HP's MediaSmart Server: Second Time's the Charm

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on December 29, 2008

By launching a second version of its MediaSmart Windows Home Server, Hewlett-Packard gets my award for persistence in the face of adversity. I gave the original server a favorable review when it launched in late 2007. What neither I nor HP knew at the time was that the Microsoft software contained a horrible bug that could lead to corruption of both application data and backups stored on the server, which pretty much defeated the whole idea. Even worse,it took Microsoft months to fix the problem.

With a launch like that, it's a little surprising that HP is prepared to try again. But the new version of the MediaSmart server appears to be a solid improvement on the original entrant in a market that doesn't quite exist but that could well become important.
The new version come in two models, the 750 GB ex485 for $599 and the 1 terabyte ex487 for $749. Both will be available on Jan. 5.

Like other home servers, including an assortment of Linux-based products, the MediaSmart server provides three main services: shared networked storage (including remote access via the Web), backup, and media streaming.

The new version adds three welcome improvements. There is full Mac support, including the ability to use the server for Time Machine backups, something that cannot ordinarily be done with non-Apple network attached storage. PacketVideo's TwonkyMedia server makes it easy to stream video and other content to a variety of players, including the Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3. And for those of you who mant belts and suspenders, the MediaSmart server makes it simple to back up your backups to Amazon.com's S3 online storage service.

The MediaSmart server features both USB and eSATA connectors for the addition of external disk storage. It can handle a total of up to 9 TB.

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Reader Comments

Patrick Moorhead

December 29, 2008 01:50 PM

I have the Gen1 and absolutely love it. I attached all my old USB 2.0 hard drives and upgraded some drives for a total of 5TB. It has been very, very reliable, and fast. I hooked it right up to my 1Gbit home network and it screams.

http://blogs.amd.com/patmoorhead/default.aspx

Alex

December 29, 2008 11:48 PM

Here are detailed reviews of Online Backup services, including HP's:
http://www.backupreview.info/category/our-reviews/

Dan

December 30, 2008 12:26 AM

HP sucks. Last 2 times I got an 'HP update', it took a couple of restarts and several hours to get it working right again.

SmilingAssassin

December 30, 2008 01:37 AM

I love the 1st Gen as well. I took it out of my house and put in my business and it works like a charm. I would definetly buy another and bring the 1st gen back home. 1 limitation in gen 1 is that you are limited to 10 PC's but that's OK for now.

Ganesh

December 30, 2008 04:05 AM

Thanks, Stephen Wildstrom.

I am starting up a SOHO and expanding to 50 terminals. Will this fit my business. Budget is ok, but is that available for same config in IN? I doubt.

Podesta

December 30, 2008 06:43 AM

Seems expensive for what it does. One can buy a Mac mini computer for less (particularly with a business or government discount) and have full computer capabilities. A MiniMax external hard drive to go with the mini costs only about a $100 more.

Machater

January 1, 2009 02:18 PM

Podesta you miss the point of what the server does. I suggest you do some reading. It is a bit pricey but you are not going to duplicate its functionality with a minimac and external. Sometimes Mac folks just drive me nuts. Maybe Jobs will come to your house and hook it up for you.

Not necessarily a Win Lover

April 10, 2009 12:41 AM

@Machater

You are so right!

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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