I've just been talking to one of my classmates that has a small 5 person architectural firm that was previously looking at hiring an IT contractor to setup a file server for them. Over coffee it very quickly became clear that while a full file server would certainly make his office more efficient, the solution was overkill. My suggestion was to consider some sort of simple network attached storage (NAS) until he finally mentioned that they wanted to be able to get to their files remotely and they also wanted a way to get to their desktop computers once in a while. Prying a bit more I also found that backups were being taken home every evening and many backups were getting missed because someone had forgotten to bring the external drive back.
- Why choose a full size server for such a small office when all the computing functions are on individual workstations and really only file and print sharing is wanted.
- They can't afford a full time IT person and even a contractor was going to be costly enough to make them think twice about adding another engineer to the office. In other words do they spend the money on IT or spend it on a person that's going to earn the company income?
- The HP MediaSmart server is based upon Windows Home Server and includes some tasty features:
- Dynamic DNS (TZO) that updates the outside address of their firewall and equates it to a name like somecompany.hphomeserver.com so that you can get to your server from anywhere in the world.
- PNP configuration of your firewall to open up the necessary firewall ports so that you can login through an encrypted web page in order to get or put files onto shared folders.
- Automatic harvesting of media files off workstations so that important pictures/file are collected onto the server
- Automatically wakeup workstations in the middle of the night to ensure that they're all backed up daily
- Remote access also includes a remote desktop (RDP) gateway to get remote control of your desktop
- Upload chosen pictures to public sharing sites like picassa, picturebucket, flickr with the media collector
- Be the central iTunes server for the office
Add the IoSafe disaster proof external USB drive so that backups can be made to a drive that would survive most fires and the subsequent firehoses.
It should be noted that the wakeup and backup feature isn't available on the mac. Instead you can setup a mac scheduler to wake it up and let Time Machine run with the the HP MediaSmart server as the target. (Sorry, the older HP MediaSmart Server 470/475 do not have mac support, but once PowerPack1 is installed you get x64 Vista support)
So instead of blathering on, let's let HP's Scott Paul describe all the new features from the "ShowStoppers" at CES 2009
You can also see the IoSafe guys dunk and cook a hard drive at a house not far from the Las Vegas Convention Center during CES 2009.