My New Hewlett Packard (HP) Media Server

December 8, 2008

I set goals. Never been much of a new year’s resolution type of guy but every few months I do write my better ideas down somewhere. Then I let those ideas simmer in the back of my mind until one day they decide to hatch. I have had two ideas like this in 2008. First was triathlon. The second was going digital. This is a post about the latter.

We live in a digital world. Analog is out. From mobile phones, music, television; soon it will all be digital. So, what does it take to go digital? Digital storage.

Let me frame the experience. You are buying a new personal computer, look at the hard drive space and think “I will never use up this much space.” Odds are good you have. Earlier this year my wife and I bought a 500 Gigabyte My Book external drive. We’ll never fill that up, right? Wrong. With my former obsession with ripping CD’s at fully uncompressed file sizes (WAV) we ran out of drive space in a matter of months.

Enter HP Media Server. This, my friends, is a ten plus year solution. Here’s the skinny. The server has four slots or “bays” that hold internal hard drives. That’s good because internal drives are almost always cheaper than their external counterparts. Each bay holds a separate internal drive. The HP MediaSmart Server EX470 comes with one drive installed. Run out of space? Just add another drive.

Here is the part that really gives this solution legs. What if at some point we have all four bays loaded? Tell the server you are replacing a drive (take the smallest drive). The server takes the data on that drive and moves it to the other three. You are now free to swap out your smallest drive with a much bigger one. Rinse and repeat!

What makes this possible is the fact that there are no lettered drives to fool with; just the server. By contrast, run out of space on your external storage device and you have to:

  1. Buy a bigger external storage device
  2. Move all your old data to the new device by the manual click and drag method
  3. Retire the old device

At the end of the day you wind up with a dozen different external drives of increasing sizes lined up on your desk. With the media server we avoid all of this. With my digital storage problem now solved I am now free to envision movies, television, music, and whatever else the entertainment world throws at us can be saved and streamed to my X-Box 360 sitting in the living room underneath our 62” 1080P HDTV.

Gadgets rock.

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