debian. It's so old it will only take an AT keyboard but I don't have one connected to it anyway, I use SSH from my PC to get in if I need to. It might sound underspec'd but it does its job very well, it's not slow. I'm quite attached to Donkey, we've been through a lot together.
If it's just for network storage then I agree with what's been said already - you'd be better off getting a NAS box, the power consumption on a PC left on all the time can only be justified by web/mail server duty or similar IMHO, and even then you'd be better off using Linux without a GUI - saves those valuable system resources for real processing.
If you are going to leave it on all the time you might consider donating the idle time to The World Community Grid.
I've got hold of a copy of Windows Home Server and want to give it a spin. Its going to be used for media streaming and general file storage. The other thing is as we are systems builders we are looking at building Home Servers for customers so if I can get to grips with it first then all its all for the better.
I was in the beta for Windows Home Server and orders the RTM the day it came out; have been using it ever since. I love it.
The spec you have there is adequate for your needs; I self-built and am running on an AMD Athlon 2.0GHz with 1 GB RAM, and it's running very quickly. My two hard drives are curiously enough exactly the same sizes as your SATA ones.
I would forget about the IDE drive and just use the SATA. MS strongly recommend you use the largest disk you have as the first disk, which will contain the 20GB system partition and the primary storage partition. This is so that the second disk is then used for the data duplication feature. It's possible to use a different partitioning system, but not simple, and Windows Home Server works best when it can manage the server storage entirely itself.
The main advantage of WHS over other types of NAS are that in addition to the very good backup system, and the data duplication that is regarded to have the edge over a standard RAID array, you can customise it to do much more than the out-of-box feature set because it's based on Server 2003, and therefore you can do almost anything with it that you can with Server 2003.
Mine is running SqueezeCentre, PopFile, plus a TV tuner card with recording software and program guide. I have also set up IAS to use with my wireless AP for WPA-Enterprise using PEAP, run my own DNS which delegates to my ISP or my school's DNS via my hardware VPN, and set up RRAS to have my own encrypted VPN server so I can dial-in to my home network while out and about. I can even get to my other computers while out and about if needed by issuing a WOL signal from the server to bring them out of hibernate. I've also played around with some other things you can only really do with an always-on computer, such as writing a syslog aggregator to log my AP and router syslogs to an SQL Server database which I can then call up via a web interface. If you had enough home computers to make it worthwhile you could run WSUS (I did for a while but got bored of looking after both my own and the schools). I also tried running Debian under Virtual Server on it for a while, though that was more out of curiosity than need.
By the way, if you are looking at Media Streaming via Windows Media Connect, you may be disappointed to hear that it only ships with WMC 2.0, which doesn't support streaming to the PS3, or some devices like digital picture frames. Normally the upgrade path would be to install Windows Media Player 11, which includes WMC 3.0, but there is no official way to install this on Windows Server. However, this guide on Microsoft's Windows Home Server Forums will allow you to install WMP11 and you'll be laughing.
@ AngryTechnician - Thanks for all the information. With regards to media streaming I am only going to be streaming to either my laptop which runs Vista Home Premium or my desktop which runs Windows 7.