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Windows-based NAS a solution

Tags:
  • NAS / RAID
  • Synology
  • Storage
Last response: in Storage
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August 30, 2009 10:11:38 PM

Hi,

I was close to buy the Synology NAS but I wonder if this is really what I want.

With my Popcorn Hour I want to use the MyiHome UPnP server and related jukeboxes. No problem about that if MyiHome is installed on a Windows-based PC.
Problem is that my PC isn't going to stream contents but my NAS will and I can't install MyiHome server on Synology NAS because it is Linux-based and run on a Marvel processor (not an x86 platform).

So the easy solution is to have a NAS based on windows which accepts seamlessly any windows application (like MyiHome) to be integrated/installed on the NAS as if it was on a PC.

Does such a product exist ?

Maybe you'll tell me it is just a PC!!!

But in this case, do you know any small and quiet PC (whether a laptop or an interesting case) having room for 1, 2 or 4 HDD in 2.5" SATA format and able to run Windows XP (even a light/optimized version) ?

More about : windows based nas solution

a b G Storage
August 31, 2009 1:05:34 AM

Most if not all Linux based NAS devices come with CFS/Samba as a base service. Why not store all you media on the NAS and set up a CFS/Samba share and then use whatever windows based pc running whichever application (Popcorn Hour or whatever) you choose to stream the media.

Or you could buy apre-built installed with Windows Home server.
August 31, 2009 7:20:07 AM

chunkymonster said:
Most if not all Linux based NAS devices come with CFS/Samba as a base service. Why not store all you media on the NAS and set up a CFS/Samba share and then use whatever windows based pc running whichever application (Popcorn Hour or whatever) you choose to stream the media.

Or you could buy apre-built installed with Windows Home server.


I agree that using Samba or even NFS, I'll have no problem to share my contents and then mount them on my Popcorn Hour to play.
All NASes support these two sharing protocols.

Things become more tricky if I need something else, for example a jukebox or a UPnP server (like MyiHome) on the NAS. In this case I have to somehow install it.

If I understand what you say, my application (MyiHome) would still be installed on PC, will mount those shares and stream them.

There are 2 problems for doing this:
1/ I'll have two streaming process: one from the NAS to the PC and the other from the PC to the Popcorn Hour

2/ I must let the PC running all the time I have to have access to my contents even if they are not stored there!

Related resources
a b G Storage
August 31, 2009 1:16:19 PM

nalooti said:
I agree that using Samba or even NFS, I'll have no problem to share my contents and then mount them on my Popcorn Hour to play.
All NASes support these two sharing protocols.

Things become more tricky if I need something else, for example a jukebox or a UPnP server (like MyiHome) on the NAS. In this case I have to somehow install it.

If I understand what you say, my application (MyiHome) would still be installed on PC, will mount those shares and stream them.

There are 2 problems for doing this:
1/ I'll have two streaming process: one from the NAS to the PC and the other from the PC to the Popcorn Hour

2/ I must let the PC running all the time I have to have access to my contents even if they are not stored there!


Seems like you're pretty sold on the Popcorn Hour device, either that or you already own it and are now trying to figure out how to make it work. I'm not sure I completely understand what you are trying to do overall, in the big picture. TBH, I'm not sure even if you know how you want to use this device or are sure what your overall media plan is. Ultimately, I guess the question is, what do you want to do with this device and how do you want to implement your media solution? Based on that info we can figure out a solution.

1) Not sure why you would need a PC to act as an intermediary device between the NAS share and Popcorn Hour. If I read the docs correctly, according to the Popcorn Hour Network Share Wiki you can connect the Popcorn Hour box directly to the NAS using the Network share settings. If this is correct, then there is no need to have a PC running between the NAS and Popcorn Hour box.

2) If Popcorn Hour does not have all the functionality to stream all the media you could possibly want to watch/listen to, then I'd look for another solution. However, it seems that it can pretty much decode any/every type of media, has the codecs to play all types of media. There may be functionality limits inherent in Popcorn Hour that only allows one stream at a time; to which I have to ask (rhetorically), do you plan on watching movies while at the same time listening to music through the same device?

Me personally, I have an HTPC (running WinXP) set up in the living room connected to my TV and stereo receiver and then a seperate NAS (running FreeNAS) with a Samba share that I use to stream media from; negating the need for a Popcorn Hour type device. I also use 3rd party apps to establish playlists (VLC, WinAmp, BS Player, WMP, etc) and watch movies. But that's just how I have my HTPC set up.
August 31, 2009 3:44:23 PM

chunkymonster said:
Seems like you're pretty sold on the Popcorn Hour device, either that or you already own it and are now trying to figure out how to make it work. I'm not sure I completely understand what you are trying to do overall, in the big picture. TBH, I'm not sure even if you know how you want to use this device or are sure what your overall media plan is. Ultimately, I guess the question is, what do you want to do with this device and how do you want to implement your media solution? Based on that info we can figure out a solution.


Thanks for your time answering. I see that things are not clear at all (maybe for my bad English - sorry!). So I'll first describe my config.

I own a PCH which is perfect for reading any audio/video codec. But I have not and don't want any internal HDD inside the PCH (there is room inside and even screws for 3.5" and 2.5" HDD are provided but anyway I don't see the point to do it - that's another subject). So, in terms of UPnP protocol, the PCH is used just as a renderer, the UPnP streaming server is my PC (XP pro) for now, and hopefully a NAS in the future.

What is beautiful in PC (XP) environment is that freewares abound and I just have to chose one that suits my needs.

PCH can be used in network in 3 ways: SMB, NFS or UPnP.
SMB and NFS are basics and standard, and supported everywhere (XP, NAS, etc.). Things are different with HTTP streaming and UPnP. Even if UPnP is standard, I’m not sure every server product can work with the UPnP client implemented in PCH. I say this because every NAS vendor claim to be DLNA certified and support some UPnP server. But I’m not sure « that » UPnP server will work with PCH. What I’m sure is that PCH works well with the UPnP server called MyiHome which is a product of the same company (Syabas) . I have already tested it because all I have to do is to install the MyiHome UPnP server on my XP pro, then the client on PCH works well with the server on my XP.
But how about a NAS (most Linux-based and not necessarily on Intel platform. This means, with all the best lucks and if I had the MyiHome source code, I had to compile it for the particular NAS I want and install it there. However these conditions are not met (I have no source code and installation on a NAS is far to be guaranteed).
So in chosing a NAS, I must at minimum be sure that its included UPnP server works with PCH client. Even then, I have no other choice but using « that » UPnP delivered in that NAS (not anything that I like more).
All these constraints linked to a scheme using a NAS as storage and UPnP server, leads me to think that maybe what I want is just a PC. The difference of a PC and a NAS is that the former is open and supports installing any (XP x86) soft, while the latter, because of its particular characteristics supports just a few applications (it’s like comparing a CISC and a RISC processor).
You may say why at the beginning I didn’t think of a PC instead of a NAS. The reasons are :
I want a minimum of consumption, thus min heat and min noise (a PC being general purpose doesn’t meet these requirement necessary).
And I want a number of 2.5 inch HDD (there are 4 available in Synology NAS). BTW I chose 2.5 inch disks because of their low power requirements.
That is why, I think, you have chosen to have an HTPC in your living room instead of any networked media reader (like my PCH). Because you can add any codec or any soft. Not one box that I know can read everything a PC can. So chosing a PC is logic ! (even my PCH can’t read some codecs).
So, maybe that’s the way I have to go. However, what about other conditions ? Will I be able to find a small case, with a low power board/processor and having room for at least 2 HDD in 2.5 inch format (if not 4) ?
In short, even if explanations are long my scheme is very simple.
Now : I have contents on my PC (XP pro), the renderer is a PCH ; they works fine
Tomorrow : I want the contents on a NAS or an HTPC (instead of my current PC), the renderer will still be PCH.
Advantage of NAS : low power consumption (I want to put it on my living room because of Ethernet connection constraints), RAID, 4xHDD
Disadvantage of NAS : not sure I can install what I want in it and not sure its included UPnP works with PCH
Advantage of a PC (or HTPC) : I can install anything I want and my current solution (MyiHome UPnP server)
Disadvantage of a PC (or HTPC) : not sure I can make one with low power requirement supporting 2 or 4 HDD.
Now I try to answer at each point of your post.

chunkymonster said:

1) Not sure why you would need a PC to act as an intermediary device between the NAS share and Popcorn Hour. If I read the docs correctly, according to the Popcorn Hour Network Share Wiki you can connect the Popcorn Hour box directly to the NAS using the Network share settings. If this is correct, then there is no need to have a PC running between the NAS and Popcorn Hour box.


I didn't say that! I though you were suggesting me to that way!
The NAS share works fine with PCH with SMB and NFS. I'm not sure it'll work with UPnP streaming because PCH supports MyiHome which the server part must be installed on a PC i.e. it can't be installed on a NAS! and that's what I want. So with a NAS I'll not have the server part of MyiHome. I'll maybe have another UPnP server but not sure it'll work with PCH!

chunkymonster said:

2) If Popcorn Hour does not have all the functionality to stream all the media you could possibly want to watch/listen to, then I'd look for another solution. However, it seems that it can pretty much decode any/every type of media, has the codecs to play all types of media. There may be functionality limits inherent in Popcorn Hour that only allows one stream at a time; to which I have to ask (rhetorically), do you plan on watching movies while at the same time listening to music through the same device?


That is not at all my intentions. As you said PCH decode every media type. The only functionality I suspect may not work in PCH is its "client" UPnP with "every" UPnP server in the network. It works with MyiHome UPnP server (which I tested on my PC), but how to be sure that it'll work with another UPnP that is part of NAS I want to buy?

chunkymonster said:

Me personally, I have an HTPC (running WinXP) set up in the living room connected to my TV and stereo receiver and then a seperate NAS (running FreeNAS) with a Samba share that I use to stream media from; negating the need for a Popcorn Hour type device. I also use 3rd party apps to establish playlists (VLC, WinAmp, BS Player, WMP, etc) and watch movies. But that's just how I have my HTPC set up.


That's clear.
Your NAS streams in HTTP (when used in UPnP) to your HTPC. Because it is an HTPC, you can install any "client" UPnP supported by the server part UPnP installed on your NAS.
The fact that your "renderer" is an HTPC, you can chose anything that suits your NAS regarding UPnP.

If I use an HTPC in my living room, I'll not need necessarily the PCH since it is also a renderer. However I'll lose one thing: the friendly interface of PCH with a remote (there are maybe equivalent softs and remote on PC ?).
However I can also use my HTPC just as a NAS storage and keeping my PCH as renderer.

Please keep in mind that because of WiFi streaming problems, and since I don't have Ethernet cable everywhere, I must have the NAS or HTPC close to the PCH connected by ethernet wire.

How in your case you would stream a content from your NAS placed elsewhere ? Either you stream from there or you copy the content on you HTPC. If you stream, you must be connected by wire otherwise WiFi may have problems.

The other thing is that everything works fine now and probably tomorrow with SMB/NFS sharing. However, I want to have UPnP (i.e. HTTP streaming) because of its better throughput and the fact that most jukeboxes work over some UPnP server, for example Moviejukebox and Musicjukebox both need MyiHome. And the interface look&feel counts very much for me.

Many thanks
nalooti
August 31, 2009 4:21:54 PM

Here's a nas package that's windows based, and you can run anything on it you would a workstation.
http://ncix.com/products/?sku=37196&vpn=PG.T170W.007&ma...
i pondered one myself but it has some limitations with raid arrays and configurations i wasn't too fond of. if those aren't an issue for you though, it just might be the ticket for ya.
September 1, 2009 7:09:05 PM

endorphines said:
Here's a nas package that's windows based, and you can run anything on it you would a workstation.
http://ncix.com/products/?sku=37196&vpn=PG.T170W.007&ma...
i pondered one myself but it has some limitations with raid arrays and configurations i wasn't too fond of. if those aren't an issue for you though, it just might be the ticket for ya.


thanks for the reply. Actually it hasn't much features. But more importantly, it is true it's based on windows server but nowhere I saw I can install any application I want like I do on XP! Are you sure I can do this? Why they didn't say that? It is a big advantage I can't understand why they don't say it clearly!

nalooti
!