I am about to build a media server for my house. It will have 10 hard drives in it (and I'll add another 10 over the next year or so).
Right now I am trying to figure out the best OS solution. I want a windows based solution (NOT FreeNAS or anything like that).
I had planned on installing WHS, and with the announcement that it is being essentially discontinued, I'm not sure what I should do. I REALLY liked the web interface, and that I could run it headless. I am trying to explore my options and get some opinions.
I COULD just install a regular copy of Windows 7 and enable RDC and control it remotely that way. Installation of software would be easy enough, and FlexRaid would be an option for managing my RAID array (allowing me to purchase a cheaper RAID card). Or of course I just get a more expensive card and have the OS view the single large drive.
I could install Windows Server. It would give me data pools, and other "server" tools that might come in handy trying to tweak the performance. However, then of course I have to deal with software that won't install on "server" versions of Windows. Anyone know if Server 2008 R2 has the same web access that WHS does? Honestly, if not, I'm not sure the benefits outweigh the potential issues here.
Maybe Windows 8? Not sure what the benefits here would be. I believe it also has drive pools. I hate the metro interface though.
Personally, I'd just go the cheap route and set up Windows 7 with RDC or VNC or maybe someone's come up with some kind of web based control system if you look. How often do you really need to mess with a media server anyway? Maybe once a month to install the latest round of updates, and you could potentially automate that.
Windows Server just seems like overkill for what you're looking to do, both in terms of capability and the associated expense.
Of course just because WHS has been discontinued doesn't (necessarily) mean that it won't be supported for quite a few years to come. Might be worth taking a quick look at the specifics as far as the product lifecycle for WHS. You might be able to buy WHS now, and be able to use it for a good 3-4 more years before it hits EOL. By then, you will probably be looking to get a new server anyway.
I considered that briefly, but dismissed it... But, now I'm thinking that might not be a bad idea. I think WHS is like $50, and a full Win7 is like $75 or something. I'd rather use that license for another computer