The HP MediaSmart Server and Apple’s Mac OS X

While the HP MediaSmart Server is largely targeted to households with opera...
Introduction
The HP MediaSmart Server is geared towards home users that need to manage, store, share, and
protect an ever-...
An overview of the HP MediaSmart Server
First, let’s take a quick look at the HP MediaSmart Server and the technology behi...
Figure 2. HP MediaSmart Server hardware.




The HP MediaSmart Server Control Center is a small Windows-based program that...
The good news is that Apple integrated SMB file sharing in Mac OS X 10.1 (the current Mac OS is
10.5—very few Apple system...
Comparing functionality between Mac OS and Microsoft
Windows
Let’s compare the feature set available to users with the dif...
Administrative Functions
HP MediaSmart Server Control Center
The HP MediaSmart Server Control Center is a consolidated int...
Figure 5. Administrative functions available t
          A                                  through the Wind
             ...
Videos). Mac OS X performs SMB filesystem security checking just as Windows does; if the share is
password protected, the ...
Windows Media Player 118. Digital media receivers (DMRs) receive digital media streams from the
HP MediaSmart Server over ...
there must be at least one Windows-based system on the network for administrative tasks. In some
cases (e.g. loading photo...
For more information
                           For the HP sales office nearest you, please refer to your local phone dire...
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The HP MediaSmart Server and Apple's Mac OS X

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Transcript of "The HP MediaSmart Server and Apple's Mac OS X"

  1. 1. The HP MediaSmart Server and Apple’s Mac OS X While the HP MediaSmart Server is largely targeted to households with operating systems running Microsoft® Windows®, Mac users can still take advantage of many of the important features of the server. Contents Introduction ......................................................................................................................................... 2 An overview of the HP MediaSmart Server ............................................................................................. 3 Features .......................................................................................................................................... 3 Hardware and software .................................................................................................................... 3 File system....................................................................................................................................... 4 Comparing functionality between Mac OS and Microsoft Windows .......................................................... 6 Overview ........................................................................................................................................ 6 Administrative Functions .................................................................................................................... 7 File sharing ..................................................................................................................................... 8 Backups .......................................................................................................................................... 9 iTunes ............................................................................................................................................. 9 Media streaming .............................................................................................................................. 9 Photo Webshare ............................................................................................................................ 10 Remote access ............................................................................................................................... 10 Conclusions ...................................................................................................................................... 10 For more information .......................................................................................................................... 12
  2. 2. Introduction The HP MediaSmart Server is geared towards home users that need to manage, store, share, and protect an ever-increasing amount of digital content. Precious and often irreplaceable photos, music, videos, and other valuable documents are often scattered on various computers around the house or on remote web pages somewhere on the Internet. Plus, a growing number of households are using their computers to manage their finances, and keep valuable “life” documents such as wills, home inventories, and medical records. The desire to easily share your digital entertainment media and protect valuable documents demands a centralized repository that promotes sharing while providing protection from data loss. The HP MediaSmart Server is an excellent solution for the dilemma of managing a home’s digital resources. It seamlessly supports up to ten PCs over the household network, providing file sharing services, supporting web-based photo sharing, automatically backing up the PCs and as a center for digital entertainment (e.g., streaming media). Importantly, it also supports remote access to files and PCs from anywhere there is an Internet connection. But what about households that have Apple products? Because the HP MediaSmart Server is based on Microsoft’s Windows Home Server operating system, it is necessarily more Windows-friendly—can Macs take advantage of the HP MediaSmart Server? The answer is “yes.” There are several important features of the HP MediaSmart Server that can be accessed from either a Windows-based system or a Mac (running Mac OS X). There are some features that are accessible, but with limited functionality, and there are a few features that require a Windows-based system to access. This paper takes a look at those features, illustrates the differences, and describes ways to leverage the HP MediaSmart Server in a mixed operating system environment1. Figure 1. The HP MediaSmart Server in a mixed-OS environment. 1 When we say “mixed operating system environment” for this paper we mean Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows (excludes Linux). Note that Mac systems running some form of virtualization software (e.g. Apple’s Bootcamp, Parallels, or VMWare Fusion) count as a PC, not a Mac. 2
  3. 3. An overview of the HP MediaSmart Server First, let’s take a quick look at the HP MediaSmart Server and the technology behind it. The HP MediaSmart Server provides server functionality for family members—giving users convenient access to their digital content from anywhere they have access to their home network or the Internet. Features Features for users that are on a Windows-based computer include: • A photo sharing tool that lets users create photo albums and share them with friends and relatives across the Internet. • A way to serve up iTunes music—any computer system on the network that runs iTunes (including PCs and Macs) can access iTunes music from the HP MediaSmart Server shared library. • An integrated and automated network-wide backup and restore capability—the HP MediaSmart Server is automatically configured to backup every Windows-based PC2 on the network every day. • Support for Xbox 360™, Internet connected TV’s, or other Windows Media® Connect-supported devices, allowing enjoyment of digital media on the family’s entertainment center. • Storage management functionality that can be setup to duplicate selected folders on separate hard disk drives as an added layer of protection. It also provides easy expansion of hard disk storage as needs grow, and without any complicated system-level commands. Hardware and software The HP MediaSmart Server is essentially a small PC, designed from the ground up as a home server. Design emphasis is on high performance network connectivity, quietness, and the ability to handle a large amount of disk storage supported by a range of interfaces. The modern appearance fits nicely in a home environment, for example, the administrator has the ability to vary the brightness of the LED indicators on the chassis. Each hard disk drive in the HP MediaSmart Server is enclosed in a carrier that unlatches and slides out of the enclosure once the front door is opened (Figure 2). The carriers require no tools to remove/insert, use no cables, and can be hot-swapped (removed or inserted without powering down the HP MediaSmart Server). The carriers also isolate much of the vibrations or noise from the hard disk drives to reduce overall noise emissions from the unit. The I/O subsystem supports up to four internal hard disk drives, an external serial-attached (SATA) interface, and up to four external USB hard disk drives. In conjunction with the Windows Home Server operating system, hard disk drives can be added and removed “on the fly,” permitting easy expansion of available storage without complicated disk management processes. 2 PCs must be running Windows XP, Windows MCE, or Windows Vista (32-bit systems only). 3
  4. 4. Figure 2. HP MediaSmart Server hardware. The HP MediaSmart Server Control Center is a small Windows-based program that runs on the client PC and is the graphical user interface (GUI) for the casual user to easily access shared folders, HP Photo Webshare, the iTunes server and the Windows Home Server Console. The control center GUI itself is not available to Mac OS users, but for the most part the functionality is available through some other means. In subsequent sections we will discuss the specifics of how a Mac user can recreate the functionality of the HP MediaSmart Server Control Center using standard Mac OS X features. Functionality provided by the Windows Home Server operating system also depends upon Windows- based clients and will be limited on a Mac OS X system. This functionality includes Windows Home Server administrative functions (e.g., maintaining accounts on the HP MediaSmart Server, managing remote access), automated backup, restore and PC health monitoring. File system The file system supported by Windows Home Server (and thus supported by the HP MediaSmart Server) is one of the strongest features of the product. To make management and use easier, Windows Home Server introduces a new disk management technology called Windows Home Server Drive Extender. Drive Extender manages all of the hard disk drives in the server, and presents them to users on the network as a single large volume. Drive Extender also introduces Folder Duplication, a new way of protecting data. Folder Duplication is enabled/disabled by the administrator (using the Windows Home Server Console, only available from a PC). Folders with duplication enabled are automatically and transparently copied to two separate hard disk drives to protect the files against a hard disk drive failure. For example, you would probably enable Folder Duplication for a library of digital photos; if a hard disk drive failure makes one of the drives inaccessible, all of your photos are still available on the other hard disk drive. (Note that if there is only one hard disk drive, Folder Duplication is not available.) Once set up, Drive Extender is inherent in Windows Home Server, irrespective of the client operating system that is accessing the file system on the server. Of particular importance to Mac OS users is the availability of the file system on the network. Windows Home Server exports selected sharepoints of its filesystem on the network using Microsoft’s Server Message Block (SMB) application-level network protocol. SMB is used mainly on Windows systems to share access to files and printers between nodes on a network. 4
  5. 5. The good news is that Apple integrated SMB file sharing in Mac OS X 10.1 (the current Mac OS is 10.5—very few Apple systems would be running 10.1 as it was an early release of Mac OS X)3. Additionally, some enhancements were made in the 10.5 version of Mac OS X to make it easier to access SMB sharepoints. The bottom line is that any functionality that relies on accessing sharepoints on the HP MediaSmart Server is available equally on Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X (Figure 3). For example, Mac OS X users may access photos on the HP MediaSmart Server Pictures sharepoint, importing them into iPhoto on the Mac system to create books, calendars, and order prints. Figure 3. HP MediaSmart Server shared filesystems are available from both Windows and Mac OS X-based systems. 3 See http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=106471 5
  6. 6. Comparing functionality between Mac OS and Microsoft Windows Let’s compare the feature set available to users with the different operating systems. Obviously, a Windows-based system has access to all of these features; in some cases Mac users have similar or somewhat limited access. Overview Table 1 illustrates a summary of the feature set that is available for each of the different operating systems. Each feature is described in detail in the following sections. Table 1. Rating of the functionality available on the HP MediaSmart Server under Mac OS X. Feature/Functionality Degree of access to Notes Ease of functionality4 implementing None Full in Mac OS X HP MediaSmart Mac OS cannot access the HP MediaSmart Server N/A Server Control Center Control Center, however with few exceptions the functionality is available by other means. Windows Home Mac OS cannot execute the Windows Home N/A Server Connector and Server Connector, nor can it access the Windows Console Home Server Console. A Windows-based PC is required to access the administrative functions provided by these interfaces. File sharing File sharing is available through the Mac OS file EASY sharing interface (the Finder). Backups Backups are not automatic, and must be done MEDIUM manually either through a third-party product or manual copies. iTunes Users can manually copy their music to the HP EASY MediaSmart Server; this music is then available to iTunes users on the network. Media streaming Streaming media is accessible through the file EASY system. A version of Microsoft Windows Media Player is available for Mac OS X, and media may be streamed from the HP MediaSmart Server via file sharing. Photo Webshare Photo Webshare may be accessed with the Safari MEDIUM web browser, however, placing photos on the Photo Webshare has limited functionality. Remote access Mac OS X users can remotely access the shares on N/A the HP MediaSmart Server, but cannot remotely access computers. Even though it is web-based, the remote access interface requires Windows Explorer 6 or better, which is not supported on Mac OS X. 4 While this is somewhat subjective, it indicates a general ability to access the functionality from a Mac. 6
  7. 7. Administrative Functions HP MediaSmart Server Control Center The HP MediaSmart Server Control Center is a consolidated interface to the various functions of the HP MediaSmart Server, the User’s Guide, and to the Windows Home Server Console (Figure 4). Generally, the functions accessed by the HP MediaSmart Server Control Center are either not applicable (e.g. the User’s Guide) or may be accessed in another way. These functions include: HP Photo Webshare—The Photo Webshare interface is browser-based, and as such is available through the Mac OS X browser Safari. See “Photo Webshare” below. Server/Photos/Music/Video sharepoints—these sharepoints are available through the Mac OS X finder. See “File Sharing” below. Figure 4. HP MediaSmart Server Control Center for administration of and access to the HP MediaSmart Server. Windows Home Server Console—The Windows Home Server Console is not accessible from Mac OS X, and the administrative functions it provides must be accessed from a Windows-based system. See “Windows Home Server Console” below. Backup Now—The Backup Now command initiates an immediate backup of the computer on which the HP MediaSmart Server Console is running. This function is not applicable to Mac OS X, since any backups to the HP MediaSmart Server are either performed manually or by a third-party software package. Settings for iTunes—These settings control how the HP MediaSmart Server software manages iTunes on the client PC, and are not applicable for a Mac (since the HP MediaSmart Server software doesn’t run on the Mac). See “iTunes” below. Help and Support—The help and support tab accesses the HP MediaSmart Server User’s Guide, a link to online help and product registration, and a link to order accessories from HP. These are largely not applicable to a Mac user, although the links could be accessed via Safari for additional information. Windows Home Server Console Windows Home Server Console is the main interface to Windows Home Server administrative functions on the HP MediaSmart Server (Figure 5). The most important of these functions include adding/modifying accounts, setting up remote access, setting sharing permissions on shared folders, and storage management (enabling/disabling folder duplication and adding/removing hard drives). Since a Windows-based system is required to access these administrative functions, none of them are available to a Mac OS X user. 7
  8. 8. Figure 5. Administrative functions available t A through the Wind dows Home Serv Console. ver File sharing As previoously describe file sharing is one of the strongest fea ed, g e atures of the H MediaSma Server, HP art and one of the easiest to access fro Mac OS X. Because Ma OS X is cap t om ac pable of sharing files and printers with Microsoft Windows, th HP MediaS w t he Smart Server sshares are visible from a M OS X Mac system (ggiven the prop authorization for protec per cted shares). Figure 6. Th HP MediaSma Server shares appear in the fin he art nder under “Shar red” items. The HP MediaSmart Server shares a M appear under the Mac OS X Finder wind r dow as a “Sh hared” filesystem (Figure 6). U m Users can peru the filesys use stem hierarchy as with any other filesyste including y em, the user’s file folders o the HP Med s on diaSmart Serv and the de ver efault shares ( (Music, Photos Public, and s, 8
  9. 9. Videos). Mac OS X performs SMB filesystem security checking just as Windows does; if the share is password protected, the system will ask for the proper username/password combination. In addition, filesystem access control (read, write, execute) is maintained. The ability to access HP MediaSmart Server shares opens up much of the other functionality, including backups, media streaming and general file sharing. For example, Apple’s iLife applications (iTunes, iPhoto, and iMovie) can access shared volumes on the server as if they were local on the Mac. Backups One of the major advantages of the HP MediaSmart Server in a Windows environment is that of automatic backups. Windows Home Server automatically searches for PCs on the network and establishes an automatic backup schedule. When first discovered, the entire filesystem of a PC is backed up—sufficient to restore the system from scratch if necessary—from then on, incremental backups are performed. Systems running Mac OS X will not be backed up by Windows Home Server. However, a user may still back their files up to the HP MediaSmart Server, either manually (using drag and drop copying or Applescript) or by third-party software that performs backups to a SMB filesystem. In Mac OS X 10.5 (“Leopard”), Apple introduced a sophisticated backup system known as Time Machine5. During the introduction of Microsoft Windows Home Server in early 2007, Microsoft publicly announced that the not-yet released Time Machine would be supported, however eventually Apple chose not to include that capability—at least in the initial release. Should that feature (allowing the use of an SMB filesystem as a Time Machine backup volume) be introduced, it will be an important capability in the coexistence of Mac OS X systems and the HP MediaSmart Server. iTunes Apple’s iTunes utility6 is a popular way of organizing and playing music, movies, TV shows, and podcasts. The iTunes application runs on both Macs and PCs, and has a built-in sharing capability such that users can view each other’s iTunes libraries (or subsets of their libraries). The HP MediaSmart Server supports iTunes sharing, and expands on it by automatically aggregating music from client PCs to the server. The aggregation process is part of the HP MediaSmart Server software on the client PC; it periodically checks to see if new music has been added to the client’s iTunes library, and if so, copies the music to the server’s music folder (actually to a subfolder based on the user’s name). On the server side, another process periodically checks for new music anywhere in the Music folder; when found, the new music is incorporated into the server’s iTunes shared music. The entire process results in the music collection being aggregated from the PCs to the server, and available to everyone on the network7. Further, because the HP MediaSmart Server acts as a shared server, it does not count toward the number of devices that are allowed by ITunes to play music in the household. For Mac users to share music on the iTunes server, music must be manually copied to the Music shared folder on the HP MediaSmart Server for discovery by the server’s aggregating process. Using file sharing (as described above), a Mac user finds the raw media (easily done in iTunes), and copies it to the Music folder on the HP MediaSmart Server. After a short interval (configurable through the Windows Home Server Console), the music will be available to other iTunes applications on the network. Media streaming You can stream music, videos, and pictures from a HP MediaSmart Server to any supported digital media receiver (DMR), such as an Xbox 360, or to a supported digital media player, such as 5 http://www.apple.com/macosx/features/timemachine.html 6 http://www.apple.com/itunes/ 7 Users can also choose to only allow certain playlists to be exported. 9
  10. 10. Windows Media Player 118. Digital media receivers (DMRs) receive digital media streams from the HP MediaSmart Server over a wired or wireless home network. Microsoft provides a Mac-based version of the Windows Media Player application9, which can open media files on the HP MediaSmart Server using file sharing. Thus a Mac OS X system is able to stream media from the HP MediaSmart Server using this application. Similarly, Apple’s QuickTime Player10 (which also runs under Windows) will stream content from the HP MediaSmart Server to a client PC. Photo Webshare The HP Photo Webshare is a web application that allows users to load and organize photos and videos on the HP MediaSmart Server, and manage who can view and/or save them. It also provides an automated interface to snapfish.com, an online photo service. The shared photos appear as a website on the Internet (once Remote Access is configured); visitors to the Photo Webshare website can peruse photos, upload new photos (if given permission), view slide shows, and order prints through a user-friendly interface. Since the Photo Webshare is browser-based, accessing it, managing visitors and photo albums, and uploading photos can be done under Mac OS X. The exception is the HP photoloader ActiveX plug-in that is loaded into Internet Explorer when the user wishes to load photos onto the Photo Webshare. The photoloader plug-in provides a flexible user interface that lets users select/unselect multiple photos for loading and rotate photos before loading them. Because ActiveX plug-ins are Windows specific, photoloader will not run under Mac OS X. Mac OS X users can still upload photos, however without the photoloader plug-in, photos must be individually selected for loading. Remote access The HP MediaSmart Server, in conjunction with Windows Home Server, gives users the ability to access their home server files remotely, to transfer files to and from the server, and to login onto their home PCs over the Internet11. Remote access to the HP MediaSmart Server involves registering a personalized Internet address with a Domain Name Service (DNS), and configuring the household router to allow specific inbound traffic. During setup (managed through a step-by-step wizard), users specify a DNS vendor (there are two choices: Microsoft and TZO.com12), resulting in personalized web addresses such as www.smiths.hpmediasmartserver.com. Once configured, the household’s HP MediaSmart Server is accessed through the URL provided by the DNS vendor. Any browser will work, including Safari, to access the home page. However, to remotely login to a PC on the home network through the HP MediaSmart Server, the remote browser must be Internet Explorer 6 or better. Since Microsoft no longer supports Internet Explorer under Mac OS X, this restriction prevents remote Mac users from accessing PCs on the household network. Mac users with any other browser (e.g. Safari) can still peruse shared files (with access permission of course), but the capability of remotely logging in to a PC is not an option. Conclusions The HP MediaSmart Server is a new way of providing true server functionality to today’s digital family, including families with mixed Windows- and Mac OS X-based environments. Households with one or more Mac systems can use much of the functionality of the HP MediaSmart Server, however, 8 See http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=76841 for a list of supported DMRs that work with Windows Home Server. 9 See http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/player/mac/default.aspx 10 See http://www.apple.com/quicktime/player/ 11 Logging into a computer requires that computer to be running Windows XP Professional, Windows XP MCE, Windows Vista Business or Windows Vista Ultimate. 12 Some charges may apply 10
  11. 11. there must be at least one Windows-based system on the network for administrative tasks. In some cases (e.g. loading photos onto Photo Webshare), activities are easier from a Windows-based system. Mac users can take advantage of the data protection features of the HP MediaSmart Server, fully utilize its shared folder capabilities, and access server files remotely. The Mac iLife applications (iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie) can fully access the media files on the server, and Mac users can remotely access files from anywhere on the Internet. The bottom line is that the HP MediaSmart Server fits well into a mixed Windows/Mac OS environment. Mac users can still take advantage of most of its features, get the data protection it provides, and leverage sharing of media anywhere there is Internet access. 11
  12. 12. For more information For the HP sales office nearest you, please refer to your local phone directory, or call the HP regional office listed below. Corporate and North American Headquarters Hewlett-Packard 3000 Hanover Street Palo Alto, CA 94304-1185 Phone: (650) 857-1501 Fax: (650) 857-5518 Regional Headquarters Latin America Hewlett-Packard Waterford Building, 9th Floor 5200 Blue Lagoon Drive Miami, Florida 33126 USA Phone: (305) 267-4220 Europe, Africa, Middle East Hewlett-Packard Route du Nant-d’Avril 150 CH-1217 Meyrin 2 Geneva, Switzerland Phone: (41 22) 780-8111 Asia Pacific Hewlett-Packard Asia Pacific Ltd Hewlett-Packard Hong Kong Ltd. 19/F, Cityplaza One 1111 King’s Road Taikoo Shing Hong Kong Phone: (852) 2599-7777 © 2008 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. The only warranties for HP products and services are set forth in the express warranty statements accompanying such products and services. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting an additional warranty. HP shall not be liable for technical or editorial errors or omissions contained herein. Microsoft and Windows are U.S. registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. xxxx-xxxxEN, January 2008

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