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(Slashdot)   Among servers, Apple's Mac Mini is quietly gaining ground   (slashdot.org) divider line 125
    More: Interesting, Mac minis, Apple, high-performance computing, Intel Xeon, ARM architecture, IBM Powerpc, network engineer, SSD  
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4189 clicks; posted to Geek » on 04 Mar 2013 at 3:39 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



125 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2013-03-04 02:00:22 PM  
A coworker bought one of these and a few months later decided he didn't want it (yeah, he's single with extra cash flow). He sold it to me for a fraction of the cost. It's been in my closet for about 2 years, now. It is quiet, fairly cool and utterly reliable. My one issue with it is that I cannot get a remote desktop server working on it (so I can remote to the desktop if need be). Otherwise, file and print sharing, ftp, ssh, apache, you name it- it does it. I could easily see why datacenters would want these.
 
2013-03-04 02:08:34 PM  
Do you just duct tape them to the rack?

The linux part of my brain does want one to play with though.
 
2013-03-04 02:10:57 PM  
Are these things any good for home theatre PCs? I was thinking of replacing my ghetto setup with a cable box and a mini-form PC, like a Mac Mini.
 
2013-03-04 02:21:16 PM  
I have to wonder if future editions of the RPi will eventually fill this niche as well.
 
2013-03-04 02:24:32 PM  

Nadie_AZ: A coworker bought one of these and a few months later decided he didn't want it (yeah, he's single with extra cash flow). He sold it to me for a fraction of the cost. It's been in my closet for about 2 years, now. It is quiet, fairly cool and utterly reliable. My one issue with it is that I cannot get a remote desktop server working on it (so I can remote to the desktop if need be). Otherwise, file and print sharing, ftp, ssh, apache, you name it- it does it. I could easily see why datacenters would want these.


... if you're still running OSX on it, then just click the box for screen sharing:
cdn.appstorm.net
Any VNC client will connect to it.
 
2013-03-04 02:28:05 PM  

hardinparamedic: Are these things any good for home theatre PCs? I was thinking of replacing my ghetto setup with a cable box and a mini-form PC, like a Mac Mini.


Yeah. I've got one serving as a network media server, feeding a touch screen monitor in the kitchen, providing an 802.11g network bridged to my 802.11n network, and connected to my home theater via HDMI. Next step is to hook up a home automation system to it.
 
2013-03-04 02:30:39 PM  
Step 1: Offer colo mac mini service
Step 2: Customer mails mac mini to you
Step 3: Virtualize the osx instance
Step 4: Sell mac minis on Craigslist, Ebay, etc.
Step 5 Profit!

/ No guesswork even
 
2013-03-04 02:47:41 PM  
Wow...this is awesome! ...if it was 2005 and virtualization wasn't mainstream yet.
Why would any data center want 100 machines to oversee as opposed to 1 big, beefy VM host?
 
2013-03-04 02:55:22 PM  

Bonkthat_Again: Wow...this is awesome! ...if it was 2005 and virtualization wasn't mainstream yet.
Why would any data center want 100 machines to oversee as opposed to 1 big, beefy VM host?


Because that data center may have 100 customers who insist on their own iron, and they can charge a little more and simultaneously push maintenance and configuration responsibility back to the customer.
 
2013-03-04 03:05:42 PM  

Theaetetus: Bonkthat_Again: Wow...this is awesome! ...if it was 2005 and virtualization wasn't mainstream yet.
Why would any data center want 100 machines to oversee as opposed to 1 big, beefy VM host?

Because that data center may have 100 customers who insist on their own iron

plastic, and they can charge a little more and simultaneously push maintenance and configuration responsibility back to the customer.
FTFY
 
2013-03-04 03:09:28 PM  
Heh. Fair 'nuff.
 
2013-03-04 03:10:31 PM  

Bonkthat_Again: Wow...this is awesome! ...if it was 2005 and virtualization wasn't mainstream yet.
Why would any data center want 100 machines to oversee as opposed to 1 big, beefy VM host?


Because having just physical machines means that people can't come to you and say "You just need to deploy a VM, it's easy"  resulting in having countless VMs because it's now cheap and easy to add another farking server just to handle one stupid task.

...but I'm not bitter.
 
2013-03-04 03:46:44 PM  

Theaetetus: Nadie_AZ: A coworker bought one of these and a few months later decided he didn't want it (yeah, he's single with extra cash flow). He sold it to me for a fraction of the cost. It's been in my closet for about 2 years, now. It is quiet, fairly cool and utterly reliable. My one issue with it is that I cannot get a remote desktop server working on it (so I can remote to the desktop if need be). Otherwise, file and print sharing, ftp, ssh, apache, you name it- it does it. I could easily see why datacenters would want these.

... if you're still running OSX on it, then just click the box for screen sharing:
[cdn.appstorm.net image 620x508]
Any VNC client will connect to it.


Hang on, let me try that ...
 
2013-03-04 03:52:25 PM  

I_Am_Weasel: Because having just physical machines means that people can't come to you and say "You just need to deploy a VM, it's easy" resulting in having countless VMs because it's now cheap and easy to add another farking server just to handle one stupid task.

...but I'm not bitter.


amen.

In any case, it is not "gaining ground" this is an example of someone using them, but most sane people do not since its a piece of crap for serving in a production environment.
 
2013-03-04 03:57:01 PM  
Or you know, use real hardware meant for 24/7 operation.  5400rpm laptop HDD's are not server class let alone desktop class.
 
2013-03-04 03:57:29 PM  

I_Am_Weasel: Bonkthat_Again: Wow...this is awesome! ...if it was 2005 and virtualization wasn't mainstream yet.
Why would any data center want 100 machines to oversee as opposed to 1 big, beefy VM host?

Because having just physical machines means that people can't come to you and say "You just need to deploy a VM, it's easy"  resulting in having countless VMs because it's now cheap and easy to add another farking server just to handle one stupid task.

...but I'm not bitter.


Ha...  I worked at a job that had single-task physical boxes.
 
2013-03-04 03:59:05 PM  

Bonkthat_Again: Wow...this is awesome! ...if it was 2005 and virtualization wasn't mainstream yet.
Why would any data center want 100 machines to oversee as opposed to 1 big, beefy VM host?


This is (effectively) a blade cluster. You can't run OS X on ESX. You can only legally install OS X on Apple branded hardware, and since they discontinued the Xserve, well, here we are...

Due to Apple licensing restrictions, you may only create and run this virtual machine on Apple-labeled hardware. For more information, see Apple's
Note: The preceding link was correct as of September 27, 2012. If you find the link is broken, provide feedback and a VMware employee will update the link.
You cannot create a Mac OS X Client virtual machine for OS X 10.6 and earlier. Apple does not allow these Client OSes to be virtualized. With Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) onwards, Apple has changed their licensing agreement in regards to virtualization. For more information on creating a Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) virtual machine, see http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?cmd=displayKC&do cType=kc&docTypeID=DT_KB_1_1&externalId=2005334" target="_blank">Installing Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) as a virtual machine in Fusion 4 (2005334). For more information on creating a Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) virtual machine, see http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?cmd=displayKC&do cType=kc&docTypeID=DT_KB_1_1&externalId=2033778" target="_blank">Installing Mountain Lion (OS X 10.8) as a guest operating system in VMware Fusion 5 (2033778)
You can only create a virtual machine using a retail Mac OS X Server disk or image. Virtual machine creation fails when using a disk that came with an Xserve or a Mac Mini Server. Those disks are hardware-specific, and can only be used to install the OS on the physical hardware with which they were shipped. They cannot be used on virtualized hardware.For more information, see http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?cmd=displayKC&do cType=kc&docTypeID=DT_KB_1_1&externalId=1032864" target="_blank">Installing Mac OS X Server on a virtual machine fails with the error: Mac OS X can't be installed on this computer (1032864).For more information, see Creating a Mac OS X Server Virtual Machine
 
2013-03-04 04:00:14 PM  
 
2013-03-04 04:00:57 PM  
Damn. I loaded Mountain Lion on my client over the weekend and now it won't load Snow Leopard server utilities.
 
2013-03-04 04:07:54 PM  

Nadie_AZ: A coworker bought one of these and a few months later decided he didn't want it (yeah, he's single with extra cash flow). He sold it to me for a fraction of the cost. It's been in my closet for about 2 years, now. It is quiet, fairly cool and utterly reliable. My one issue with it is that I cannot get a remote desktop server working on it (so I can remote to the desktop if need be). Otherwise, file and print sharing, ftp, ssh, apache, you name it- it does it. I could easily see why datacenters would want these.


Except that it holds a single Laptop hard drive. You need SAN, NAS, or a bunch of these daisy-chained together...

We had an XServe, and the built in remote management worked pretty well. Is that what you're trying to use, or are you trying a VNC type of solution?
 
2013-03-04 04:10:50 PM  

Nadie_AZ: Damn. I loaded Mountain Lion on my client over the weekend and now it won't load Snow Leopard server utilities.


True. Ticked me off.

/Screen sharing still works.
 
2013-03-04 04:14:30 PM  
It's cute that they are calling it a "server" when all it's doing is running the server software.
 
2013-03-04 04:18:13 PM  

Mikey1969: Nadie_AZ: A coworker bought one of these and a few months later decided he didn't want it (yeah, he's single with extra cash flow). He sold it to me for a fraction of the cost. It's been in my closet for about 2 years, now. It is quiet, fairly cool and utterly reliable. My one issue with it is that I cannot get a remote desktop server working on it (so I can remote to the desktop if need be). Otherwise, file and print sharing, ftp, ssh, apache, you name it- it does it. I could easily see why datacenters would want these.

Except that it holds a single Laptop hard drive. You need SAN, NAS, or a bunch of these daisy-chained together...

We had an XServe, and the built in remote management worked pretty well. Is that what you're trying to use, or are you trying a VNC type of solution?


The internal drive is your boot drive. Either an external Thunderbolt RAID or Thunderbolt to fiber into a SAN. This  is pretty cool too.
 
2013-03-04 04:19:22 PM  

Mikey1969: It's cute that they are calling it a "server" when all it's doing is running the server software.


[quizzical_dog.jpg]
The computers in TFA host web sites, email, databases, etc.. If they aren't servers, what are they?
 
x23
2013-03-04 04:21:27 PM  

Nadie_AZ: Theaetetus: Nadie_AZ: A coworker bought one of these and a few months later decided he didn't want it (yeah, he's single with extra cash flow). He sold it to me for a fraction of the cost. It's been in my closet for about 2 years, now. It is quiet, fairly cool and utterly reliable. My one issue with it is that I cannot get a remote desktop server working on it (so I can remote to the desktop if need be). Otherwise, file and print sharing, ftp, ssh, apache, you name it- it does it. I could easily see why datacenters would want these.

... if you're still running OSX on it, then just click the box for screen sharing:
[cdn.appstorm.net image 620x508]
Any VNC client will connect to it.

Hang on, let me try that ...




you'll probably need to click the "Computer Settings" button and check the VNC box and add a password in as well.

though that 'screensharing' checkbox alone will work with a lot of random iOS control/viewing apps and obviously from other Macs as well.
 
2013-03-04 04:22:50 PM  

hardinparamedic: Are these things any good for home theatre PCs? I was thinking of replacing my ghetto setup with a cable box and a mini-form PC, like a Mac Mini.


Friend of mine researched that concept extensively:  Short answer yes.  Longer answer:  But your must compromise on one of two things:  On the older ones you'll get perfect playback of video due to the discreet video card but no HD audio because Mac doesn't offer drivers to support it and trying to get those drivers running under Linux or Windows is just not going to happen because of the Macatized Video card bios.  On the newer ones you can get your HD audio but its using the Intel onboard video so it suffers from the 47/48FPS issue (where every 48 frames it'll silently drop one).  Personally I could live with the 47/48 problem over not having HD audio and they are a great form factor for the living room.

Personally I bought one of these:
trendsupdates.com

and plunked an older ATX system I had kicking around in it, its bigger but by god do people ever second-take it for the novelty, plus since its full ATX capable you can put in a genuine gaming card.  How's them apples for a steam box ;)
 
2013-03-04 04:26:56 PM  
Still rocking my HP Windows Home Server I bought for almost nothing.  That thing has proven to be surprisingly useful so there's no surprise MS discontinued it.
 
2013-03-04 04:27:46 PM  
So it's like what a few did with PS3s a few years back?

But I guess they call it innovating?

hardinparamedic: Are these things any good for home theatre PCs? I was thinking of replacing my ghetto setup with a cable box and a mini-form PC, like a Mac Mini.



I've been running an Acer mini-desktop on my TV for about 2 years non-stop now.  I choose the model because:

1) it's small, but still has both a bunch of USB ports, a DVD drive, and more importantly, the ability to add e-sata cards.

2) I added an dual-port e-sata card with port multiplier and got 2x 4-bays boxes loaded with 2TB drives = 16TB.

3) installed the Media Browser add-on to Media Center

4) got a wireless Media Center dedicated remote (and keyboard)

5) ripped all my DVDs and have been buying new stuff online.

I've yet to see a single system that comes close.

I'm starting to run out of space... will be getting an 8-bay box, replacing the two 4-bays, and keeping one 4-bays for more drives (and the other 4-bay will be going on the backup system).  Then add 3TB (or 4TB if they can come out) drives.

Just saying that for the price of a mini, you could have a much more serious system.
 
2013-03-04 04:30:07 PM  

GardenWeasel: ugh, cut n paste fail

http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?cmd=displayKC& do cType=kc&docTypeID=DT_KB_1_1&externalId=2005334


just to mention:  You can install ESXi 5.1 on a Mac Pro (tower not book) and yes it'll run Mac OSes as VMs.
 
2013-03-04 04:30:44 PM  

imfallen_angel: So it's like what a few did with PS3s a few years back?

But I guess they call it innovating?

hardinparamedic: Are these things any good for home theatre PCs? I was thinking of replacing my ghetto setup with a cable box and a mini-form PC, like a Mac Mini.


I've been running an Acer mini-desktop on my TV for about 2 years non-stop now.  I choose the model because:

1) it's small, but still has both a bunch of USB ports, a DVD drive, and more importantly, the ability to add e-sata cards.

2) I added an dual-port e-sata card with port multiplier and got 2x 4-bays boxes loaded with 2TB drives = 16TB.

3) installed the Media Browser add-on to Media Center

4) got a wireless Media Center dedicated remote (and keyboard)

5) ripped all my DVDs and have been buying new stuff online.

I've yet to see a single system that comes close.

I'm starting to run out of space... will be getting an 8-bay box, replacing the two 4-bays, and keeping one 4-bays for more drives (and the other 4-bay will be going on the backup system).  Then add 3TB (or 4TB if they can come out) drives.

Just saying that for the price of a mini, you could have a much more serious system.


Favorited: Serious pr0n collection.
 
2013-03-04 04:31:54 PM  

imfallen_angel: 2) I added an dual-port e-sata card with port multiplier and got 2x 4-bays boxes loaded with 2TB drives = 16TB


No redundancy?  Brave man, brave brave man.

/Running a FreeNAS server myself with 4x3TBs in ZFS1, 4x2TBs in ZFS1 and 2x2TBs in mirror myself.
 
2013-03-04 04:32:48 PM  
I would imagine this would work for internal data on a small to medium company, but i suspect it's not a great idea in an enterprise type environment

how many network connections can those things handle, and how much traffic can they bear

/did wonder why mac left the server market though
//one of these days i'll make a home media server, a mac mini might be on the list
 
2013-03-04 04:33:36 PM  
So the waitstaff likes Macs, big deal.
 
2013-03-04 04:34:04 PM  

BumpInTheNight: imfallen_angel: 2) I added an dual-port e-sata card with port multiplier and got 2x 4-bays boxes loaded with 2TB drives = 16TB

No redundancy?  Brave man, brave brave man.

/Running a FreeNAS server myself with 4x3TBs in ZFS1, 4x2TBs in ZFS1 and 2x2TBs in mirror myself.


Favorited: Fark's largest redundant midget purple monkey dishwater pr0n collection.
 
2013-03-04 04:34:31 PM  

Mikey1969: You need SAN, NAS, or a bunch of these daisy-chained together...


No, he does not need those things. He's been happily running it for two years as is.
 
x23
2013-03-04 04:37:11 PM  
imfallen_angel:

Just saying that for the price of a mini, you could have a much more serious system.

why don't you give prices then so a proper comparison could be made?
 
2013-03-04 04:38:45 PM  
we have one of these set up here at the office. our ops-manager is kind of an apple geek, so he went with it cause he picked it up for a song(he was looking at a linux box first).

honestly, kind of handy. we're mostly just using it to have on-site rev control and central file repository as an alternate to our clouded service, but it was impressively easy to set up and all of that. also tiny, quiet, and kind of slick.
 
2013-03-04 04:43:29 PM  

loonatic112358: /did wonder why mac left the server market though


1. Market. They weren't really a player in the enterprise market.
2. The Cloud. Apple bet big on the Cloud.
3. Opinion: Mach 0 kernel sucked eggs at datacenter levels of usage.
 
2013-03-04 04:44:23 PM  

BumpInTheNight: Personally I bought one of these:


That is pretty sweet!

I'm using a heavily upgraded XPS8300, with 16GB of RAM, 5TB spread across 4 physical discs, another 3TB network storage, a Ceton InfiniTV 4 PCIe for recording up to 4 channels in HD at once (even HBO, which is going to kickass once Game of Thrones kicks back up!), and Radeon 6770 graphics card.

It acts as a replacement for my cablebox since I can watch live TV on it as well as on my 360, and can record multiple channels in high def while playing Skyrim with the graphics maxed out. Acts as a media and file server for my mobile devices, and the thing is a goddamn workhorse. The only thing I don't like about it is that the fans for the graphics card completely cover up one of the PCIe slots...

The way I see it, I like having one device that does everything rather than several devices. Reduces maintenance time and cost, but YYMV.
 
2013-03-04 04:44:35 PM  

demaL-demaL-yeH: Mikey1969: It's cute that they are calling it a "server" when all it's doing is running the server software.

[quizzical_dog.jpg]
The computers in TFA host web sites, email, databases, etc.. If they aren't servers, what are they?


Sorry, they're baby-steps servers. No real storage available and they're only using laptop hard drives. I might using a mini as a home-based server, but I wouldn't consider it a robust enough server to use in real world applications.
 
2013-03-04 04:49:41 PM  

Mikey1969: demaL-demaL-yeH: Mikey1969: It's cute that they are calling it a "server" when all it's doing is running the server software.

[quizzical_dog.jpg]
The computers in TFA host web sites, email, databases, etc.. If they aren't servers, what are they?

Sorry, they're baby-steps servers. No real storage available and they're only using laptop hard drives. I might using a mini as a home-based server, but I wouldn't consider it a robust enough server to use in real world applications.


Bubba might be better suited to that. (I know they changed it to B3, but it's still Bubba_the_low-power_Swedish_server to me.
 
2013-03-04 04:53:51 PM  

RoxtarRyan: I'm using a heavily upgraded XPS8300, with 16GB of RAM, 5TB spread across 4 physical discs, another 3TB network storage, a Ceton InfiniTV 4 PCIe for recording up to 4 channels in HD at once (even HBO, which is going to kickass once Game of Thrones kicks back up!), and Radeon 6770 graphics card.


Nice man!  I'd be right there with you with the tuner card but alas I've cut the cord and making due with Netflix and various alternative media acquisition.  I've kinda spread my storage and playback across multiple machines just to get at some niche features of each's capabilities.  On each TV there's a PC of some form running XBMC with a linked database that lives on a VM on my ESXi host which is parked next to my FreeNAS beast (the hard drive horder), which is a recent addition which I'm pretty happy with.  Based on this case:
di1-3.shoppingshadow.com
That's a Rosewill RSV-L4500, a fairly non-descript rackmount style case but a very cheap ($130) way to house 15 HDDs in a single box.
 
2013-03-04 04:57:19 PM  

BumpInTheNight: imfallen_angel: 2) I added an dual-port e-sata card with port multiplier and got 2x 4-bays boxes loaded with 2TB drives = 16TB

No redundancy?  Brave man, brave brave man.

/Running a FreeNAS server myself with 4x3TBs in ZFS1, 4x2TBs in ZFS1 and 2x2TBs in mirror myself.


psst... yup, I have a duplicated array of drives.  I've had onedrive go bad on me, popped the replacement, copied it over, and back in business.

(my full system array consists of several computers around the house with over 40 TB of space.)
 
2013-03-04 04:58:51 PM  

demaL-demaL-yeH: Favorited: Serious pr0n collection.


LOL...

Nah, just TV series and lots of movies... I had over 2,000 DVDs and close to 50 TV series when I started my system and the ripping... I now have over 150 TV series and over 3000 movies.
 
2013-03-04 05:00:50 PM  

imfallen_angel: psst... yup, I have a duplicated array of drives. I've had onedrive go bad on me, popped the replacement, copied it over, and back in business.

(my full system array consists of several computers around the house with over 40 TB of space.)


So you're the guy that clicked Yes on 'Would you like to download the Internet?" pop-up eh? :)
 
2013-03-04 05:01:06 PM  

demaL-demaL-yeH: Nadie_AZ: Damn. I loaded Mountain Lion on my client over the weekend and now it won't load Snow Leopard server utilities.

True. Ticked me off.

/Screen sharing still works.


There's no workaround for this? That's maddening. I guess I'll set up a head and keyboard temporarily to enable this.
 
2013-03-04 05:12:47 PM  

Nadie_AZ: Damn. I loaded Mountain Lion on my client over the weekend and now it won't load Snow Leopard server utilities.


You have to (re)buy "OS X Server" from the app store for $20.

I just got a used Mac Mini server.  I'm keeping it at Snow Leopard Server just so I can play the server apps I don't need, but mostly to avoid the SINGLE FULL SCREEN ONLY "feature" in Mountain Lion.  You'll be enjoying that now, and will want to downgrade.
 
2013-03-04 05:17:11 PM  

x23: imfallen_angel:

Just saying that for the price of a mini, you could have a much more serious system.

why don't you give prices then so a proper comparison could be made?


This was over 2 years ago...so prices have changed, but overall..

Mac Mini = 599$ Canadian

I paid about 300$ for my Acer, add the e-sata card for 20-30$, but this could be skipped if the system has an USB 3.0 port already built-in, about 100$ for remote/keyboard, and the rest for the bays and drives... for a starter system, one could just go with a 2TB external ($100-$150)(even a second one for backup) and be close to on-par of the Mini.

Difference....

2.5GHz Mac mini
2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5
4GB memory
500GB hard drive
Intel HD Graphics 4000
$599.00

Acer Aspire X AX3950
Processor Type Intel Core i3-540
Processor Speed 3.06GHz
Processor Cores 2
RAM 4 GB DDR3 SDRAM
Hard Drive Capacity 500 GB
Optical Drive 16X Super Multi DVD+/-RW
$299

 etc... for the rest (you can go look them up as those are personal choices)... both have HDMI output, but the thing is... the Acer has more ports, front access, can be upgraded, a DVD drive (that can be changed to a BlueRay if so needed), etc.

For a media player, you don't need much power, so cores, RAM aren't a selling point.

So yep, for the price of a MINI, you could have a computer, external drives, accessories (remote).
 
2013-03-04 05:21:58 PM  

BumpInTheNight: imfallen_angel: psst... yup, I have a duplicated array of drives. I've had onedrive go bad on me, popped the replacement, copied it over, and back in business.

(my full system array consists of several computers around the house with over 40 TB of space.)

So you're the guy that clicked Yes on 'Would you like to download the Internet?" pop-up eh? :)


I gave up on cable/satellite a few years back, and was starting to go nuts with having to flip the DVDs back and forth... not counting the DVDs that didn't work well, skipped, scratched, etc, regardless of how well I took care of them.

Basically the time where video has finally reached where music (CDs and buying music online) have been for a while.

And with Youtube and other sites, it's nice to sit in living room and have full access on the TV.

Why buy a limited machine (like those mini players) when a full system isn't that much more...and that can do a thousand things more, and much better...
 
2013-03-04 05:22:42 PM  

Shrugging Atlas: Still rocking my HP Windows Home Server I bought for almost nothing.  That thing has proven to be surprisingly useful so there's no surprise MS discontinued it.


My HP EX495 is still kicking. Upgraded the RAM and installed Home Server 2011 and it really smokes.
 
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