Tablet PC and Servers, mixing for a balance and budget.
I know this is the Windows Servers section and I'll be talking almost always about Windows Servers and Hyper-V but I will say there are other options that do make me think twice about things. But lucky for me I think I found a combination of operating systems that will allow my personal Mini PC and Tablet PC world enjoy all the power of a server has to offer.
You might not remember the Windows CE OS on the first Tablets and I don't remember much before that in the realm of Tablet PCs but if you do this new OS battle is really making things right for the end consumer markets.
I'm going to be sharing with you all my personal setup and I'll be setting up a few friends networks with equipment and networks that functions the same but costs allot less.
That Xeon processor I'm talking about handles 20 remote office connections over a nice VPN and switch. Most of you don't need anythig close to a XTM 330 or 500 series router and many of you don't need the 8 core Xeon either.
So let's bring it down to a smaller scale but not on a lower level.
You can search for a nice server and I bet you'll find one for sale that isn't going to clean you out. The key is to find something that you can load up with hard drives. I mean TB's of storage for all your home videos and your personal music collection that you like milions of others have paid at least $1.99 per song for. Don't share and don't tell me anything and it's all good.
I have my system setup with... ** drum roll please ** 5 2TB green drives. That isn't really much because I use 2 of them as backup drives for the other 3. In any case I have 4TB of free storage that I can recover if one or more drives fail. Backup plans are always the hardest because you seem to be adding hardware for nothing. Well, nothing until the day you need to use the backup then it's a very big something!
Let's add some external drives via eSATA and USB and call our system the 12 TB Home Server that we all need because we watch our saved to disk movies so often we need to keep them ready to access 24/7. Right?
Let's face it, storage is nice to have but at 8GB per movie you can fill up a drive just as fast as you can fill up your MP3 players of old. I have a copy of just about ever DVD and VHS movie I own. I have only watched 2 movies from the network. I seem to just watch from the DVD I have and call it at that level.
But, having a server does offer some great things. Your friends that come over can stream audio from your custom play lists. You can run endless movies over your WiFi to every TV you have connected in the house and...
Well, maybe having 12 TB isn't a great plan and having DVD movies on hard drives might not be what you really need. Sure for the short term but after about 50 viewings of Avatar or Matrix you might feel the drives can be used for something better and just keep a good DVD burned with your favorite movies.
My servers are primarily for backups and applications. I run remote desktop and remote applications via the VPN from internal and external networks. I always use a VPN when connecting with unsecured networks and make sure my VPN knows it's me and checks for a sniffer or something looking to copy my connection details. But that's going to come from a pro and pro's typically look for a network other than a home network. So you're somewhat safer as long as you work a few classical security tips.
What my server needs to do for me is allow me to run any Software I need for work and for home. Now is the part where I start talking servers.
My Hyper-V Microsoft Server 2008 R2 runs a secondary virtual server that hosts my desktops. The same desktop I use while I'm working I can access while I'm not working. You can imagine I don't access my work computer often remotely, but if I did need to get into it I could run a virtual version of it since all the drive data is stored on another virtual hard drive that is stored on a virtual server that is running on a different server... Wait a minute, this is getting confusing.
Let's put it into a uniformed list.
- I have a workstation with a hard drive that really is a virtual drive on a hard drive.
- I have my virtual hard drive not my hard drive clone itself over to a storage server that keeps my documents updated.
- I can remotely connect to my documents via the VPN network or local network and access my files.
- If I"m on a computer that has the same programs as my workstation then all I need is file access. But..
- I can run a virtual desktop computer from the server that stores my virtual hard drive and connect to that virtual hard drive (VHD) with my remote desktop.
- Now I can use my Tablet PC or Mini PC (Slim) to run programs that are to much for the 1Gb 4Gb RAM computers.
Basically it starts with how you store your data. If you login and use your typically user profile C:\users\name and name then your data is on a physical disk in a specific area. That's not very mobile if you ask me. So what I setup was a document library that is a VHD stored in a second drive that is synchronized with the servers drive. That means I can access the data from different points because it is located in more than one area and accessible by more than one means.
I should make a video, it would be about 3 minutes long showing you everything I just said.
Ok, I'll stop here and end with one question.
Did you see the server?
The image is not very impressive, but, when you have a nice Android tablet connected with Chrome remote desktop running your remote desktop connection you find your tablet is more than just a nice movie box.