What is the BEST OS for home media server?

Elpee

Weaksauce
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May 6, 2013
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Need to be clear from beggining.
Do not discuss about Unix, Linux OS alike
Do not discuss about the price
Just focus on tech issues. :D

So, what is the BEST OS for home media server now? Windows 7, 8, Windows Home server, Windows server 2012 essentials or windows server 2012. And why? Thank you very much for the inputs.
 

Dephcon

[H]ard|Gawd
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Linux is a tech issue.... But if you're not comfortable with Linux and have an MSDN subscription you might as well go with 2012 an use storage spaces I guess.

Don't use the desktop versions or home server, but if you want to have data parity look at unraid or flexraid on top of windows.
 

Phog

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There is a time and a place for Windows 7 x64. Some transcoders and media tools in general work better on 7 than server.
 

dandragonrage

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What sources, and what clients? For Cablecard source and/or Xbox 360 as an extender, go with Windows Media Center (Windows 7 or 8 based).

If just DLNA then most any OS will work. Use Universal Media Server in that case (or Plex, which people here seem to love, but I recommend UMS).
 

thedge

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I like 2003 Server for my Plex server. Usually <1GB RAM usage on my ESXi box. No issues so far, had over 100 days uptime until recently.
 

FnordMan

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Need to be clear from beggining.
Do not discuss about Unix, Linux OS alike
Do not discuss about the price
Just focus on tech issues. :D

So, what is the BEST OS for home media server now? Windows 7, 8, Windows Home server, Windows server 2012 essentials or windows server 2012. And why? Thank you very much for the inputs.

so you ask for the "BEST" and then disqualify several very good choices and provide zero info on what you want to do with this machine.

seriously, there's very good options for cheap home NAS setups using both Linux and FreeBSD that are all web-based aside from the initial setup.
 
Joined
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Need more data. You don't specify what you need it to do.

However my personal preference is WinServer2k3 x64 R2.
Does everything I need it to do, and is pretty free of bloat.
 

Elpee

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May 6, 2013
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Sorry guys if my post made you confused. Let me clear it up a bit.
Yes, I have an MSDN subscription and therefore I don't care much about the price and linux OS either.
With over 10 drives, my home media server functions as a NAS streaming stuff over home network to HTPCs and HD Players. I actually have a Synology DS212j, but it's bound in 2 bays, I love it tho.
I was told uptime of Windows 7 or 8 based is limited when I run it as a home server. The more time it's up the slower it runs, correct?
Hey, this is the first time I've heard UMS. Is that good?
Thanks.
 

FnordMan

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I was told uptime of Windows 7 or 8 based is limited when I run it as a home server. The more time it's up the slower it runs, correct?
Thanks.

Bit of misinformation there. i've got a HTPC box that only reboots maybe once every two or three months whenever I remember to apply updates. Doesn't slow down one bit. Don't exactly use it as a server though as it's not intended for that purpose. (I do plop videos on it via the network though) File serving and NAS is done by a Linux box and a ZFS array as data integrity is rather important to me. (seriously, ZFS is a good FS/RAID for NAS boxen)
 

dandragonrage

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Hey, this is the first time I've heard UMS. Is that good?

Everyone here loves Plex for some reason so UMS doesn't get mentioned much.

UMS is Java and runs on multiple OS. It supports many different clients such as PS3, Xbox 360, LG Smart TV and more (those 3 are what I've used it with). It uses DLNA like Plex. It's FOSS.

It used to be called PS3 Media Server. It's gotten better since then.
 
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Lost-Benji

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Jun 23, 2013
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There is a time and a place for Windows 7 x64. Some transcoders and media tools in general work better on 7 than server.
Windows 7 = Need for Hardware RAID card when on-board ports filled.
so you ask for the "BEST" and then disqualify several very good choices and provide zero info on what you want to do with this machine.

seriously, there's very good options for cheap home NAS setups using both Linux and FreeBSD that are all web-based aside from the initial setup.
Winblows can be made dead stable and easy to use just the same as any other platform.

I was told uptime of Windows 7 or 8 based is limited when I run it as a home server. The more time it's up the slower it runs, correct?
I am happy to make a BS call on that old wives tale.

Server 2012 is good for out of the box serving but has more headaches than plain Winblows for serving/sharing folders.
My Norco 4224 just runs Windows 8 and runs for months at a time before reboot it in the name of clearing junk. Your choice realy, if you want this box to hold a decent (little) ATI or nVidia card for Transcodes, then you may as well run it to a TV for playback duties like I do.
For example,I have the following:
8x 3TB Seagates in Storage Space Pool - Parity
8x 2TB Seagates In Storage Space Pool - Parity
4x 500GB WD Black enterprises in HW-RAID-0 array for 400+ MB/sec R/W (LAN Party goodness)
4x 500GB Seagates in RAID-10 (Intel ICH9R)
2x M1015s (LSI IT firmwared) HBA's
1x 1TB Seagate Enterprise (for OS)
1x 150GB Raptor-X (for torrents)
GA-X38-DS5
8GB DDR-II 800
Q9550
Windows 8 Pro with MCE and Term-server patched.

First "Admin" account is for RDP management and doing all my P2P with, second local account is "Media Centre" and fed direct to TV and has a USB MC remote attached.
45+TB on stable desktop OS and write speeds to array is about 75MB/sec average. Not a single dropped array or drive.
 

Elpee

Weaksauce
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May 6, 2013
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69
Wow, thanks a lot.
But still now not so sure which windows OS to pick. They all look good for home server ... :(
 

-Dragon-

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Full blown server 2012 will give you the most options, why not just go with that.
 

oplin

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Messages
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I'm running 2012 Server and have my media server as a VM and i couldn't be happier. Have 10 disks in Raid 6 as of now, but am going to try out Disk Spaces or whatever it is they call it, was going to wait till it fails or Sp1 or 2012 R2 came out so they could work out any bugs.

Mezzmo runs on it fine, decoding 1080p movies is fine. VM has 8 gigs of ram and can use all 8 cores of the i7 on it.
 

cortexodus

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My dev server runs 2008 R2 with two Hyper-V machines, one guest is server 2012 and the other is server 2008 R2. Unless the power goes out (yea yea, I need another UPS for this box), it'll run forever as far as I can tell.

My file/media/print server runs regular ol' Win7 Pro x64 and I don't even know what its up-time is at this point... It's on a UPS. I think maybe I login via RDP to update Windows every 4-5 months and reboot if needed for updates. Otherwise it's just "always there".

My assessment: You have MSDN, use 2008 R2, it's solid and isn't saddled with that damned annoying tiles interface that makes it a pain in the ass to use in an RDP window.
 

sphinx99

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Dec 23, 2006
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I've been using 2012 Essentials for a while. It gives you the important bits of Server 2012, but the simple setup (I am a strong proponent of spending as little time messing with my storage server as possible) and the very easy client backups and connector give it some of the benefits from WHS. There's also a DLNA server, I believe, but it's useless.

When I rebuild later this year, I will probably switch out of the Windows ecosystem. Storage Spaces is a good start but it's still far too limited for me.
 

dalekphalm

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One thing to keep in mind is that (Unless this has been patched/updated recently) Storage Spaces is still considered buggy and unstable by many. I personally have encountered a number of bugs with Storage Spaces that ultimately lead to my decision to downgrade my Home Server from Server 2012 to WHS 2011.

The Parity Storage Spaces also had terrible write performance (Read was pretty well normal though). If this has since been fixed, and someone can confirm, please let us know!

I've read numerous accounts of people having issues with Storage Spaces. I personally use FlexRAID on my home server (Currently only running 5 HDD's, but I have an SE3016 16 bay expander that I'll eventually fill up). It's flexible in your drive sizes, works on most OS's including linux or windows, and has tons of other benefits.
 

mrkazador

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Jan 21, 2011
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My media server was running win7 x86 for about 1.5 years without a problem. Recently bought a ssd and installed win7 x64. Been running for about 5 months now with no problems and it runs 24/7. I use snapraid for my software raid and junction folders to pool everything together. Works great.
 

Lost-Benji

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Jun 23, 2013
Messages
321
One thing to keep in mind is that (Unless this has been patched/updated recently) Storage Spaces is still considered buggy and unstable by many. I personally have encountered a number of bugs with Storage Spaces that ultimately lead to my decision to downgrade my Home Server from Server 2012 to WHS 2011.

The Parity Storage Spaces also had terrible write performance (Read was pretty well normal though). If this has since been fixed, and someone can confirm, please let us know!

I've read numerous accounts of people having issues with Storage Spaces. I personally use FlexRAID on my home server (Currently only running 5 HDD's, but I have an SE3016 16 bay expander that I'll eventually fill up). It's flexible in your drive sizes, works on most OS's including linux or windows, and has tons of other benefits.

I think I have already answered this.
 

TheDingy

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Jun 15, 2012
Messages
132
Its a little tough to setup if you aren't familiar with it, but I use Nas4Free running serviio in a jail and LOVE it. I have a bunch of space available, can serve to mac/windows/tv's/xbox/ps3 without problems and have never overloaded it. My mac's use it like a time capsule for backups and the windows systems also backup to it. I am running in 6 drive sets with raidz-2, so I can lose any two drives without any problems.
 

MrVining

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Jun 2, 2013
Messages
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I was told uptime of Windows 7 or 8 based is limited when I run it as a home server. The more time it's up the slower it runs, correct?

I would say that is a half truth... maybe even less. If you are browsing the web, downloading / installing things, and so on then yes you are bound to run into memory leaks and other fun things that might bog down your system.

I ran Windows 7 Pro N with only a hand full of things installed (SageTV server, SlySoft AnyDVD HD, Hauppauge software for HDPVR, HDHomeRun software, USB-UIRT software, and drivers for my raid controller). It was running on some pretty solid hardware, but I was over 530 days of run time when I moved. I chose not to install updates as the system was in working order.
 

Elpee

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May 6, 2013
Messages
69
It was running on some pretty solid hardware, but I was over 530 days of run time when I moved. I chose not to install updates as the system was in working order.

Really? Windows 530 days uptime without any updates? Unbelievable... :confused:
 

TheDingy

Limp Gawd
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Jun 15, 2012
Messages
132
Really? Windows 530 days uptime without any updates? Unbelievable... :confused:

For windows that is amazing, I remember novell what a great OS for file and print you could run for YEARS without a reboot or even worrying about security. That was an OS far ahead of its time, too bad the marketing machine of M$ got them.
 
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