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The server console is a cheerful affair that's very easy to navigate. You can view all attached computers and configure backup settings for each one, set up user accounts and create shared folders. You are covered in the event of a disk failure although rather than use RAID, WHS employs folder duplication where, if selected during creation, it simply creates a mirror of a folder on the second hard disk.
Fujitsu Siemens has added a few extra touches itself as the appliance comes with a TwonkyVision MediaServer add-in that enables you to stream multimedia content to digital media receivers. We tested this on a Vista PC using Windows Media Player and Nero ShowTime and found it worked well enough. The Scaleo power management is another preinstalled add-in and this lets you set daily schedules that determine when the appliance is to be woken up. Once outside these times the appliance will be placed in a hibernate mode to save power.
You can add extra services, too, as along with a selection of commercial add-ins, there is a burgeoning community that's churning out free ones. Installing them is easy enough as you copy the relevant .MSI file to the Add-In directory on the Scaleo, select the settings option in the console and load them from here.
For testing we loaded the free FTP Manager add-in that lets you configure the IIS FTP component in WHS. This adds a new menu option to the server console for adding new sites and stopping and starting the FTP services. However, after adding a new site it wouldn't appear in the server console. Although not to be fully recommended, we got round this by gaining full remote administrative access to the Scaleo over RDP and configuring the new FTP service from there, which subsequently appeared in the server console.
The Scaleo delivered a mixed bag of results in our real world performance tests. Copying a 690MB video file over Gigabit Ethernet returned average read and write speeds of 40.5MB/sec and 14MB/sec. Folder duplication appears to have no noticeable overheads as we ran the same test using a non-duplicated folder and saw similar speeds. FTP speeds were also identical as copying the same file using the FileZilla utility returned precisely the same read and write rates.
When compared with the ever increasing number of desktop NAS appliances, the Scaleo 1900 comes up well short in the features department. However, if you want nicely automated client backup, media streaming and the biggest WHS box currently available then the Scaleo Home Server is worth checking out.
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